More Good Days Than Bad

It’s been a week since I’ve let you all know how we’re doing, so before I go into the details of our days I’d like to give you a happy phrase to sum them up:

More good days than bad!

Yay!!! The bad days might be there, but the good days have ’em beat for now! I’m trying to create as stress-free and pressure-free environment as possible. We’re doing no schoolwork or formal learning and we’re staying home or in other relaxed environment as much as possible and avoiding the public. I know that’s not a sustainable life for him or any of us, but for right now it feels like the best thing to do.

Our schedule in the mornings is so relaxed that I almost feel ridiculous using the word schedule. We watch tv, eat breakfast, take meds, do hygiene (which is brushing teeth and putting on deodorant, which is hilarious because he swears it tickles him to put on deodorant even when he does it himself and he giggles the whole time), toy time (we play on the floor together), active time (indoors or outdoors, but I try to encourage outdoors), book time (me reading to him), doggy time (playing toys, brushing, or just loving), sensory play time (sand, water, play dough, etc), and lunch. After lunch is rest time where he will watch tv for thirty minutes to an hour while mom rests on the couch. Afternoons are either a sort of repeat of what we did in the morning, or if he had a really good morning we might try to go out somewhere like to a park or play place, maybe even meet a friend or relative. Behavioral difficulties tend to arise more in the afternoons or when we have to leave the house for an appointment of some sort.

Like taking our darned cat, Adso, to the vet. Adso is a sweet, loving, cuddly cat…for about half an hour a day. The rest of the day she spends on her own and you’d better not try to touch her or she’ll claw your face off. Well, if you’re an adult anyway. Somehow she knows Javan is different. She will let him do whatever he wants with her, and she won’t like it, but she won’t lay a claw on him. What she will do is pee on everything. The laundry pile, the couch, the crash pad, blankets, towels, you get it…everything. I ran into one of our vet’s assistants a while back and she mentioned that Adso could have a urinary tract infection. She was due for shots anyway, so I took her to the vet. I knew this would be a trigger for Javan’s anxiety and aggression. It always is. But it had to be done.

Javan helped me load Adso up into the kitty carrier and insisted he be the one to carry her. He never put the carrier down the whole way there. He did okay in the lobby, distracted with the other pets, and he only growled at one man. But as soon as they asked us to bring Adso back, he started in. “What are you gonna do to her!?” he demanded angrily while hunched protectively over her carrier. They said they were just going to take her back to the lab to make sure her tt was healthy. He wanted to stay with her, but I kept him in the exam room until they got done with her. He verbalized to me that he was feeling really nervous. I tried to calm him by talking about and looking at the interesting, albeit completely disgusting, posters and models of pets’ hearts, lungs, and teeth in various states of health. He couldn’t handle his anxiety any longer and ran out of the exam room, out of the front room, and out to our car.

I’m so thankful that the ladies up there know us, know him, respect his limits and needs. I just told them as I walked out that we’d be in the car and they were fine with coming to get me when she was all done. We listened to the radio and watched the pets going in and out, and then one of the ladies told me the vet was ready to talk to me about Adso. She asked if I wanted to come in to talk to the vet or if I’d rather have him come out to us. They are truly wonderful at caring for us. I didn’t want to ask a doctor to leave his office to talk to me in my car, so we went in. Big mistake.

We went back to the exam room where Adso waited in her kitty carrier, which she had peed in. Nothing was wrong with her urine. As suspected, she’s just a brat. He talked with me about options to help that issue, about spaying, and possible declawing. Yes I know declawing is horrible, but we’re considering it anyway due to torn arms and furniture. We discussed these options as quickly as possible, but Javan was going ballistic the entire time. He was going after the vet, swinging and kicking at him. I was blocking and holding him the whole time, looking over his head to maintain eye contact with the vet. What a way to have a conversation.

I allowed Javan to head out to the car with Adso while I paid. The vet’s wife, who is also his receptionist, kept watch out the door the whole time and kept telling me he was doing fine. I would have known anyways since I and everyone else inside could hear him laughing maniacally while pounding the horn repeatedly. As I left I apologized for the hundredth time for his behaviors and they hugged me and said they understand and not to worry and they love us. I am just so thankful when I find a safe place like that vet’s office in such a big, unsafe world. If we ever move, I would drive hours just to keep them.

After the vet, we came home to prepare some Thanksgiving dishes for the following day. I had purposefully chosen dishes I knew Javan could help me make. We don’t have a great track record with cooking together, but I thought I’d give it a shot. He loves mixing things, so I chose dishes that require tons of dumping and mixing. I chose my biggest bowl, much bigger than we needed, so he’d be able to stir really big and strong without making a mess. He did not want to help, but by golly I had my mind made up he was gonna. And he actually turned out to really enjoy it! He mixed his little heart out until his arm got sore and then I told him he’d done good and had earned his Thanksgiving meal.

I knew going over to have Thanksgiving with the big family would be a lot of stress for him and I was hoping being able to take pride in his contribution to the meal would help. He still had a very hard time there and hardly ate anything…except the dishes he had helped to make. He wasn’t kind and loving at the family gathering and he didn’t stay long. My mother, Saint that she is, takes him to her house every year when he reaches his limit so that my husband and I can enjoy time with his family. He spent the night at Grammy’s,  his all-time favorite thing ever.

The next day my brother and sister-in-law and their precious three year old daughter would be coming to our house for a second Thanksgiving and my mom and Javan would join us then. My brother and I talked on the phone that night discussing plans A,B, and C so we’d have the greatest chances of a successful visit. I love that he wanted to do that, knew that we needed to do that, knew that it might be a disaster, and was willing to try anyway. We’d been preparing Javan for weeks for this day and he was not happy about seeing his baby cousin Addison. He always convinces himself that she’s a baby and will slobber all over his toys. She’s not, of course. In fact, she acts very mature for her age. We were not expecting this visit to go well. At all.

But. It. DID. Oh, it went SO well. He had his moments of needing to be reminded about being gentle and giving personal space and he got sent to time out a few times in his room. But all-in-all, I was amazed at how great he did with Addison. With very few exceptions, she tends to bring out the best in him once they’re actually together. Once he got over his initial bristliness, he was even quite loving. He put his arm around her on the couch as they enjoyed a tv show together. He cuddled and played with Uncle CJ and Aunt Jessica. He didn’t love sharing his toys with Addi, but he did it. He even willingly shared a game of crash ball, where he and Addi would take turns running toward my husband who was sitting on the couch holding a huge hop ball that they’d crash full-body into. Javan and Addi took turns perfectly and Javan never expressed any jealousy over her interacting with his Daddy that way. They were able to stay for THREE AND A HALF HOURS! Javan finally maxed out on his ability to handle the crowd and he was getting irritable and Addi was getting tired. He did not want them to leave and had a very hard time saying goodbye and letting them go. He had a pretty intense meltdown, but even that only lasted ten minutes.

We have a few days of family down time now before the week starts up again. We probably won’t do anything more exciting than a trip to the dollar store for necessities. I may even declare tomorrow mandatory pajama day. Next week starts up in full-force. Monday evening, Rosco’s trainer from MADE in Texas will visit and we’ll need to complete his yearly public access training. That will require a trip to a restaurant and store. Tuesday, Javan resumes evaluations at the school. The rest of the week should bring more rest and down time.

If we have more bad days in the meantime, I’ll just try to remind myself that it’s ok. At least were having more good days than bad.

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