Mamma would buy you a mockingbird, but they’re not recommended for toothaches…

This morning we sent J to school with A LITTLE PAIN and some Children’s Tylenol.  The molars have reared their ugly heads once more, but -in their defense- they were subjected to a weekend of reckless abandon.  Or as close to reckless abandon as J can get now that he knows there are types of food that cause pain when he overworks his poor, battered molars.  We have a week to go, and the pained look on his handsome face is making us wish we could take care of this sooner.  When will the test of our mettle in terms of dental problems end?  We have no idea, but we would love to see the light at the end of the tunnel sooner rather than later.

All in all all is well…we can’t expect much more than what is going on right now.  Trying to reason with J when it comes to food can be a difficult task, but he has learned to self-regulate a lot better than we expected.  Our wish, of course, would be that he self-regulates based on a desire to not gain more weight (which he has finished doing for the winter, thank goodness) rather than on the notion that eating hurts his mouth.  Stubborn as he is (and we REALLY have NO idea WHERE he could have gotten the stubborn gene…of…course….ahem,) he will continue to make every valiant, gallant, pig-headed attempt possible to eat what he shouldn’t, but he has put aside the more obvious pain-inducing requests.  There is no way, you understand, that he will ADMIT they cause him pain and he is giving in because of this; J will act as if he’s being magnanimous towards us, as if he’s given us a token of his respect in not asking for peanut brittle, Laffy Taffy, popcorn, pizza and such.  The treasure trove of forbidden candy sits untouched in the cupboard, the subject of sighing and loving glances that scream of unrequited love.

The worst part of all this is that he’s not his usual self.  He’s not even angry and throwing tantrums; J’s just miserable right now, and seeing him like that is so difficult!  I’m losing sleep, yet that is not the problem.  I’m stressed out, and that is not the problem either.  I feel tired and anxious, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s bothering me…seeing J with his sad eyes and his very quiet demeanor is just, well, heart-smooshing.  That I cannot sit him on my lap and rock him back and forth in a soothing manner is even sadder for me…

I admit that I found running my fingers through the kids’ hair and sitting them on my lap for a hug and a good cry quite comforting.  I didn’t kiss boo-boos…I always told them that soap and water were necessary to make the boo-boo better and the kissing would come later, when the first-aid part of the incident had been properly addressed.  When I sat on the rocking chair, though, there wasn’t a song request I wouldn’t happily satisfy if it made them feel better.  Once, when TGG was in the hospital with pneumonia (during his only-child days,) I sat up all night performing every single Disney song he requested; although I tried to keep quiet, I expected the mom who had a kid in the bed next to TGG’s to complain.  At one point, when I stopped singing, the kid whispered to his mom that he wanted “the one about the magic carpet from Aladdin.”   Through the curtain I heard a soft “would you mind?  Please?”  The next morning she told me that she had to learn more songs…The Wheels On the Bus is not a very soothing melody, her son had told her.

These days things are slightly different.  TGG’s heart and ego get bruised more often than his knees or lungs; he doesn’t want to hear ME singing…he’d rather listen to John Mayer’s or Ryan Adams’ heartbreak anthems…or he goes for something loud and cacophonous that will reflect in sound what he’s feeling (bashing something fragile with a baseball bat.)  When J is sad, I am faced with a 250+ pound baby who doesn’t know if he wants me to hug him, rub his back, sing, shut up, be in the room, leave the room…and I cannot be soothed if I’m not soothing.  Helplessness is by far more toxic to the mother’s soul than the potential embarrassment of being overheard singing or being crushed under the weight of their adult autistic “child.”  I’d take the pain on the legs any day over not being able to help him feel a little better…just a little…

So this is where we are.  J is sitting on the couch watching cartoons while doing his best imitation of Droopy Dog…his eyes hang like Droopy’s, he is reclining on pillows and looks at me like I could never ever understand why he is so miserable, but he appreciates the mild attempts at offering the consolation of an ice pack, Tylenol, a blanket, a shoulder rub, a new Rasta hat (I actually got a smile with that offer) and fish kisses that he welcomes, but which do little to alleviate his discomfort. I want him to feel better so badly that I actually made another batch of home-made gnocchi for him to have for dinner tonight because he seemed to enjoy them last night.  They are soft, velvet-like, and they will melt in his mouth very quickly, even with the melted Parmesan cheese.

One whole week.  By this time next Monday, J will have passed through another ordeal at the dental office.  I know the last one wasn’t bad, and I’m not trying to hyperbolize that experience, but…I would much rather not have him go through another so soon after.  I would rather not have him accepting the dentist’s ministration to heal pain, but rather to maintain that beautiful smile that I see all too seldom these days…



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