Ok, I've had a few days to step away and process the horror of what I will call "The Incident". I know some people deal with this on a regular basis, but it has been at least a year for me. I feel pretty fortunate (most of the time). Yes, I have my share of difficulties. But for the most part, Derek is potty trained. He has accidents now and then (especially when there is a change in routine or he is scared) and he still wears diapers at night...but my child is not a poop smearer. Normally.
When Derek was younger, he used to poop in the tub regularly. I swear, he'd wait until he was in the tub to go, just so he could play with it. He'd paint the tub walls. I was, of course, disgusted. But as soon as we got him potty trained, it stopped.
Then low and behold, on Wednesday of this week, the "incident" occurred. Derek has become sneaky with going to the bathroom. He doesn't like to be wiped. So he'll sneak to the bathroom, go, and then quickly pull his pants up. A lot of times, this leaves a little bit of a mess in his underwear-- not to mention diaper rash. On Wednesday, it must have left a BIG mess. I found my son with one hand in his pants, the other covered in poo. His hair had poop in it and the carpet had been smeared. So had his face. Uh-oh. CODE BROWN. I quickly threw my son in the tub and cleaned the living room top to bottom. I was horrified beyond words.
I know that a lot of autism parents argue about whether or not autism should be cured. I am one of the ones who think my son is wonderful the way he is. I have accepted his differences and embrace everything about him. Except this. If I could change ONE SINGLE THING, I would eliminate, for all autism parents, the fascination their children have with feces. I cannot for the life of me get my child to eat spaghetti or pizza or so many other wonderful things, yet he will smear poop on his face? There is something wrong with this picture. And I know, personally, two other children who do this too.
I had a doctor's appointment the next day. I sat in the waiting room and watched a little girl about Derek's age playing. She was a "typical" child. She talked with her mother and played with her sister, laughing and smiling and sitting in a chair. I thought about what Derek would be doing if he were here. Running back and forth perhaps? Definitely not sitting. If he WERE sitting, he'd be on the floor (more likely he'd be LAYING on the floor, rolling his cars). He would not be talking. No way. I had that familiar "smack-in-the-face" feeling. On a day to day basis, I don't think about how behind my child is compared to his peers. It's only when I see other children his age...and on weeks when my child smears poop.
I will not let this get me down. He is making progress. I will cling to that. It was just one day, after all...right?