Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Deja vu...

Birthday glow is wearing off. There was something about the birthday excitement that kept the demons at bay for a few days, but yesterday morning they were back... even as we pulled into the school parking lot B was reminded of an old "thought" & started twitching like mad. He made a beeline into the special ed. resource room, aka: safe space, once I got him into the building, & banged his head on the table a few times when we got there, although he let me put my hand down so his head hit that instead of the table, which he usually doesn't allow. I was also pleasantly surprised by how easily he was diverted from the thought when Cherie started suggesting games to play before the morning work began, & I left him happily playing Apples to Apples with she & a couple other kids just a few minutes later. It takes me longer to recover from B's ups & downs than it does him, sometimes, which is another good reason to go down to Paula's classroom & hang out for a while to recover. There's always the need for more hands, listening ears, or crowd control down there... or maybe a friend wants to start knitting a pair of socks & needs some advice (as was the case yesterday). I left school feeling more together & ready to write yesterday's blog entry...

I am definitely caught in the middle right now. This seems to be a chronic state these days, temporarily relieved by the birthday party effort (I have no illusions that it was all done for B's sake :). When faced with a few hours during the day not needed for housework or blogging I find myself too tired to start anything. I found myself trying to explain it to C (once again) today over lunch... I know that if I choose to do anything that takes a lot of concentration, & then if B interrupts (or it's time to go get him from school, or I get a a phone call from school to come & see/get him during the day) the breaking of my concentration makes me irritable & unready to be present for him. So, I have to choose my projects carefully... I don't exactly mind this, since B is my first priority & I'm ok with him being my first priority, but the feeling of being at loose ends/unproductive is somewhat depressing. One of the good things I've noticed recently is that feeling down/depressed no longer brings up feelings of inadequacy or guilt. I spent a lot of my life telling myself that the kind of person I ultimately want to be doesn't get depressed, which morphed over time into "real Jedi don't get depressed". I have finally come to understand that this simply isn't true. Real people, who have real lives & real feelings, do get depressed sometimes. It's nice to finally be free of the extra guilt-trip burden... the bonus being that I tend to recover from feeling down much more quickly than I used to. Plus, I have learned to appreciate the daily housework because I can use it to give myself an energy boost when I need it- it seems that doing just about anything with a purpose helps my spirits, even if it isn't specifically "creative".

When I picked B up from school yesterday I found him almost exactly where I'd left him (not the best of signs...) in the resource room with Cherie. I guess they played a game in gym that was really hard for B & it upset him. The first words out of his mouth to me were to ask if I thought a thief would ever want to steal Rufus. I responded that, although Rufus is precious to us, no thief would want him. Cherie nodded her agreement. We were able to get his stuff together to leave then, but B still seemed very low energy & twitchy, too. After snack he wanted some computer time, so I had him set the timer for the usual 25 minutes. I was surprised when he quit when the timer went off (he usually asks for more time)... he came into the kitchen & asked me about Batman. B has always had a terrible love/hate relationship with superheroes. He adores the Power Rangers dearly, but there are time when just saying the word "power" to him will set off full-body tics. A few weeks ago he had mentioned that some of the kids at school had been talking about Batman (there are a few families which, unfortunately, allow their kids to view all the latest superhero films, no matter how violent, & B ends up not being able to participate in discussing them since we refuse to do the same) & was scornful at first, but I gently stood behind the guy with the cape, having been a Batman fan myself for many years :) B seemed to have worked himself around to wanting to know more about Batman. I had taped some of the Warner Brothers animated Batman series back in the early 90's, so I asked B if he wanted to try some of them. He agreed & I unearthed the tapes. While we watched, I asked him occasionally how he was doing... if they were too scary & the like. After 4 episodes we quit & he seemed relieved. He said that these shows were too "dark" & the villains made him sad, & we talked about the difference between the Power Rangers' monsters, which were more funny than sad or scary, & these villains which all had stories about what had made them go "bad". I told him that we could wait until he was older before we watched any more Batman (or, what I really need to do is get some classic 60's-era recordings of the show I adored as a kid, which set the standard for shows like the Power Rangers). In either case, we were both left feeling bad after the Batman experiment- he feeling disturbed & sad that he didn't like the shows & me feeling bad that maybe I jumped the gun by showing them to him in the first place, in an attempt to get him au courant with the other kids. Sigh.

B watched some PR's before dinner as an antidote to Batman, then dad played Pokemon with him after dinner. I could hear B ticcing more & more frequently, though, as the evening progressed. When I went up for story time he was barely able to get himself into bed, the thoughts & tics were so distracting. We had finished Terry Pratchett's "Bromeliad Trilogy" the night before, so it was a tough night to be beginning a new story. After rejecting three books, & B getting more & more agitated, I finally asked him what he wanted to do. I told him I was worried that he wasn't able to calm himself & really wanted to know what he thought would help. B has never been able to respond to such a request before- by the time we need to ask, he's far too agitated to think... but this evening he was able to say "how about a quick minute?". So I turned off the light & lay down beside him. He was still twitching, so I lay my arm over him to help him calm down. It reminded me vividly of B as an infant, when we had to put him to bed with us because he couldn't soothe himself to sleep. We put a pillow right between ours & lay him on the pillow, on his tummy (he wouldn't tolerate laying on his back, ever). He would still wriggle & fuss so I would lay my arm across him, feeling weird because it felt like I was restraining him, but inevitably he would fall asleep within minutes with my arm across his back, & when I didn't put my arm over him he would fuss & wriggle forever... Last night, B was asleep within 15 minutes, with my arm across his back. I was struck by a strong feeling of deja vu (not to mention relief...). No matter that he's 10 years old now, B's neurological needs seem to be very consistant over time. Although he has his weighted ball-blanket to help sooth him to sleep, mom's arm still has the same comfort it always had.

It's good to remember this, really... that B is, essentially, the same person I gave birth to 10 years ago. He's definitely growing up... As C pointed out this morning to me, B's ability to respond to my request for input/feedback when he was agitated last night was a new & welcome development. But it's good to remember that he may never out-grow his need for strong physical feedback as a soothing method, & that's fine. We just have to remember not to throw out any of the old techniques that still work for him in the wake of his growing & changing. Maybe I'll make an extra ball blanket for school...


At 12:00 AM, Blogger Adelaide Dupont said...

I hate being triggered!

And I can imagine B does too, so lots of empathy for him here.

Yes, he is growing up.

Sorry I didn't read the post more in depth before commenting.


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