Ever wake up, especially on a Monday, and know it's going to be a rough day? We all have those days of wanting to crawl back into bed and hibernate beneath the covers until the Earth's next rotation.
It's ok. Sometimes it's what we need.
For Logan, his emotions are heightened and with the covers over his head, he's anchored. He feels calm and is able to collect and process what he is feeling.
As Logan approached the teen years, I didn't want him to fall into the sullen-teen category. I didn't want him to lock away his emotions and hide because they were frightening or too much to handle. For kids on the autism spectrum puberty can be a tough road. I'm the adult, I can work through the hard moments with him, but for Logan, well, he'll explain...
I feel a lot. I feel my emotions and I feel other people's emotions. Some days I'm overwhelmed and my stomach hurts, I cry and I don't know what to do. It's awkward talking to my mom about certain things going on with me, but she listens even if she doesn't have the answers. I talk to my dad when he gets home. He never makes me feel bad about what I am feeling or what I am asking about. I think parents need to be patient with their kids. Not just because they are quirky but being a teenager is scary. I think about graduating, getting a job, figuring out what I want to do all the time. I want to make the right choices now because when I have a wife and kids, I want to be able to support them. I stress out, but I am told not to and to be a kid, but then I'm asked to make decisions about my education and my life. It's confusing. Adults want us to be both at the same time. How are we to pick a future when we can't pick a favorite band or cereal?
Wow. Makes you think. Demands and pressure can be good in moderation. I feel it's motivating and they need to see what real life is about. However, too much, too fast can lead to regression and depression. It took a lot for Logan to express his emotions, his thoughts with us because he didn't want to disappoint us or think he was dramatic or overreacting.
We didn't think or feel any of that.
We were proud of him. We cried right along with him. Huge moment for our family.
I decided it was time to quirk up our environment. It had grown far too serious. Including his schoolroom. I hopped on Amazon and Etsy and clicked until I felt the quirky force within me.
In the schoolroom we have a "Quirky Kit". When the Debbie Downer's knock on our door, we answer it with a mustache or tiara or both. The multi-colored pencils are for Logan to express any feelings or anything on paper--in funky twisted colors, of course--and the uniqueness box is a reminder of how awesomely different we are and we shouldn't be any other way. I've changed out some items over the years, but my now 14 1/2 year old still loves it.
We have a quirky wall which really doesn't need much explanation.
Of course, we have off days and a fuzzy fake mustache or a felt pirate patch isn't going to make it better, but we have fabulous days filled with silliness and weird conversations. The good outweigh the bad.
I've been asked, "Why do that to your house? You decorate for your kid? That stuff is weird. What would people think?"
I reply with, "Why not? Weird is awesome. I decorate for us. And who is coming to my house, the Queen of England? Even if she were, I wouldn't change it."
This is what works for our family. This is what helps our high functioning spectrum kid. I would glue mustaches to every wall if that brought him out of an overload, emotional funk or inspired a new story or song. Or even a new scientific theory (that's happened before). Really, I think everyone should have a quirky kit on hand. A few items to make you laugh, be silly, bring out your inner kid as an adult.
It's not about either/or, it's about living life and being happy. It's about showing the world YOU!
Quirks and all.