Monday, December 11, 2006

Reversing entropy...


Or, at least an attempt to reduce it...

Today, after getting Brendan to school & putting the second load of laundry in, I went looking for his k'nex, which had been put away in a fit of tidying a while back. I had a vivid memory of their being in his closet, but when he & dad went looking in there they didn't find them. Enter the Entropy Reducer, aka "mom". The first difficulty with Brendan's closet is that one of its 2 doors is blocked by his computer printer (which probably no longer works because it's been about a year since he's used it...). The second difficulty is that all of his outgrown clothes for the past year-ish have been piled behind the blocked door, so it's hard to get waaay over into the corner where I'm convinced the k'nex are. So, first up is a trip to the basement to get a box. The biggest box, however, still had packing material in it (the year-old bread machine box) so I emptied & recycled the various packing materials & ended up sorting through some more boxes & emptying them as well, resulting in 2 bags for the trash can, 3 collapsed boxes for recycling, & 1 large, empty box for outgrown clothes. Back upstairs in Brendan's room, I began sorting clothes into the big box & found some more "keepers" among the t-shirts- shirts from special places & the like that I have been keeping to use in a quilt (or something) someday. So, they went in a separate pile destined for an even bigger pile up in my attic craft-room. Thinking about that very big pile of keepers, I realised that it really wouldn't bear any more weight without imploding, so I pondered where to store these "someday" items that would actually create order out of chaos, rather than more chaos... While stowing the box of outgrown clothes in the basement I came across an unused, really big plastic toter that we used to haul camping gear in when we had a mini van (which had room for really big toters). It has been unused since we went for smallers cars, though, & I realised it's the perfect place for the pile of clothing... Three or 4 trips from the attic to the basement later, I had unearthed nearly 10 years worth of keeper shirts & was feeling nostolgically sad as I placed some of the tinier shirts into the toter. I started making most of Brendan's clothes when he was about a year old (I made the the outfit he's wearing in the picture above, which documents Brendan's first encounter with a recorder & "playing" recorder with dad). I found a vest I'd knitted that he'd worn in kindergarten in the pile, along with the t-shirts I'd appliqued with Batman & Robin symbols (plus the Superman & Spiderman Underoos shirts) during his superhero phase. I'd completely forgotten that he wouldn't leave the house when he was 4 unless he was wearing superhero clothes... There were also some shirts that we'd been given during a trip to the Virgin Islands when I was 8 months along in my pregnancy with Brendan. It seemed that every time we walked into a little shop someone would hand us their smallest-sized shirt "for the baby" & refuse any payment. Charlie & I were blown away by the generosity (we thought, privately, that they were blown-away by any tourist crazy enough to travel at that stage of pregnancy...) Brendan was still wearing some of these shirts when he was 6...

In the end, not only had I found the k'nex (exactly where I'd thought they were, btw) but Brendan's closet was cleaned out, the box pile in the basement was no longer teetering dangerously, threatening to spill styrofoam popcorn all over, & my craft room's big closet no longer is (nearly as) likely to spontaneously combust. I was also really tired...

When I went to get Brendan from school this afternoon I was met at the door by his music teacher, who had precipitated an unsettling experience last Thursday. He told me he'd been thinking ever since then about how he needed to learn more about autism & how it affects Brendan in particular because he cares & really wants to do well by him. He said that he had come into school today with the intention of finding some of the books I'd mentioned last Thursday, & when he went to his mailbox this morning, was amazed to find an envelope with a sermon on autism. He said it felt like God had sent it to him... then he tried to figure out who he knew that was a minister & would give him something like that. I grinned. He hadn't realised that the "Lisa" who had signed the note on the envelope was me :) He said he finally realised that it was from me (I told him that "She" had indeed sent him a gift- ha ha) & then explained that in my church you don't have to be a minister to preach :) He thanked me for giving him a copy of the sermon & I offered to send him some links for further investigation, & he told me to "bring it on"...

I left him with warm glowy feeling, which was very helpful because when I got to the 3rd floor I found my kid in the special ed room, on the floor in tears, with his consultant teacher & speech therapist sitting quietly with him. I got him up & in my arms & we tried to get him to tell me what had happened (Cherie didn't want to "tattle" on him, & thought it would be best if he told me himself what had happened) but after about 10 minutes & lots of guessing/questioning on my part he still couldn't put it in words. Finally his teachers left us together for a little bit & he was able to tell me that math lately has been making him feel "bored & ticcy", & when the tics got out of hand he couldn't find a safe space & ended up in the recycling bin. He assured me that he fit just fine in it, but I told him that I understood why they had gotten him out of it & brought him in the special ed room instead. We actually got a bit giggly about his trying to find refuge in the recycling bin- he told me he was a "1, 2 or 3, mom"- & that lightened our moods a bit. From his teachers I got that he'd kind of blown-up with tics & swearing when it was time for math, which has been frustrating lately because he's not been focusing well during the first part of the lesson, so he hasn't known how to do the work once they get to it, & his teacher has been having to do a lot of re-teaching, which upsets him. Cherie said that the blow-up came when she'd tried to give him a choice about how to do the math work, & she thinks that he was just too overwhelmed to make any decisions at that point. They'd tried to get him to a quieter space in the wake of the tics, but he burrowed into the recycling bin instead, which led to his ending up in the special ed room, rather than a place of his choosing... My take on it all is that he's still shaking the Luvox out of his system, which had made the tics worse, & is "low" on zoloft because we'd been trying to switch him to the Luvox. In other words, his brain chemistry is not anything like "normal" for him these days, so it's no wonder he's having trouble. Sigh. I appreciated their sticking with him & their gentleness with his volatility. I just felt bad for him, too. I reminded him that things are going to be weird until the Luvox is out of his system & that we would do our best to help him get by...

When we got home we had cocoa with peppermint sticks & watched another InuYasha dvd, then Brendan played with the newly-rediscovered k'nex for a while, rather than getting right on to Adventure Quest. Unfortunately, the k'nex were not doing what he wanted them to & he blew-up with frustration, & the swearing lost him his number yet again (this the 3rd day that he's been just about to earn the InuYasha action figure & we're both beginning to feel that it's never going to happen :( big sigh). He did pull himself together & was excited about the plan to go out for Japanese for dinner, since dad had a late meeting at work & wouldn't be home. I was excited, too, because for a bit it didn't look like he was going to be able to do it. I keep trying to reinforce the steps Brendan does take that are appropriate, like asking for help when he needs it or getting himself back on track when he has a blow-up, so being able to go out for dinner was a good reward (for us both).

This morning during breakfast, after he was resigned to going back to school after a too-short weekend, Brendan told me that he wasn't only looking forward to the holiday break because he'd be out of school, but because he was looking forward to doing stuff with me :) I told him I was looking forward to it too. I really am. It will be good to have a real, live break & a chance for him to rest & do what he wants to for a while.

1 Comments:

At 11:24 PM, Blogger Kristina Chew said...

An early Xmas present, sounds like!

 

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