Monday, October 08, 2012

Living with Rain Man

Remember this awesome movie from the 80's?

I won't give it away, but it's basically about Tom Cruise trying to handle his autistic brother (Dustin Hoffman) on a cross-country road trip.

The spouse and I randomly caught it on the tube this weekend and as soon as Hoffman's character started acting up, we both looked at each other and said "That's Judah!"

And furthermore, when we saw Cruise's exasperated and exhausted expressions, we said "That's me!"

Let me explain.

Hoffman's character has a lot of irrational demands. 

He HAS to watch The People's Court every day.  He HAS to buy boxer shorts from KMART ONLY.  He refuses to travel by plane.  He refuses to leave the house if it's raining.  He HAS to eat only specific foods and then only with toothpicks.  Etc, etc, etc.

Judah is pretty much the same.

He HAS to wear his WHITE flip-flops (not the brown ones that actually stay on) when we go out (which I forbid because they are literally 2 sizes too big and keep falling off his feet--which always precipitates a meltdown). 

He HAS to have a LITTLE bottle of milk (not the 8 oz bottles, the small 5 oz bottles ONLY) when he wakes up, a story in his rocking chair, and a stroll around the housing complex after his nap with mommy (only mommy, NOT daddy) holding him in her arms (NOT in a stroller!) (otherwise he has a total meltdown). 

He will ONLY wear certain pants or shirts (or have a total meltdown). 

He HAS to sit in the driver's seat for at least 10 minutes every time we get home and HAS to get an Altoid and pop in a CD (or he has a total meltdown). 

He HAS to drink out of a cup with no lid, which causes a total mess (or has a total meltdown).  Etc, etc, etc.

An all too familiar scene from this weekend.
But it seems that Judah has kicked up his, how should I put this...annoying, irrational, non-compliant behavior yet another notch or two over this past week.  There were several times this last weekend that I honestly was one-thousandth of a hairs' breadth away from straight up screaming in a crazy woman.

The only thing holding me back was remembering how much mom guilt I felt the last time I straight up lost it and screamed at him.  (That scene in Rain Man where Tom Cruise stops the car, gets out and screams and rants at Dustin Hoffman?  YES!  That's me in my head!)

But there was a new twist--this time he kept saying "I do myself!!"  Oh sweet toddler independence. 

While mommy would love for you to pour your own juice, use the knife and cook your own food, there's no way I'll be letting you do these things by yourself for a very long time.

And, cue the meltdown.

I don't know how stay-at-home moms do it.  I really don't.

After about 2 hours with the dude, I'm done.  I'm just straight up burnt toast done.

So what do over-educated, real-world naive and helpless, amateur parents do?  We buy books!  Which is why we raided the parenting section at Amazon and bought the top 6 books on handling toddlerdom.

Save us Amazon!  You are our only hope.
Probably should buy some books on deep-breathing and how to have the patience of the Dalai Lama too while we're at it.


Arie said...

I laughed out loud in the library. I love that picture! Of course Michael takes a pic as Judah is in the throngs of despair...

CP said...

That's so hilarious! Oh my gosh, toddlers ARE like Rain Man!!! And don't worry, it gets better....after it gets worse. :) You're doing great! Hang in there!

Alice in Wonderland said...

Arie--See what you get to look forward to when you visit? Aren't you so excited to experience Judesco 2.0?

Thanks CP--glad to know they eventually emerge from this awful phase!

Zach said...

While it's possible and even probably that Judah is just being a typical toddler, your thoughts on Rain Main may be prescient. I know in my city it's totally free to have an organization called the Alliance For Infants come out and do evaluations of kids 0-3, and then Head Start I think does slightly older kids. It's possible that there could be something sensory going on with Judah that could explain some of his frustrating behaviors, and that there might be things that could help. I work with kids in the foster care system, and most of them have some sort of delays, so I'm super aware whenever surrounding adults describe behavior that is somewhat but not entirely typical.
Good luck!