Friday, August 04, 2006

Connecting through burps & farts...

Have I mentioned recently that my son, B, is 10? This evening at dinner my mother (aka grammie) commented that she had forgotten how crude 10-year-olds can be... this after prolonged banter about passing gas ("shooting the breeze" :). C & I are finding this lifestage of B's has some major plusses, though, particularly when comic relief is needed.

B is going through a rough patch with the OCD these days. Last night he still hadn't fallen asleep by 9:00 pm, after my reading to him for 1/2 hour. When C came in to relieve me B had been ticcing with increasing frequency & violence until he was slamming his body into his pillow repeatedly. All he could tell us was that the thought was about Rufus & Genki (his mole rat stuffies) being eaten... I tried to suggest some alternative thoughts- that Mew (a very powerful pokemon) was protecting them- but B just shook his head & kept slamming his head into the pillow, as though to physically get rid of the thought. I kept talking to him & making physical contact (to try to keep him present), but he hardly seemed to hear or feel me. He was crying almost hysterically & neither C nor I really knew what to do for him. Finally, I kept repeating "that's such a sad thought" & stroking his forehead & the distress finally eased bit-by-bit, until B was left sweaty & teary & quiet. He told us that the thought was triggered by grocery shopping that morning (a much more successful trip than last week's, I had thought...). He had seen cans of tinned meat & the thought was of cans with his mole rats', & then his pokemons' pictures on them. No wonder the alternative ideas didn't work... the poor critters were beyond protecting :( We asked B what would help him to feel better & he said eating some vegetables (!), so C went downstairs for some carrots. While we waited I told B that sometimes I have terrible thoughts like that, but that I have learned how to overcome them & I know he will, too, someday. When the carrots arrived he "shared" them with the stuffies & then we imagined them happily full of veggies & ready to sleep. We imagined tunnels under our carrot & radish garden (formerly the sand box) where mole rats could hang out & munch veggies as they hung like stalagtites over their heads. B imagined harvesting a radish & finding a mole rat hanging on to it, then it falling back into the hole on it's butt & shaking it's little fist at him... :) The silliness relaxed B even more & eventually he lay down again & told us he was ok & the we could go. He was asleep within minutes. He was so tired that, even when he fell out of bed at midnight (scaring the beejeepers out of me) he never really woke up. I helped him back into bed & he was out like a light within moments.

Lately we've found that if B is "stuck" on an OCD thought we can unstick him with humour, preferably something to do with farts or burps or butts... sometimes we'll pretend to have Rufus fart in B's face, which gets the giggles going. As soon as B's mind is off the thought that was bothering him, it's as though it never happened & he can resume his life.

Today was an odd day. B had earned an ExoForce lego with the behavioural charting system we've set up & spent part of the morning putting it together. We had planned some activities for the morning, but it was clear that B wanted to play with legos so the schedule gave-way. B came downstairs right before lunch, so we made some ice cream (our first this summer... I finally found time earlier this week to clean out the freezer so the ice cream freezer chamber would fit) before we ate, so we could have it with dinner. Our quiet reading time after lunch lasted about 20 minutes before B asked to do something else... so I said ok, but all of the activities that I suggested were "boring". B asked when dad would be home, but that wasn't for a long time. I was getting the feeling that B was simply bored with me **sigh** After translating the last 2 of the japanese pokemon cards that Tomoko brought him last week, I suggested that he go back to his legos & he eagerly agreed. I was tired & rested on the couch, listening to B play upstairs in his room. It felt like he was really working something out of his system, with all the zooming & exploding going on, & I was glad that I decided to be flexible about our schedule. But I also felt bad about being boring (well, that's how it felt). So, when B started getting silly about onara (farts) at dinner I jumped on the bandwagon (I gave him the "shooting the breeze line"). B's giggles sounded so good & I just wanted to keep them coming. My mom was a bit scandalised :) This evening B didn't want his usual story read to him, so C hung out with him for a bit. Then I came up to say goodnight & asked him if he wanted a "quick minute" but B said no, & he was asleep very quickly on his own. A relief... but the change in routine felt odd.

B & I have a dialogue that we do in japanese. B will say "oka-asan wa urusai desu", which means "mom is annoying", to which I reply "B-wa jyu-sai desu, which means "B is 10 years old"... They are meant to imply the same thing :) I'm going to miss this stage when it's over... farts & all.


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