The Good, The Bad, and The Downright Embarrassingly Ugly

Lemme just tell you about our morning. It was not okay. And it is slightly embarrassing to write. If you are not comfortable discussing bodily functions, please discontinue reading now. We went to Tyler for a psychiatrist appointment, and I needed to go to Babies R’ Us while we were there to pick up a baby shower gift for a friend. So we headed out a little early and hit the store first. While at the store, which seemed pretty massive to me even though the employee told me that the reason I couldn’t find anything on the registry is because this is one of their “smaller” stores and things aren’t on the same aisle as in the bigger stores, Javan found a Smart Cycle display all set up with a tv and everything so kids can try it out. He has always been super attracted to those things, so I let him try it out even though he looked like a gorilla on a tricycle with his long legs. Then my stomach got that feeling that means, “Bathroom. Now. This will not be comfortable.”

Well, like many other kids on the autism spectrum, with ADHD to boot, he is not easily persuaded to leave a favored activity “unfinished.” He didn’t respond to the urgency in my voice or the threats that followed, so I had to haul him off the bike and find the bathroom ASAP. The women’s restroom had two stalls and he needed to go too, so we each took one. Needless to say, my needs took a little longer than his did. Problematic. I found a dry erase marker in my purse and slid it along with a piece of paper from the registry under the door and told him to sit by the wall and color. Ha. Ha. HA.

He sat outside the stall by the bathroom wall and obeyed! Until someone else came in. Then he darted into the second stall and bolted the door quickly. I asked, and asked, and told, and yelled for him to unlock the door and come out to let the lady use the bathroom. He didn’t. Oh, wow, I was so terribly embarrassed. Finally, he decided to come out…under the locked door, leaving the stall unusable to this lady. I’m apologizing frantically this whole time, immobilized in an already embarrassing situation, and panicking completely. I actually had to OPEN my stall door…yes, while on the freaking pot, and yell at him to get over here and unlock that door NOW! He finally did. And he apologized to her. She used the restroom and went back to her shopping. I was furious. I hunted her down by the pink and white shoes I knew she was wearing, and tried not to cry when I gave her my sincerest apologies. She was super nice about it. She had curly hair.

SHE HAD CURLY HAIR! Oh, I can’t stand this anymore! He was being mean to her on purpose because she has curly hair and people with curly hair are mean. We grabbed what we could find quickly for the shower, purchased it, and left. At least I had interesting fodder for the psychiatrist, right?

He said this curly hair “thing” (phobia? compulsion? He’s not sure.” is one of the more bizarre things about Javan. Well, you can say that again! Javan was so stinking hyperactive at disobedient at the doctor’s office that the doctor was saying how much he wanted to help him calm down and focus, but all the ADHD meds we use he either can’t tolerate the side effects or they make him worse. So we upped his Risperdone. He said that would at least help with the increased aggression.

He also gave me the name of a new medication to research. He isn’t prescribing it yet until HE’s had a chance to research it. I haven’t found that much about it, but it’s like an all natural, prescription Omega-3 combination or something with no side effects. I hope to look into this more.

I asked him so many questions. He didn’t have good answers for me. I asked him why Javan can’t understand cause and effect or relate present experiences to past ones. I asked him why Javan hurts me and does things I tell him repeatedly not to do. I asked him why Javan doesn’t  believe me when I tell him I don’t like what he’s doing. Because he doesn’t get it, he doesn’t get the social cues. He doesn’t get that I can think or feel anything different than he does, or maybe he doesn’t get that I think or feel anything at all. “Right now, you’re just the perfect jungle gym for him. That’s all it is,” he said as Javan strangled me from behind with both arms and projected himself over my shoulder. He wasn’t angry. He wasn’t doing it to be mean. And it didn’t hurt me. Even though I said it did. Sheesh, am I ever going to understand anything?

I asked the doctor about school for next year. He said he thinks I need to at least try it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. He said start him out in a regular classroom and see if he can survive. He doesn’t think he will. He doesn’t think he can. “But sometimes kids prove you wrong.” I expressed my worry about his school experiences in the past and setting him up for  another failure. He said, that is one drawback. There is positive and negative to every choice. How I wish there wasn’t. But in a special needs classroom, the expectations are lowered so much that Javan would probably not get the academic instruction he is capable of receiving. So there’s that. Ugh. I don’t think I’M ready for this decision!

He saw how stressed I’ve become. He saw that I was searching for answers to WHY in the world my kid does all the things he does. His response was, “Don’t get too bogged down. There’s no logic to what he does.” Basically, quit trying to make sense of things that have no logic behind them. I wish I could do that. I know in my mind that if Javan is doing completely random things then there is nothing I can do to figure that out, to predict it, to prevent it, to help him, to help me. So, what the heck DO I do? I’m frustrated. I’m complaining. And I feel lost.

On to the better part of the day. Naptime! My favorite! We tried moving Javan’s bedtime forward a half hour to make evening scheduling a little easier. Since we’ve done that, he’s been sleeping about an hour to an hour and a half LESS than he’s supposed to. He’s getting up earlier. That’s totally not the way that one was supposed to go. We’re gonna try it out for a few more days, but if that doesn’t stop, we have to go back to 8:00. Then we had company over for dinner. A sweet family of four that he’s visited a few times before and has finally gotten comfortable with. We’ve been preparing for it for a few days now and he was SO excited for them to come.

I had a hard time getting him to come inside after nap because he wanted to “watch for them.” I couldn’t get him to understand they wouldn’t be here for a few more hours. I never can get him to understand that. There’s the downside of preparing him for something…then he thinks it should happen NOW. He did pretty well with them being here! Yay! Not perfect, but really well. He was hyper and wild and rambunctious. But he shared his toys well, although he shared them too roughly. The only thing he seemed to have a problem with was the other kids touching the dog’s toys. He didn’t mind if they touched the dogs. Or his toys. But not their toys. Jealousy? Protection? I don’t know.

One strange thing I noticed that I’m not sure has happened before, is that as soon as they got here and for the whole time they were here, it was like he didn’t remember our house. Not literally, like “who’s house is this?,” but more like when I said, “Hey Javan, show him your playroom!,” he said “Okay!” and headed straight to the bathroom. “Uh, honey. That’s the bathroom.” “Oh.” Weird.

He was happy while they were here, even if he did playfully tackle the dad in mid-sentence at a completely inappropriate time, take dog toys away and stash them out of reach, play too roughly with toy cars and pool balls, and probably some other stuff I didn’t see. And he wants them to come back. This is really important and sweet to me because sometimes he’ll get all excited about seeing a friend, but then he isn’t nice or happy when they’re together and he’s glad when they leave and doesn’t want them to come back. At least to some degree, he’s desiring relationship with people,  friends, outside of the family. And he’s understanding that relationship means now and later. More than one encounter. A continuous endeavor. Some understanding is happening that relationships or events can be made up of past, present, and future all linked together.

This week has been off. Really, really off. It has been the first week of homeschooling that I felt like we really had to skip over some work because he literally could not do it. He couldn’t focus. He couldn’t be calm. He’s being less responsive and less communicative. I’ve had to tell him repeatedly, “When I ask you a question, you have to answer. And what you say has to be about the same thing I asked you about.” But I’m glad I wrote this blog, because during a week like this, I can’t readily see the small strides we are making toward progress. But looking back on it like this, I can see more clearly.

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