I’ve Got an Olin

I’ve got an Olin. He’s unique, and he’s challenging. Those are some positive words for him. What follows are some more realistic words about him.

This morning we’re being liars together, Olin and I. “You said you were sleeping,” he objected when I found him in the kitchen at 1:40AM. I’m still up because I can’t wind down from the day I spent trying to catch up with the horrible disaster of my house. (And in case you think I’m pretending to be one of those moms whose house is so horrible because there are a few dirty dishes and things out of place, think again…) I’m up, drinking vodka and strawberry pop, watching “Future Man” on Hulu and folding clothes because that is how I’m dealing with life in this house, at this time. “You were supposed to be sleeping, too.” I tell him.

“I want the cat,” He wanders off. To search for the cat, I assume. God help the cat. He’s up because… Hell if I know. He has medication in the daytime to help him focus, so he can function in the world we live in. He has medication at bedtime to see that he sleeps. I gave him his meds tonight. He went to sleep like he should have. Sometimes, they just don’t work. So, now, he’s up – and so am I.

I can’t stop, because now he’s up and I can’t trust him to not to do something terribly messy or damaging. I can’t just go to bed, when he’s awake. He’s absolutely, consistently, infuriatingly untrustworthy,  and repeatedly, willfully awful. In short, he’s focused on his goals and has no consideration whatsoever for anyone or anything else.

My house is a penal colony of locked doors. Why? Because if there is sugar available in any form, he will at best tear it open and make a mess, and at worst, eat it all. I cannot trust him to put one spoonful (or a few) of sugar on his cereal. Instead, he takes the whole container and pours a few cups into the cereal, but then loses himself in the ‘feel’ of the sugar that dissolves into the milk, and then spreads so nicely on the walls, counter and floor… Or, better yet, if there is ice cream that can be applied directly to all surfaces by the fistful, and then the box hidden in a drawer. Then, hunger sated, he will decide he needs to play the video game system with hideously sticky fingers that muck up the controllers and ruin the game for everyone else.

Multiply this example by every human interaction. My other kids want to take a bubble bath… Olin wants to empty every available bottle regardless of contents into his bath. The other kids want to play outside… He wants to envelope himself in a viscous cloak of slime-mud that he concocted from used motor oil and one of my potted plants. The other kids want to visit Grandma… Olin wants to scold her about how she should have buried Grandpa in a casket instead of cremating him.

Olin is a ten-year-old boy with no filter between his brain and his mouth (you think ten-year-old-boys don’t have a filter, but you are wrong – it’s porous, but it’s still there), whose way of looking at the world is tilted at least 20 degrees to the left of anything you are thinking, who utterly fixates on a revolving topic wheel with only about six options of interest, and who has no sense of danger or self-preservation whatsoever. All of life can pass him by with little to no interest, but if he happens to snag on one of those topics… All bets are off, and his focus and enthusiasm are TURNED TO ELEVEN.

He drives me to anger on a daily basis, and to tearful, helpless frustration on too many occasions. At the same time, he is the kid who pleases me the most when he is pleased, because I know there’s no subterfuge – he’s truly happy. (Whatever happy means at that particular moment.)

**[SIDEBAR: If you think the medications are causing the problem here… I would invite you to come put your opinions into practice, and take care of him for the “detox period” for my awful poisons to wear off and the “buildup period” before whatever alt remedy you have starts to work. You won’t do it, so shut the hell up. We lived that nightmare several times. The medications help everyone.]

I know what he’s interested in, because you can’t not know after a scant few minutes in his company. When he has or is involved in what he enjoys, he is a very jolly, sweet, engaged little dude. And I truly love to see him that way.


I hear all the time from teachers and various members of the community about what a sweet boy he is. Absolutely! He is wonderful during school. Because I wake up in the morning and make sure he takes his medicine in plenty of time to get on the school bus and be great for the school day. And I send the meds along for the nurse to give, so he can continue to focus and be “so sweet”.

At home, at the very beginning and end of the day, though… Before he gets the medication that allows him to focus enough to learn at school, or after it wears off and the really hard symptoms kick in… Either he’s happy, or no one is happy. The other kids are continually caught up in the consequences of his moods and actions. They are 9, 6, and 5, and they know his moods enough to worry about themselves when he’s upset… My marriage has suffered tremendously because of the sheer emotional exhaustion we’re both continually facing. I feel like I am on the losing side of an abusive relationship. One that I can never, ever escape from.

I can’t say that, though. You’re not allowed to say that you feel trapped in a situation you never asked for, when it’s this situation. He’s a special needs kid, and I’m his mom. I ought to have some fucking grace. He’s special. If I didn’t want to deal with this, I shouldn’t have had kids, right? There’s no arguing that. I will always be the bad guy.

Well, in the time it took me to write this entry, he seems to have found the cat and gone back to sleep. I hope he stays there, because I’m out of energy for tomorrow.

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