xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: The Dive Bar Welcomes: She Who Must Not Be Named

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Dive Bar Welcomes: She Who Must Not Be Named

She actually asked to be called "She Who Shall Remain Nameless" but we both liked the Harry Potter reference better. However, now that I'm looking at it, it kind of seems like this is some bad person we don't like, but no.... we do like her! This is somebody we like! So don't get the wrong idea! She just wanted to be anonymous but with a more clever title.

I just don’t know what the fuck to do anymore. I really don’t. My kid, the brilliant, sweet, wonderful, “you’d never know anything was wrong with him” kid can’t stop stimming. So what, right? What’s so bad about stimming? Everyone does it all the time to some degree or another, it’s just that there are some stims that NTs are okay with and some they aren’t. Yeah, it’s all those rotten NTs making it awful and wrong to stim.

I’ve read forum after forum making that case, and they’ve got a point, right? I mean if we’re talking about humming, pacing, flapping, leg bouncing or whatever, there really is no big deal. Then if it’s more “socially awkward” like masturbating or something, ok teach them not to do it in public, but if they’re doing it in private, then what’s the problem? Here’s the thing, though. No one ever talks about the stims that put the child’s health at risk. No one ever talks about those. I get it. Shit, I had to come here to do it. My kid deserves his privacy, so I’m not gonna put this all out there for everyone that knows us to read. So thanks, Jill, for creating this space to be anonymous.

Here’s why we need to change this stim. My kid plays with his shit. Christ I can’t believe I just said that, but it’s true. He says it’s not about the shit per se, he just doesn’t care if he happens to shit while stimming. The stim? He sits on the toilet, plays with and splashes water on his asshole. WHAT THE FUCK?! I mean, I know it’s sensory and all that, but still…

I’m pretty sure this started because he was never actually potty trained. Up till the ripe old age of 9 years old he was still crapping his pants on a near daily basis. Yeah, now that I’m thinking about it, this is probably all my fault. Nice… So he wasn’t potty trained, and I put him on a schedule of when he had to go sit on the pot, and encouraged him to relax and read while he was in there. It wasn’t too long after that, that he stopped having accidents. It took about 6 months for us to discover what he was doing, and another 6 or so to get all the details.

To date, I believe I’ve handled it well. I haven’t freaked out or anything. I’ve emphasized that people touch themselves all the time in all kinds of places. It’s perfectly normal, and I’m not upset about him touching himself. And that’s the truth, I couldn’t care less about him touching himself in the bathroom. What.fucking.ever is what I say. But he can’t play with his shit, or the shitty water. He can’t get it all over his hands and then come back into the house touching things, and eating, and BITING.HIS.NAILS. Yes, we make him wash REALLY FUCKING WELL, but still. EWWWW Ok, so you get it now, right? He can’t keep this stim. It has to change. Not because I’m a prude, but because this is an actual, bonafide hygiene issue.

We’ve tried everything, and nothing works. Finally, a couple of weeks ago we locked him out of his bathroom. It wasn’t out of anger, or done rashly. It was a calm discussion, that we needed to find a suitable stim replacement, and this was going to have to be the first step for a while. For a few days he didn’t stim, and he and I began collaborating on other possible stims to replace this one. We hit on the shower. He could do this with the water in the shower. I thought it was a perfect solution. He gets to stim, with the water (which is apparently a necessary part of the process), but we keep the shit out of the equation. After another day or two, he told me he thought this could work. There was just one tiny problem. He can’t shower multiple times per day, and apparently he must stim multiple times per day.

I see now that it was inevitable that we’d arrive back where we are today, because I just don’t know what the fuck to do. I don’t want to fuck him up mentally or make him all screwy, but this has to stop. Then tonight when we try to talk about it he breaks down and says, “Mom, I have to do it. You don’t understand.” OUCH! I actually do understand. I get the compulsion of it. I can see it on him, when he runs down the hall headed to a “stim session.” I’ve been addicted. I know about compulsion. I know he has to do it, but the shit part has to stop!

I feel stuck, deep down in a pit, like I did when he was raging at me almost constantly. I feel tired, sad, and stuck, and I just don’t know what the fuck to do anymore. I’m open to suggestions, so please speak up, because at this point I just feel like giving up.


@jencull said...

Yep, I get that you are up the walls about this one. Any chance he can be allowed to do it with the provisio that if he takes a crap he has to stop, clean up, flush etc before continuing. You could both get what you wanted then, and if he plays with the crap or the crappy water the door gets locked.

Probably not much help, sorry. It is all I could think of.


This side of Typical said...

I think i've got it! This could save you!


it's fairly inexpensive bidet you hook up yourself to the toilet. No need for a plumber or anything (according to Dr. Mercola) and it might fulfill that stim need. AND it will lead to cleanliness all the way around!

I hope this is a viable solution for you.

WTH am I Doing? said...

They also make sprayers (for cloth diapers) that attach to the toilet. They are supposed to be gentle enough for "feminine cleaning after delivery" as well, so maybe something like that? They're about $45 and are supposed to be pretty easy to install...just attach it to the valve where the water turns on & off for the toilet.

Good luck!

Lynn MacDonald said...

Wow...i actually have no advice but have you talked to the doctor about the OCD behaviour that is driving all this. Stop the compulsion; stop the behaviour. I'm really sorry i couldn't help.

Anonymous said...

@jen: Thanks. Yes, we've tried that, and it's been one of many epic fails. But I really appreciate you trying. Thanks so much.

@This side and WHT: GREAT ideas! I don't know why I never thought of this!!! I'm checking it out.

@Lynn: I've spoken to a doctor, a few times actually. I'm reluctant to have him "analyzed" about this due to possible psychological ramifications. But it may come to that. Thank you so much for offering a suggestion.

Cheryl D. said...

I was just thinking that a spray bottle of water left near the toilet would do the trick.

Claire said...

Ummm...wow...brutal. I DO know a young woman who actually does shower several times a day...in the dark. That's her thing. She is, however, in her early 20's...and not going to school and such. But she does it mostly at night. That's all I've got. Hang in.

Ashley said...

Hugs! I've got no actual helpful advice. Just lots of cyber hugs. I thought the bidet/sprayer attachment ideas were very interesting, though. I'm really curious and hopeful for you about something like that working out. Keep us updated. =)

Anonymous said...

Maybe you can replace the "object" of stimming with another. I mean: give by hand to your kid a pot with water and something like play doh. I know, maybe it's not so handy, but at least it' s more clean. Sorry for my english, I'm writing from Italy :)

She Who Shall Remain Nameless said...

@ Cheryl Claire and Ashley: Thanks for the support. I'm wondering about the shower thing, but still not sure I could afford the bill. Then there's the time issue. Hmmmmm.

@Italy: Your English is fine! I so appreciate the suggestion. Unfortunately, it's not an "object" that's the stim. It's the sensory input from the area involved. That's part of what makes this so hard to correct. But thanks again.

Lynn said...

I think it just has to be stomped out and I wouldn't even try to replace with a reasonable facsimile. I know, easy for me to say right? You need a professional, 3rd party behaviorist who could throw everything at it. Social stories, video modeling, etc. Does he respond to video modeling? It's gross, but sometimes they see what they are doing on a video and they become disgusted too.

TMWHickman said...

So why does he have to splash water in that particular spot? Could he splash water from the sink on his face instead?

The only reason I would think to speak to his doctor about this is to completely eliminate the possibility that there might be a medical reason for this behavior, such as pinworms. There are medications that are specifically shown to reduce OCD behaviors. I have a feeling that you will probably have to combine medication with some sort of behavior therapy at least initially, if the behavior is so entrenched.

Keep your chin up and invest in a company that makes that germicidal hand wash.

Kristine said...

I'm with Lynn...and I do understand that it's easy to say and seemingly impossible to do. My daughter is obsessed with straws at the moment and I'm not sure how I could make her stop without major unhappiness. That said, it's just so, SO unhealthy (from a germ perspective) that I'd keep working with the goal being to stop it altogether. Have you tried a comprehensive program with behavioral therapy? I'm thinking that this particular stim could be pretty devastating with his peers at school, etc. Hang in there and don't be afraid to talk about it....there are lots of us out here to listen!

She Who Shall Remain Nameless said...

Thanks, SO MUCH, to all of you. The support is overwhelming, and there have been so many great suggestions.

It has really helped to get this out of my head. Thanks again to Jill for creating the dive bar, and giving us a place to talk about some of the more sensitive aspects of life with kids on the spectrum.

Based on many of the ideas put forth in this comment thread, we're working on a new plan of action that will (fingers crossed) hopefully help us move past all this, and on to whatever the next thing is. (there always seems to be a next thing)


Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

My son is 13, he has autism. Doesn't do that particular stim, but I can see why this can upset you because of the health issue. What about a bath rather than a shower? He could shower daily and just sit in the tub and maybe you could teach him to splash his chest and face, after perhaps you could graduate to the sink, so if he needs to stim, he can splash water on his face. Regardless of what you do, take it slow and hang in there. We mothers of kids with autism need to stick together. :)

Ashley said...

Good luck to you with your son.

I don't know if your new plans are working for you, but I thought I'd add my two sense anyway.

My undergrad is in Psychology, and I definitely agree with the above comments that say you should take him in to a counselor designed to help with obsessive behaviors. Be really careful about how you explain it to him and everything, but if you don't do something to hopefully eradicate the problem now, while he's young, there is a good chance it's only going to get worse as he gets older. These types of behaviors sometimes evolve, and in the future it might become more about stimulation AND feces, than just stimulation.

I think, in this situation, where it's a compulsive behavior, especially one that requires him to stop whatever he is doing to act immediately on the compulsion, it would be best to try and remove the compulsion/obsession instead of just replacing it.

If you do decide on the therapy route, make sure he understands that there isn't anything at all wrong with him and that going to a therapist is not a bad thing/doesn't mean he's wrong. It just means that there is someone who might be able to help him get control of the situation.

I know it's a lot easier to talk about what to do, than to actually be in that situation, so I wish you the best of luck, and I sincerely hope that things improve for you!

Anonymous said...

I work at a pharmacy/home medical equipment store and they sell the pee collection things to sit in the toilet under the lid (covers most/all of bowl). and theyre really cheap like under 3 dollars cheap. Maybe after he uses the bathroom he could fill that w/water and stim. And if he forgets and ends up using the collection bowl as a toilet you can through them out. Idk if it could work, but maybe? or a more expensive idea ($50), a bedside commode thats filled w/water, toliet for pooping, commode for stimming

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