Calm Seas Behind, Rough Seas Ahead, and Our Encounter with Playboy Zebra

The past several months have been GOOD. Guess I’m just not much of a summer blogger. Javan has been easy going and even sleeping a ton (which helps because he’s still full-throttle all the time). He has been sleeping about 10.5 hours a night PLUS a 1-2 hour nap. Whoot! He has even had a few moments that have taken my breath away, like introducing himself properly to other children! Not consistently. Not even most of the time. But he DID it!

Last week, our family had the best stay-cation we have ever had! My husband took the week off and his brother, sister-in-law, and their FOUR kids came to stay with my husband’s parents. The last time we saw their family was on their turf up in Indiana for Christmas. Javan did awesome then! I was dreading being “stuck” up there restraining him and isolating both of us if he didn’t adapt well and was being aggressive, but I was so pleasantly surprised that he did terrific with his cousins and the new environment.

This time, I knew if he did not do well, we could retreat to home, so that was semi-comforting. I also knew that this time, they’d be on HIS turf…HIS Weebow and Pops’ house, HIS playroom, HIS swimming pool, etc. Guess what? He did great AGAIN! It was a big week full of large gatherings and events…Independence Day (which also happens to be my birthday, my anniversary, and my husband’s birthday. And family events every day, whether it be with just us and the Indiana Clan, or the ENTIRE extended family, which is quite large but Javan has been around them a lot.

Javan did best with his two older cousins, the girls, who are one and three years older than him. He showed no aggression or resentment toward them at all (that I saw anyway). He even held hands and walked with the oldest a few times and had a blast giggling with her when she rode in the back seat with him. He did slightly less well with the two younger cousins, the boys, both due to the fact that they are boys and they have less communication and adaptive abilities than older children. Older kids give him somewhat of a “social cushion” because they expect him to act like a little kid and they can notice that something is “weird” about him without voicing it or calling him out on it. Even so, he didn’t do terribly with the younger boys, and overall, he had a spectacular visit with his super-spectacular aunt, uncle, and cousins.

In other news, I’m feeling anxious and discouraged because I’ve noticed a pattern emerging that I am all too familiar with…he’s slipping into a manic episode. My husband and mother have noticed too. I pray that it will not be a full-out regression to “the places we’ve been before.” He hasn’t been in a depressive stage, which is the other end of the spectrum from mania, but he’s been in a calmer, more sedate, reasonable state. Ahhh, reason, how I love reason. But I can feel it being pulled out from under my feet…again. Not quickly, but inch by inch, so that I can feel the fall coming and I’m left wondering how long I can gracefully keep my balance before I fall smack on my behind.

Javan was making friends. He was forming a relationship with one new neighbor girl, Raylin, who I’ve posted about before, in which I could trust him to be with her out of my direct line of vision, and not worry about anyone getting hurt or being in danger of any kind. About a month ago (I’m guessing…I stink at keeping up with time.), he decided that she was a “baby” and he won’t hang out with her anymore. That’s it. No transition. No big hoopla. Just, “Now we’re not friends.” And he’s stuck to his resolution, well, resolutely. He will never be her friend again. Raylin is one year younger than Javan. There are several other kiddos that he’s done the same thing with recently. Mostly kids a little younger than or the exact same age as him. And he means it…he hates them (at least for now). So, that means that if I’m friends with their parents, I don’t get to see my friends, hang out with other moms, without him ruining the whole thing. Isolation. I do take one night out a week to be with my friends kid-free, but one night a week! And then back to isolation.

And we’re just starting the downward spiral into mania. I know, I know. You’re thinking I’m pessimistically predicting a catastrophic future without just cause. But we’ve been through this cycle so many times! We can see it coming. Call it a bipolar prophesying borne of experience. In fact, I remember predicting one such episode about a year and a half ago (and again, I’m bad at remembering time frames, so I’m probably off on that estimate). I had been working at a local daycare and loving it. I loved the kids, I loved the adult interaction with my co-workers, I loved the kids some more. And Javan was able to participate free in the late afternoons. Free social interaction under another authority figure besides Mom! I was all signed up and ready to start the summer program, so excited about being with “my” kiddos and for the opportunity for Javan to participate. I had even already bought our matching summer camp T-shirts! Aaaaand, then we saw it coming. I had to talk to my bosses, who I had grown to love dearly, and tell them that practically last-minute, I had to quit. Based on a prediction. Based on what they couldn’t see yet. It pretty much sucked a big one.

Luckily, my bosses were both women of grandmothering age who had reached the level of wisdom to know a mother’s instincts should not be belittled. They supported me and loved me and encouraged me even though I was putting them in a pickle. And we ended up being right. He did enter a manic stage and it wouldn’t have been okay for me to have work obligations and it wouldn’t have been okay for him to be in a summer program with other kids and expectations that he wouldn’t have been able to meet. I still really miss that daycare.

So, what do we do? We wait. There is no way to prevent a manic episode. At least I don’t think so. I’ll have to research that after this killer stress headache goes away. We wait and we see if we can weather this storm without medication changes or adjustments. We pray that Jesus calms the storm. We pray that we can walk on the water with him without fear and without falling.

You’re probably wondering what indicators we’re seeing that lead us to this assumption that a manic episode is ensuing. Off the top of my head: constant talking, singing, or babbling…or babble-singing…sometimes it sounds like a Japanese kid is singing off-key in the back seat of the car…for a really, really long time; extreme disobedience, extreme hyperactivity, I could go on.

Let’s talk about extreme hyper-sexuality. Yes, that’s part of a manic episode, apparently even for young children with little to no knowledge of things sexual. My son knows exactly two things about male and female bodies: women have boobies, and they have different “peepees.” Oh, and women have babies…so that’s three things.  Anywaaaaay, this is coming up because of an incident we had a few days ago during our stay-cation. We were at the lake hangin’ with the family: grandparents, aunt and uncle, cousins, us. There are very few other people there, as is the usual for this particular lake. But there is this one well-developed young lady, lookin’ all hot in her tiny zebra-striped bikini, playin’ with her little brother and his friend in the water. He swam/walked over to them (it’s a very shallow lake). I was like, yeah, they probably don’t want to talk to us, but he wants to be social, and I’m not gonna stop him from saying hi. So he goes over. Does he say hi to the kids? No. Course not! He says hi to the hottie with the Playboy bunny belly ring! He gets in her personal space – I say “Javan. Personal Space,” like I do so many times every single day. Instead of him backing off though, he goes in for a hug. Well, he hugs a lot. Even at inappropriate times with inappropriate people – he does have Asperger’s after all, a disorder in which inappropriateness is widely prevalent and somewhat expected.

Mid-way into the hug, the unexpected happens. Playboy Zebra sort of gasps and shoves his body away from her. I was like, “Dang, I guess she really didn’t want a hug!” Javan swims off and I, of course, go after him. He whisper’s a “secret” in my ear with a smile in his voice: “I was trying to touch her peepee.” OH. MY. GOSH. I told him we would talk in a minute and I told him to stay where he was. I went directly to the girl/woman/whatever and said, “Did he do something inappropriate when he hugged you?” She smiled and said, “He tried to grab my butt.” I apologized profusely, explained a little about his Asperger’s and Bipolar, or maybe just the Asperger’s, I can’t remember. She smiled and said, “That’s okay, I understand. I work with kids like him.” So, so very glad and lucky that this happened with a person who has understanding! And could likely already guess at the things I told her about him. Then I had a good talk with Javan about how it is never okay to touch anyone there. Ever.

Why did I share this? It makes me vulnerable. It means people might whisper things about my son or even me behind my back. It means some people who read this might not want my son around their daughters. That’s a lot to risk. It is. But I am sick and tired of hiding. This is my life. This is my son’s life. And you can be darn sure there are other mothers, fathers, children, families, hiding because they think they’re the only ones. I know I do.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ruthie
    Jul 15, 2012 @ 22:06:58

    OK first off, he is not the first little kid to grab a girls butt and he won’t be the last. You will all live. You’ll even be able to laugh about it later in life, given time.

    Second. I am so glad you are seeing a pattern in Javan’s behavior. It will help in the long run to know what might be coming. It also makes it a little easier to get through the hard times. At least for me it did. Malachi had roughly two week cycles. Two weeks to the top of his game, two weeks dow to a “normal life”, then two weeks farther down to descend into the pits. At the top of his emotions he talked 24/7, at least it felt that way. Even called out in his sleep. But it only lasted for about four days and then would taper off. Once I knew it had a beginning and an end in sight I dealt with it a lot better. At least I didn’t think it might never go away and stress out. Which also made me deal with him better. I knew it was pressured speech and he could not fight it. So we learned to go with the flow.

    Keeping records of the behaviors helped us to locate the cause once, also. We found out that the flowering fruit trees set off his paranoid behaviors. If we treated the allergies we could avoid the heavy duty drugs being offered for the paranoid stuff. Really an easy fix. But it took us nearly two years to place that connection.
    We also learned that his unhappy, down time, depression stuff was shorter lived then we thought, once we tracked it. It also lasted about 4-7 days at it’s very worse. Knowing this helped us get through it easier better. So that fact that you know this time is closing in is actually a good thing. It means there is somewhat of a pattern you can track and learn from.

    I am glad you had this “good time” and that you could enjoy it. There will be more. The good days will return and you will be all the more grateful for them.
    As always I keep you in my prayers.
    Ruthie <

    Reply

    • bipolaraspiemom
      Jul 15, 2012 @ 22:45:43

      Javan HAS been talking non-stop! And I find it slightly hilarious that about 2 seconds after I finished reading your comment, he cried out in his sleep as well! Lol. We are starting to see patterns, but I haven’t figured it out to the day yet…it seems like his manic phases last soooo long, but maybe if I charted it, or at least looked back at my blog to see a time pattern, that would help. Thanks for your prayers and understanding!

      Reply

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