Lies and Progress

I’m not ok. How am I not ok? Three days ago, I was on cloud 9, thinking we’d made all this progress and life was all roses. Well, that’s a good place to start…

Thursday, we went on a field trip with our homeschool group. Most times, that in and of itself is a recipe for failure. It means we have to leave home, follow expectations outside our norm, and socialize. We went to a local place called Safety City, where kids learn how to operate safely in a miniature city as a pedestrian, cyclist, and car driver. It was kind of special because both his dad and I remember going there as kids. He did…fantastic!!! We received one of the best compliments from this sweet firefighter:


She has a working dog of some sort, and she commented on how well Holly Lou was doing despite a plethora of distractions. There was traffic just on the other side of the fence, a group of excited five and six year olds moving all around, and her own excited six year old dragging her in circles in excitement. She performed spectacularly. In fact, she said that Holly Lou was THE BEST working dog she’d seen in a long while. I’m all smiles.

After our extensive time with the firefighters and their super cool truck, we went in for a safety discussion with a police officer, and then finally on into Safety City for some hands-on experiences walking, biking, and driving. The kids were divided into groups. Our group contained six lively boys. Again, Javan did great. Here he is as a cyclist:


A car driver:


And finally, as a walker:


That last picture is my favorite of the three. Let me tell you of its amazingness. If there ever were two boys who were so alike they did nothing but butt heads, it’s these two. We’ve spent plenty of park days together and they’re attracted to each other as playmates because they love all the same things. But they hardly ever play nicely. THIS moment took my breath away. Without any adult intervention, and in fact without any verbalization even to each other, they just…connected. There was no, “Hey, wanna be friends?” Or “Can I hold your hand?” They were just walking along and it happened. They each made a sweet friend. I loved it so much.

After Safety City, we did something we almost never do. We continued our day outside of home. Gasp! Usually it’s a “one and done” thing. Experience success and then get home before you ruin it! Well, instead we visited a small local private school where I was borrowing some materials to try out for next year. We made sure to arrive at lunchtime, and Javan played on the playground. Successfully! I mean, okay, maybe he didn’t understand that when you play chase, the purpose is not actually to catch someone. But, that’s just rules he didn’t know. He did fine!

And then, we still didn’t go home! We went to park day! Where there were more kids than usual because we were having a party. Did he do fantastic? Well, yes he did! He even played with the other kids! Not just played by himself and tolerated others being in his park, which is his typical MO. Now that’s  a good day!

So why am I saying that I’m not ok? Well, because that idea of success and especially of “progress” is an illusion. It seems to be a lie. Yes, there can be true, actual progress in certain specific areas…like cutting. Last year, I did all Javan’s cutting for him for two reasons. One, I couldn’t trust him not to stab me. And two, he hated the sound of cutting so much that he actually had to leave the room while I did it.Well, here’s a picture from last week:


Guess what? He’s cutting! He asked to do it on his own. And he did great. So, there is real, tangible, true progress. But the idea of “overall progress” is a lie for us. It’s setting myself up for disappointment. Because it doesn’t matter if he can cut if I can’t trust him with the scissors. And there will never come a time when I can, without a doubt, trust him. He’s back to hurting people. In a big way.

He spent the night with my mom Friday night. He was on her bed. At the foot of the bed, there is a walkway, and then on the wall is a dresser with a tv. She was putting in a DVD for him, when he kangaroo kicked her hard right in the hind end. Jumped up and kicked as hard as he could with both feet. Then scampered up to the head of the bed and said in disbelief, “I saw that.” Like he didn’t even do it. I’m so glad her face didn’t end up in the dresser and she didn’t go to the hospital.

We had to have a talk with our six year old son about how he’s growing so big, but his self-control isn’t growing. And how if he wants to be around people, he can’t hurt them. We had to talk with him about the severe consequences that will happen if he doesn’t stop. He won’t be allowed to be around people he loves. The police will get involved. People will be hurt. Hospital trips will happen. We had to implement a “safe place” rule where if he feels like hurting someone, he yells “safe place” and runs to a designated area(at home, his room) to be alone. Or if we see him looking like he wants to hurt someone we say”safe place” and he has to go, no arguments. Ya’ll, it sucks so much to talk with your baby about these things. And the worst part is, it isn’t the first time we’ve had to do it. And it won’t be the last.

Saturday night, we took Javan to his first monster truck show. We had to wait in the parking lot for a while before going in. I tried to keep him occupied with charades and copycat games. But he got bored. And angry at having to wait. So he picked up a fist-sized piece of asphalt/gravel mix (because Texas parking lots are just like that), and threw it full-force at a group of people passing by. We were so lucky that it passed six inches behind one head and six inches in front of the next. I’m sure the people were very unhappy that we didn’t tackle him and beat him on the spot.  We were six inches either way from our first experience with the things we just talked to him about: police, injuries, hospitals.

So, he might progress. In specific areas. But does it really matter? If I can’t keep him from hurting others? If I can’t keep him or anyone around him safe? Does it matter that he’s gaining social skills here and there, motor skills are being improved, sensory issues are gradually becoming tolerated, or academics are coming along? Because the only future I can see is the one where he messes up anyway. It’s only going to take one event. I don’t know what or when, but I know it will only take one bad day to render all our “progress” useless. And that’s the day when I have to send him to a safe place to live. I won’t be able to be that forever. How much longer do I have with my baby? How long will I be enough?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ruthie
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 19:55:53

    I was told once about my son, “You can’t hold him getting it right against him”. And it is true. He might do it “right” six times and then get it oh, so very wrong on the very next second. It doesn’t devalue the right times. It just means that he is still working it all out in his head. A toddler when, learning to walk, may take two good steps in a row and then fall on the third. He might take six steps and succeed in getting where he wants to. And the very next time out he may fall flat on his face on the very first try. It doesn’t make the previous steps any less “good” it just means he is still learning to walk. Javan is still learning to walk. And he will be learning for a very long time. Take the good steps and enjoy them. Grin and praise him, hug him, bounce him into the air. But also look at the falls and just falls and part of learning. You are a good Mom. You are doing a grand job! No one else can ever know just how hard a time you are having. They are not walking your walk. But I admire your perseverance and your courage. God has given you a wonder and he has trusted you to do your best with him. God has a plan. Don’t look too far ahead and worry over that. Work on here and now and leave tomorrow to God.
    LOVE Ruthie <



    • bipolaraspiemom
      Apr 28, 2013 @ 21:21:56

      Thanks Ruthie. Love you too!

      I don’t want to hold his “rights” against him. I just don’t want one “wrong” to steal him from me. But you’re right, I can’t try to look that far ahead. Today is all I’ve got.


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