The Teeter-Totter Month

Why haven’t I been blogging, you ask? Sheer exhaustion. Emotional, mainly. And also confusion…how could I write what I don’t even know? I don’t know what’s going on half the time or how I feel about whatever it is. There have been some very good things happening lately, but also many not so good things. I feel like a teeter-totter that’s going so fast that it’s up and down at the same time.

Javan is doing bood at his new school…nope, it’s no type. People ask me how it’s going there  and I literally can’t come up with any answer other than “yes.” They haven’t given up on him and don’t plan to. That’s the silver lining. And they do see how sweet and loving and giving he is and they embrace that. I commend them for that. He is also extremely aggressive still though. Fortunately, not as much toward the other kids as he was when he went to the school I work at. They probably couldn’t keep him there if that were the case. But toward the teachers…bigtime. We’re talking pencils and scissors here. Scary stuff. They just keep loving him anyway. My thoughts on this are positive and negative, but I’m trying to focus on the positive. It doesn’t come naturally to me. My thoughts go something like this…Javan was hitting other kids like crazy at my school, and suddenly he doesn’t at this school? Only teachers? This must be the Lord changing his heart, although not fully, to enable Javan to stay at this school. And that must mean that this is the place he has for Javan at this time. Reassurance. Relief. (The negative thoughts are doubts and worries that he will get kicked out for aggression and blah blah blah…I try to kick those thoughts out as soon as they enter. I replace it with one of Javan’s current favorite quotes: “God is stronger than others.”)

I know it’s October and all, but it’s been freakishly hot here in Texas. Javan still refuses to take off his jacket at school. I’ll pick him up at 3 and it’s 90+ degrees outside, and there he is in his jacket…he has always, always, loved winter clothes. In fact, his Weebow (grandma) made him some super fabulous footie pajamas last Christmas and I put them away for the summer like 5 times. He kept finding them. Even when I did find the ultimate hiding spot, he’s asked for them, literally, every day all year. We got them back out recently when it cooled off, but the “coolness” didn’t last and they’re back in hiding. Anyway, a couple of days ago, he FINALLY told me why the obsession with layers and layers of way too warm clothes. “It makes me feel…exercised.” Hmmm…ok, well exercise makes you warm, uh-huh. And also exhausted and…calm?

The teachers at Crisman recommended a suit of “under armor” that’s basically like the spandex clothes that bicyclists wear. Long sleeved and pants, they said it would make him feel “swaddled,” which is still how he sleeps best at night. There’s another boy in his class that wears them under his clothes. They are his super hero outfit. And he is Super James. So. Cute. Time to go to Wally World for spandex! Never, ever, thought I’d say that.

In other news, we found out through Javan’s GI lab testing that he does not have celiac disease (although that doesn’t rule out a gluten intolerance), but he does have hypothyroidism. Great. Well, yeah, everyone in both sides of the family has thyroid problems…but they were adult onset. I’ve never even heard of a five year old with low thyroid, although what little research I’ve done shows that it’s really not uncommon. We’ve been waiting about a week and a half to get an appointment with the pediatric endocrinologist in Tyler…still haven’t heard a thing from them. Grrrrrr…. Unacceptable. So maybe getting him on some thyroid meds will help with his energy and mood. I have had it suggested that I try kelp and sea salt first as natural sources of iodine. Why haven’t I been to the health store to get that stuff? I will try to go tomorrow. Hello, forgetful self, I haven’t seen you in at least five minutes. Scat. Ter. Brained.

Speaking of mood. Can we say unstable? He is so, so sweet and loving. Right now, kind of overly loving, if such a thing is possible. He tells us constantly, and I do mean constantly how much he loves us, that he’ll love us forever, etc. I guess it’s a reassurance thing since he’s feeling insecure about being at the new school. We just return the love. And return the love. And give the love. And return the love. And, well, it could be worse.

Then, he “switches.” Even the teachers at his special needs school are amazed by this rapid – no, instant – change of mood. Of personality. He just “goes dark” is how they put it. And they know it’s not the real him, so they just wait for him to come back. Like we do. But I don’t get it. Will I ever get it? Will there come a day when this struggle to “get it” seems insignificant and far away because things are better? Today, at the allergy doctor’s office where I get a shot a couple times a week, we were sitting on the couch in the kid’s room like we always do, and he suddenly gets up, runs out of the room and around the corner, and breaks out the claws and growling face at this lady in blue. She was just sitting there waiting her turn to get jabbed and something set him off. I can’t get him to explain what’s going on in his head when he does this. But he does it a lot. And I mean, a lot. Embarrassing.

I’m also seeing some other breaks from reality. Just a few, but we’ve seen these before and there have been times when it was literally life threatening. Like the times when he thought he could break up cars by charging them while they drove past. The only dangerous one lately was yesterday when The Oven shocked me and I said, “Ouch.” If it hurts Mom, it’s bad, ok? Just like cars driving past can hurt us, so they’re bad. So, I opened the oven to take out the pizza and he charged it. I saw the claws and growly face and stopped him. We talked about it. He was going to hit it or hurt it or something, I can’t remember exactly how he put it, but he was basically going to get back at it for hurting me. While it was open. Yeah. So, other than that he just plain old doesn’t remember hitting and kicking and throwing toys and calling names at school. He. Doesn’t. Remember. We’ve seen this before too.Oh, and there was the time recently when I wore my Sesame Street t-shirt. He told me all day, “You’re not my real Mom. You’re just a robot.” Ok, so I thought it was a joke or game or defiance or something, but it literally went on all day and I eventually realized he wasn’t joking. I asked him why he thought that and he said, “My mom doesn’t wear that shirt.” I took off the shirt, which I really don’t wear often but have worn before, and I will never wear it again. Once adequately dressed, I resumed accepted motherhood.

It is a blessing and a curse to see the pattern evolving once again. I am preparing myself emotionally and mentally and keeping a closer eye on him. But, remember when you were a kid and you were waiting for a spanking? Waiting. Waiting. The anxiety. Waaaaaaay worse than the actual spanking, right? That’s kind of how this is, too. I know it’s coming. I know I can’t stop it. I’m just waiting. And watching.

On a lighter note, we’ve been thinking of ways to get him to be okay with church again. We know he isn’t ready for Sunday School. He does okay with visiting time in the lobby, but can be wild and aggressive. Recently, we went to an autism seminar (Where I met Temple Grandin! More on that later.), and somewhere in there from something she said, I had a though. He needs a job at church. He needs to be in control of the social interactions. So, we came up with greeting. Javan absolutely adores our pastor, Brian. I wasn’t sure Javan would go for it, but when he realized he would get to hang out with Mr. Brian, he accepted it right away. And he did a fantastic job! He handed people bulletins with a smile, eye contact, and sometimes even a verbal greeting, although I stood back so I couldn’t hear him well. I’ve never seen so many people smile and feel so welcomed by a greeter in my life. How could they not? I hope he will do it again next week.

As I watched in amazement and joy and pride, a friend of mine said, “Well, of course it worked. He’s just a grown up stuck in a little kid’s body. That must be really frustrating.  He needs to be active and responsible.” Yep. She nailed it. Bittersweet. Seeing his grown-upness (even though he still says growm-up) is a joy and I’m so proud of his adult vocabulary and reasoning skills. He truly is amazing and brilliant (says the gloating mother). But at the same time, I wonder if he’ll ever realize that he didn’t get to be “just a kid.” Just an innocent, care free, joyous kid. And I wonder if he’ll feel like he missed out. But I have to realize that this is just the way it is. We were all given personality traits and life situations that mean we have missed out on something that others didn’t. None of us get it all.

Javan has begun getting a daily allowance for doing chores: feeding the dog, cleaning up toys and books, cleaning up clothes. He has taken his jobs very seriously, even negotiating  overtime work and pay. He has three jars for his money: spend, save, and give to God. We got this wonderful idea from my hubby’s brother and his wife and kids. Javan LOVES the give to God jar. He LOVES putting his coins in the offering box on Sundays. And tonight, his giving heart made my eyes swell with pride. He did all his chores. He earned all his money. But instead of dividing the money between the separate jars as usual, he put every single “money” in the give to God jar. He said, “It really belongs to Him, anyway.” Sledge hammer to the heart. But in such a beautiful way. I gave him an extra quarter to put in the give to God jar and told him that the Lord blesses cheerful givers. He was so happy. I love my son.

Oh, wait, I forgot to add the part where when we were discussing the whole cheerful giver thing, his response was, (cue five year old giggles) “I put an ear booger on your shirt.” Well, he is just a kid sometimes.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vera
    Oct 17, 2011 @ 21:26:40

    I have a thyroid disorder…it makes you feel crazy! I bet you are going to see some big changes after throid medication:)


  2. Annie Olson
    Oct 17, 2011 @ 23:05:38

    Totally agree about the thyroid disorder. And while mine wasn’t diagnosed formally until junior year of high school, it had probably been around since childhood. Japheth was diagnosed early, and Mary was checked at birth! Yeah, he does have a lot of adult ways because he is so smart in so many ways, but he also does enjoy a lot of kid laughs and kid fun–and he is a totally, totally awesome kid–with a totally awesome mom and dad! Love you all!


  3. bipolaraspiemom
    Oct 18, 2011 @ 06:06:28

    Oh, I didn’t know yours was diagnosed so early! Was it low then or high in high school? When was Japh diagnosed? I should probably know these things for the doctor’s appointment. Mary’s wasn’t off at birth was it?


  4. Amy Pruitt
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 23:56:13

    Glad to see you back 🙂


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