The Middle of Mania

This is so hard. Javan is so hard to be around these days. I am metaphorically pulling my hair out. I may have it somewhat together on the outside, but on the inside is a little girl throwing a nasty temper tantrum screaming, “It’s not fair! It’s NOT FAIR!” I feel so trapped with him, too. I can’t visit any of my friends because he will hurt their kids. Or them. Or their dogs (Yes, he did.). I’m lonely. And I’m fearful that I will lose friendships because I am simply unavailable to invest in them.

A daily picture of our lives right now includes long, intense, loud crying/screaming bouts. Long, intense, loud talking bouts. And short, intense maniacal laughing bouts. Those I don’t mind as much. But the crying absolutely must stop. It must. But it doesn’t. He cries about everything and nothing. Of course when he doesn’t get what he wants, even if what he wants is physically impossible to have on this earth, there is no reason to him in these moments (or hours). And other times when he’s perfectly fine, having a good time, and then up out of the blue he misses someone and cries for hours wanting them. And the talking. Oh, the talking. It takes absolutely forever for him to express any idea, but he goes on about things endlessly. With looooong pauses between parts of sentences, and sometimes forgetting what he was talking about and asking, “What was I saying again?” which usually gets me in trouble because I have tuned him out. I don’t mean to tune him out. Usually. But the way he goes on, my mind wanders off on it’s own.

The laughing is a different story. His maniacal laughter takes two forms. Pretty and ugly. I love the pretty kind. It’s probably only pretty to those who love him dearly, and quite bizarre to strangers in line at Panda Express. The thing is, when he’s happy, he laughs. Really laughs. A long belly laugh where others might only smile or do that quiet nose laugh thing. It’s the kind of laughing we might all do if we freed ourselves from social restraints and expectations and just lived out our emotions. The ugly kind of laughing is just infuriating and I don’t understand it besides. It’s the quieter laughing he does with a devious look on his smug little face when he hurts me or sees that I’m unhappy about something. It hurts my feelings. A lot. And I don’t get it. I don’t know what he does or doesn’t understand about my feelings. I mean, when I have to leave my full shopping cart in the middle of Target and haul him out to the car from a failed shopping trip and I’m about in tears, and he’s laughing it’s really hard not to smack that grin right out into the parking lot and pull a big fat “Towanda” on it (my favorite scene in Fried Green Tomatoes.) But if he really doesn’t get it, and I don’t know that he does, if he really can’t understand my emotions at all, then it makes sense for him to be happy that he wanted to leave the store and we left the store. He might not be laughing that we left at my expense, which is how it feels. He’s just happy he got to leave. Period. I wish I knew. I want to know for sure that he’s not just being an evil little jerk in a cute kid costume.

I don’t know if clumsiness is another sign of mania in children, and I’m not sure if I’ve noticed it before in manic phases, but let me tell you how clumsy this kid is! He has fallen on his face, and I mean hard, about 5 or 6 times this week. His side is all scratched up from armpit to hipbone from falling in the dirt and skidding on sweet gumballs. He  just runs and runs and runs…and suddenly he trips and is flying through the air and lands like a pancake because he lacks the reflexes to land less painfully. Have I mentioned the elongated crying episodes? Reference above.

But the worst of it is his insistent planning. He comes up with a new plan for something or other about every five minutes. He talks like he’s the boss and when he says, “Ok. Here’s the plan,” he thinks that means it will happen. No matter what he says, he really and truly thinks if he says it with enough certainty, then it is certain to be true. Like he can speak “his truth” into existence. Try telling him what the real plan is and get ready for the screaming. Reference above. Sigh. He even came up with a plan earlier today to move all our stuff into another house, and in that house we would all follow his rules. Sheesh.

And the trapped feeling. I mentioned not being able to see friends. But I can’t even take him anywhere by ourselves! We went to a local library event that we had signed up for earlier this summer. We even had to do a reading log to enter him into the prize contest. He had his little heart set on winning a blue guitar. So, we get there and some guy is setting up for a magic show (which we were not prepared for) and we can smell the hot dogs ( which we were prepared for) but we couldn’t have them yet. Javan lasted about 7 minutes before I had to drag him out of there, and that was  after  a calm-down talk in the bathroom. There were people there with curly hair. Yeah, so a 25 minute drive to the library and keeping a reading log all summer for that? The growling and clawing that he was doing toward the curly haired people was being returned to him with a death look from Mom. So we went across the street to the park. I didn’t really want to waste the drive and they do have a cool park. He played some. Then fell flat on his face. Again. In the mud. Grrrrr.

A few days later, we visited another park. The brand new splash pad park we got in town recently. He didn’t do terribly. Well, he didn’t hurt anyone. And he played nicely (by himself, but nicely) for a while before the claws came out. Then we went over to the dry part of the park and I pushed Javan on his favorite swing, one of those intended for handicapped children that kind of cradle your body when you sit in them. It’s kind of over by the baby swings, and there were other moms pushing their tiny ones in the swings wondering why my ginormous six year old was being swung next to them by his mother. Then the freaking claws. Again. Toward twin two year old girls a few swings down – with curly hair, of course.

“They’re bad girls!” He repeated loudly as I tried to calm him. The other moms never spoke to me, only looked on in bewildered discomfort.

“Ok, Javan, how do you know they’re bad girls? We know that people with curly hair are just people. Not bad people.”

“Because I used my Super Knowing Technique!”

“Ok, how does it work? How do you know they’re bad?”

“I just did a science experiment in my heart for a long, long time until my Super Knowing Technique worked. Now I know they’re bad.”

Aaaand, the moms still look on, occasional nervous chatter escaping their lips. I know I shouldn’t judge them any more than they should judge me, but my heart cried out in anger, “So what!?! You think you’re perfect? You think your little darlings are perfect? They might be just like him. You might be ME in a few years!”

That kind of anger is useless and wrong. I know. But it’s embarrassing to deal with everything alone. And it hurts to be silently judged and shunned. It hurts even more than being loudly judged and shunned, because you can’t argue with silence. You can’t explain yourself to silence. It wins.

My husband reminded me last night, or was it the night before? Everything is running together. He said, “I know Javan is going into a manic phase. But try to remember that it is a phase.” It will end. It will end.

Let’s add a tiny bit of brightness to the end of this post, shall we? We sort of started first grade a couple weeks ago. Homeschooling, of course. It was awful! Everytime my notebook would come out, he was instantly angered and refused to cooperate. So, I put the notebooks away. I bought a $20 a month online homeschool curriculum that was recommended to me on a special needs homeschool facebook page and we’ve started it. Today was our first day of it, and it was kind of hard to get him back to the computer after we would have a break, but he did it. He did all his lessons. And he was engaged with the animation so he didn’t complain loudly during his learning. I don’t know how long we’ll do school this way, but for now the notebooks have hit the shelf. Maybe we’ll do them in a few months. Maybe next year. Maybe never. It doesn’t matter because we have an alternative.

Also, although I know for sure he is not ready for this, I count it as a massive positive that he has been asking me if he can go back to the small private school that we started at this year. He did so awful there, and his classmates were mortified by his presence, but he’s asking for them back. He says he’s getting too much Mommy time (I agree), and he wants time with other kids. Did your jaw just drop? Well, pick it up off the floor because I know we’re not there yet. Maybe next year. Or the next. Or the next. But for now, at least he  wants it, even if he doesn’t know what all it implies. Maybe we’ll try to visit there for lunch and recess once a week and see if we can introduce “real school” to him bit by bit. Even if it doesn’t work at all, even if we can’t even handle a simple recess, I know that this is a sign that he will continue to want friendship and independence when he’s ready to achieve it.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Velma
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 09:18:56

    I SO understand! Lately we are going through similar stuff with my 12 yo and it is so hard!


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