Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tokyo Day 3...

Today was a "stay close to home" day, which turned out to be good intuition on our (parental) parts... We were all up at 4:00 am-ish again. Brendan read for 2 hours before finally getting up around 6:00 and Charlie & I basically dozed until he got up. We decided to try melatonin tonight... We got a call from our friend Marian around 9:30 & arranged for her to come to where we're staying for lunch. That left us a couple of hours for some exploring & Charlie had found a nearby park & Buddhist shrine in our guidebook, so we headed off. We were lucky to have another sunny day for our expedition, although it was pretty warm, too. Brendan was once again plagued by tics on the 10-minute walk to the park, but anticipation of visitng the shrine helped him hold it together until we got to the coolness of Shiba park, where he & I sat for a bit while Charlie figured out where the shrine was. Brendan was very motivated to visit the shrine, thanks to our buddhist studies. In the park we found a tiny Shinto shrine, too. The photo above is the torii gate leading to the shrine.

This photo is Brendan at the tiny shrine with a statue of a kitsune, a fox spirit. We put some money in a box there, rang the bell & clapped 3 times to honour the shrine's kami (spirits).

This is the Shojo-ji Buddhist temple, which is over 300 years old. We had our first dragon-sighting there (yay!). (I'm not sure if I've mentioned that Brendan is hunting for dragons & phoenixes while we're in Japan :) There are 2 dragon guardians on the walls on either side of the door. There was also a well where you could sip some water & spit it out to purify yourself. Brendan did this :) We also rang the bell (after tossing some coins in the box), clapped & bowed (we watched a japanese gentleman do this first, so we could be sure we were doing it right). Nearby there was a huge tree with a rope & paper decorations around it, just like something from InuYasha! We stopped at a handy vending machine for much-needed drinks, too :) (Drinks vending machines are absolutely everywhere.)

This a concrete bridge on the way out of the park, with the concrete formed to look like tree branches. Really neat-looking.

The walk back home was not much fun. Without the incentive of a Buddhist temple to visit, Brendan was just not able to keep it together. The tics got worse & worse until he was whacking himself on the head. We stopped & kind of sheltered him until he could continue, & I was madly looking for distractions. I spotted a mini-mart & we decided to go in & get a soda, which worked. We got home without any more difficulty & Brendan got on to Dragon Fable for some downtime. At this point I was seriously wondering of we'd get him out of the apartment again for lunch :( Charlie took off to the subway station to meet Marian & I talked to him about going out again to get some lunch. Brendan seemed up for it & was happy to greet Marian when she arrived, but the internet service started acting up & messed-up his game & he lost it again. I finally told Charlie & Marian to go to lunch & Brendan & I had leftover rice & bowl noodle at home. He regained his equanimity for a while & Charlie & Marian hit a sweets shoppe (western-style sweets- only in Roppongi, where we're staying, which is considered the "western ghetto"...) on their way home so we had a yummy dessert. After Marian left Brendan lost it again & locked himself in his room. Sigh. This is not anything we have to deal with at home (locks) & it felt like a safety problem to me. The bottom line, I think, is that jet-lag caught up with Brendan & he had no idea how to self-regulate any more. I convinced him to unlock the door & then spent some time doing a Gandhi-esque sit-in in his room until he agreed not to lock or even close the door any more. It wasn't much fun, but felt really necessary, since I really didn't want to deal with him locking himself in his room all the time. Most everything we suggested to him for distraction or re-regulation he rejected, & spent the rest of the aftenoon alternating between tears & fury. Finally, he decided to cook dinner. After a false start (more tears & fury) I told him that he could cook dinner if we gave some minimal assistance/guidance & he agreed. He wanted rice & edamame again, so I told him how to measure the rice & water (using a teacup, since there are no measuring cups) & he lit the stove himself. He made tea, too, with guidance :) & as he did his mood lightened a lot. I think he was really looking for some way to feel capable, in the midst of his dysregulation, & cooking did it. He was a gracious host at dinner & it was very "oishii" (tasty :).

The evening passed peacefully & after a shower, Brendan fell into bed about 8:00. I passed-out on the couch while he was in the shower & woke up in time to kiss him goodnight. Thanks goodness Charlie was still upright! I showered next & was in bed by 9:30. I had decided to try taking melatonin when I woke up at 4:00-ish, to help me get back to sleep, since I was exhausted when I went to bed. I ended-up waking up at 1:45 & taking the melatonin, but all it did was make me doze, but not really sleep, more deeply. Brendan woke up at 4:00 am again this morning & read until 6:00. He told Charlie that he's definitely taking melatonin when he goes to bed tonight :) We are going to follow his advice. We also decided to be very intentional about planning our days, with Brendan in attendance & making sure he's aware of the scope of our plans & has input into them. This morning over breakfast we brainstormed ways for him to cope with tics while we're out & about. We talked about putting a kekkai on a hat, buying him some sunglasses to hide behind, keeping focused on where we're going, thinking about buying presents for the folks back home & also stuff for himself :) & putting him in charge of taking pictures. We also set up a signal for him to use when the tics start bothering him so that we can intervene more quickly. He's feeling quite positive about going out today, so we'll see if these ideas work.

Today we've off to the Miraikan (science centre) at Odaiba (the amusement park area in Tokyo). More later... :)

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