Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Up then down...

It's hard to believe that this time last week it was in the 60's, temperature-wise. It hovered around 30 today, & there was a dusting of snow on the ground, although the sun made it a gorgeously cold day...

Yesterday was notable for Brendan starting the day in his classroom (with a new-to-him substitute teacher), doing the same morning work as everybody else. I did a double-take when I came upstairs to kiss him goodbye, since he was diligently working, writing in a workbook with a pencil -another thing he really dislikes doing. He was peaceful & focused on his work when I left him. :) I had a day of laundry & errands. When I picked him up his speech therapist was there, beaming happily. Brendan had participated beautifully in the math lesson that afternoon & when I got there was mixing it up with the other kids (appropriately) with no tics interrupting him at all. On the way home in the car he asked me if we could get to work on his wizard robe, so I told him we'd get started after I finished folding laundry. He patiently tried on my Jedi robe (we're using the same pattern), which fits him (!) so I didn't have to alter the pattern at all, then helped me pin the pattern to the fabric. He played with my legos (a few years ago they had an animal creator set that he wasn't interested in, so I got it for myself :) while I cut the pattern out, asking me questions about what I was doing (marking things with tailor's chalk). I was still feeling energetic before dinner so I made apple pancakes from scratch, with veggie sausage on the side (for Charlie & me- Brendan won't eat anything veggie that's shaped like meat). After dinner the other members of our church quartet, Jessie (alto) & Ed (tenor) came over to rehearse some music for up-coming services. Brendan played Adventure Quest while we learned 2 new songs. One of the songs is an old Welsh wassailling song, the Gower Wassail, that we'll sing for the mummers play on the 17th & the other is a carol co-written by Jessie's father & Pete Seeger in the mid-60's that we'll sing Christmas Eve. Both songs were fun to learn & sing, & Brendan sang along as he played AQ, so we decided that he could make our quartet a quintet this year (singing soprano with me), & he seemed interested- stay tuned :)

Today did not go nearly as smoothly as yesterday. Brendan was just not quite as plugged-in... He started out by sitting on the heating vent in his room for 10 minutes while he was supposed to be getting dressed. We managed to catch-up time-wise, but it was a near thing getting out the door on time. He settled-in at school quickly, like yesterday, & I am beginning to think that he's finally gotten used to school. I checked-in with Cherie to let her know he had an appointment to see the eye doctor at 2:30, so she said she'd have his stuff ready for us to fly out after music (which ends around 2:10). I got there a bit early to pick him up & watched the end of music class. They were finishing with a game of "Killer" (aka "Wink", where someone "kills' others by winking at them, as the whole group sits in a circle) & Brendan was definitely over-the-top, behaviour-wise. He was attending to what was happening & engaged in the game, but was so loud & goofy & impulsive that the poor girl sitting next to him asked him to cut it out. While I was waiting, Cherie told me that the boy he usually plays with during outside time had gone home sick, so Brendan had joined in a game of soccer with lots of other kids & had had a good time (he told me in the car that he'd nearly made a goal). The game that Brendan usually plays, which they call "The Pokemon Game" is very imaginative, where they play roles in a story about various characters (pokemon, Mario characters, superheroes) & it's very convoluted & intense. The game doesn't appeal to many of the other kids, though, & Brendan has had trouble in the past when he's tried to do other things during outside time, since he's the only one who'll play this game with the other kid & this kid isn't above guilt-tripping him if he doesn't want to play. It was pretty neat to see Brendan excited about playing soccer with a bunch of other kids, although I suspect that he'll go back to the comfort & familiarity of the pokemon game. My stand on playground time is, as long as he's having fun, & not being teased, then I don't see much reason to mess with it. When we were in the car on the way to his eye appointment I mentioned that I'd seen the girl in music class giving him feedback that he was too loud, mostly because I didn't want him to disregard her feelings. He barely remembered her speaking to him, so I asked him to think about how he might feel in the same situation, & to try to listen to what his friends are telling him. There was definitely an element of impulsivity to his behaviour all afternoon. He cooperated really well at his eye appointment, even with the drops (which used be to just horrible for him). He also asked about every piece of equipment in the room, politely, but in a driven sort of manner. His doctor decided he was old enough for the glaucoma test where you get a sudden burst of air in the eye, & the "old enough" comment intrigued Brendan quite a bit. When the air hit he jumped & said "oh ssssshhh..." but didn't complete the word, which pleased him immensely (& made us all laugh), but the best part was that he sat still for the other eye to be tested :) Happily, his vision is still fine (both Charlie & I have been wearing glasses since we were his age, so it is a concern) & his binocular convergence & tracking are still very strong, thanks to the years of therapy.

Brendan got right on the computer for AQ when we got home, & I had good intentions of working some more on his wizard robes with him, but I fell asleep on the sofa instead. Sigh. I woke up with him fussing loudly at the game in time to make a less ambitious dinner of tofu & rice & edamame. Brendan was still behaving really compulsively at dinner, insisting on having a fork as well as hashi (chopsticks), until he knocked the fork on the floor because it was in the way of his hashi... by the end of the meal I was rather frazzled with the loudness & random behaviour & he was feeling bad. Charlie had a considerable amount of work to do at home, but he spent time playing a card game with Brendan & then sat with him while he was being frustrated by a part of his AQ game. I cleaned up after dinner & started writing this post. Bed time started out fairly normally, but I noticed as I read to him that Brendan wasn't settling down as he usually does, but was restless & whispered to himself for a bit, until I asked him to concentrate on what I was reading instead. After an hour of reading I decided to stop & see if he could fall asleep on his own (one of the goals we've been working on), but he just revved-up & began ticcing so intensely it sounded like he was going to vomit. Charlie came in & we decided to watch an Kim Possible episode on my laptop (in the tv room, where the vcr was already taping another show...). Brendan seemed more settled after that & ready for bed, but he decided that he had to have a certain flashlight to take to bed with him, & then couldn't find it, & couldn't concentrate when I tried to read again, & finally spiralled right back up to major tics again... he kept moaning that they (the tics) were going to kill him :( So I brought the laptop into his room & we watched another KP sitting on the bed, which took us up to 11:00. Brendan was finally sleepy & just wanted to have a "quick minute", & it didn't take but 5 minutes for him to fall asleep.

Whew. We haven't had an evening like this in a long time (thank goodness). It was nights like these that made me wonder if the extreme anxiety wasn't going to end up with our having to take him to the hospital someday, but we've managed to help him stay safe so far & each time, though exhausting & disturbing, we seem to be figuring out what to do to help him finally get to sleep. I just wish I understood what was causing him to be so wired all day. My mind jumps to the new medicine, but it really is too soon for it to be in his system enough to be causing problems (just one week on a minimal dose...). It was also particularly odd for him to have such an out-of-control-ish day after having such a great day yesterday- Brendan's cycles of ups & downs usually last longer... All we can do is watch him carefully & hope it's "just" a pre-adolescent blip.


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