Friday, April 28, 2006

Life & creativity...

...I just had to share another flower picture from our beautiful Spring :)

It's amazing how a week's break can really break things up. Old patterns & habits can die pretty quickly (in our house, at least). There are just about 6 more weeks of school & B seems to be entering endurance mode- although he's tolerating it much better than the past couple of years. There's something about this transitioning to the summer that makes life seem impossible to him & the past 2 Mays B has managed to try to "zap" himself in a fit of distress at school. "Zap" meaning trying to electrocute himself by putting something in a wall socket. It feels rather odd to just be typing this as though it's business as usual (I'm really hoping this year he breaks this trend... ), since it's a pretty horrible experience, coping with a kid who doesn't want to exist. The first year, after getting the call from school (from a very traumatised teacher), & ascertaining that he wasn't hurt, I got him in to see his psychologist so fast it made everyone's heads spin... It was a good thing to do- Dr. M was able to explain to us that these sorts of "suicide" attempts in young kids (B was 8 the first time) do not represent the same thing as in an older kid or adult. In essence, B was in a moment of distress & was trying to escape it. He had no deeper thoughts than that. He did not really want to leave us or life- it was an impulse thing. He did a lot of impulsive things that first Spring with the OCD, like cut the cords to all of the computer mice in the media centre. We still don't understand why, except that there was a pair of scissors lying nearby... In any case, my main concern, after visiting Dr. M with B, was how to keep this kid planted in this life until he developed to the point that he could resist such impulses, or at least think about the implications. We all succeeded pretty well, thanks to behavioural & medicinal interventions, until the following Spring, last year, when B stuck a paper clip into a socket in the aftermath of another impulsive act (touching a drying clay figure made by another child, & in the process, wrecking it :( ). This time all he managed to do was knock out the computer network- he escaped injury again, although poor Cherie kept checking his hand to make sure he really wasn't burned... I was better able to handle the situation this time, & could comfort Cherie & explain what Dr. M had explained to us. I was also prepared to make a deal with B to prevent it happening again (for that year). At the time, I thought I must be crazy (you'll see why) to make this deal with him... but I needed to find the proper incentive to keep B safe. One of my hobbies is amateur electronics, & I had just finished teaching a mini-class at school about electricity. He had been very envious of my electronics toolkit & made it clear that he wanted one, too... but I told him I wanted to be sure he was old enough to use something like that safely. So, my deal with him was that if he could prove he was old enough to tell us when he was upset, rather than doing something impulsive, then I would give him his own electronics kit. And he did... he was sooo good for the rest of the year, so I followed through & gave him his own kit. We started the summer by making little projects, "poofing" LED's (giggle), & my showing him how to strip wires (& discovering that his wire-stripper is much better than mine... how did I manage that?). He's had an enormous amount of safe fun with it ever since, & I finally got ovet the feeling that I must be nuts to give a kid with a propensity for "zapping" himself an electronics kit... (shakes head). This year, I am not quite as worried about the "zapping" thing, actually. B entered a new developmental stage over the winter, & one of the new behaviours resulting is a new concern about death & mortality. I think this is what we've been waiting for... & although it does feed-into the OCD a bit, it also makes me feel more secure that B will get through this end-of-schoolyear without trying to hurt himself. Thank goodness!!

One of the break-week activities I was involved in was teaching a shawl-knitting workshop for our local knitting guild. I had been quite involved with the guild when B was little (read "pre-diagnosis") but had had to pull out when B stared school & was needing a lot more support. It was nice to get back into teaching- & the bonus was that I started my first shawl in over a year the afternoon after teaching the workshop. I have been knitting less & less since last Fall & thought it must be because of the energy I put into helping B keep it together- & discovered that it's more likely due to the arthritis flare-up I've been having since mid-Winter... I did a lot of knitting to prepare for the workshop &, wow, does it make my hands sore! I am presevering, though, & am working on the inflammation from a bunch of different directions- herbal, diet, exercises- recommended by my new chiropracter. (I mentioned in an earlier entry, I think, that I can't take any of the anti-inflammatory medicines currently on the market.) This realisation also put me in a different head-place when looking at the energy I spend on/with B & the energy I need for my creative activities. Knitting this new shawl, no matter how much it makes my hands ache, is feeding my need to be creative, to make things... which is making me feel very good on a deep level. Involving B in some of these creative activities can also be deeply satisfying, so I proposed to teach him how to use the "big" loom, now that his legs are long enough to reach thte treadles, & we can weave his end-of-year gifts for his teachers. He was excited- he loves my things that are machines & he's been dying to learn to use the big floor loom since I got it- 4 years or so, ago. Perhaps this will turn out to be a good transitioning tool for B, a positive focus on the school year ending. It will certainly get me weaving again! (now how's that for an ulterior motive :) :)


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