Watching and waiting…can be pretty boring business

Look, I am not saying I’m not prone to unnecessary panic, but you have to admit that the unexplained bump on the head, the reports that J voluntarily and angrily banged his forehead against the wall, and the history of self-injury we’ve endured would make one…well…antsy.

So far, and -believe me- we’ve been very dedicated, we have seen NOTHING to indicate to us that J might be having behavioral issues again.  He seemed tired and bored on Friday evening, but with the gloomy weather and the change in seasons, I can’t help but wonder if -perhaps?- there’s some affective symbiosis at play here.  Instead of taking the tack that J might get angry and coddling him to prevent this, we decided to go along the normal course of action: NO means NO, there are only so many snacks in one day, and chores have to be completed.  We’ve faced a normal degree of resistance and protest on all counts…nothing to indicate that we might need to run back to the psychiatrist asking for help or medication.

I still don’t have any concrete answers from the school.  I still don’t know exactly what happened.  There isn’t, after all, any equivalent of a  Zapruder film that we can dissect frame-by-frame to determine what happened.  All we have, IF we have them at all, are eyewitness accounts, and they all seem pretty subjective to us.  In essence, the only ones agonizing about this incident are the parents of the person who came home with a bump on the head…and, acid reflux notwithstanding, no one seems to be rushing to clarify the events to us.

We are, in spite of our confidence in all the effort J has made, and all the progress he has achieved, alert to any changes and shifts in his mood or demeanor.  We can’t help it…we’re parents, for crying out loud!  We are doing our best to stay calm, cool and collected so that J doesn’t notice how anxious we are about the veil of mystery and confusion surrounding this incident.  We are hoping that, at one point sooner rather than later, someone will say “oh, by the way, from all that we have heard from all sources, THIS is what happened…”

In the meantime, we sit here and wait, calmly and observantly, until we figure out if J needs something more than what he’s getting (which is always a possibility, of course,) or if this was simply an isolated incident of anxiety triggered by a passing flicker of something.  Maybe, as I’ve pondered before, it was just gas…

The weekend was, predictably, part busy, part entertaining, part exhausting, part too short…  Dada is still working quite a bit, but has realized that he needs to slow down when we ask him to because we only ask him when he seems overwhelmed.  This has worked rather well…  We’re all trying to help each other figure out where to relieve the pressure when it’s getting to be too much.  That some of the pressure comes from unfamiliar stressors (like Dada’s sudden foray into workaholic behavior) and that others come from familiar stressors (like the fear of J relapsing into major behavioral issues makes this task daunting at times.  No one wants to see the balance of hearth and home shaken to the point where it’s all unrecognizable, or recognizable for all the wrong reasons…

We wait, then.  One eye is focused on the thing we are doing while the other eye is focused on what goes on around us.  In an effort to keep J occupied, yesterday I had him and TGG help assemble our lasagna for dinner.  One thing can be said for J (and this made him the future go-to guy for lasagna nights): he is generous with cheese.  There was artistry in how he layered the provolone, sprinkled the mozzarella and dispersed the ricotta-parmesan mix.  The general consensus is that I am no longer in charge of cheese-layering for anything.  J was very proud of this, especially since we made some lasagna rolls stuffed with cheese and without the meat sauce for him to have for dinner.  (Ground beef has become something he’d only eat if forced, and then he’ll spit it out forcefully…which tells me he really, REALLY doesn’t like it.)

Every afternoon we’re running together, doing chores; in the evenings we read books, look at picture books, and hang out.  Dada and TGG have promised that they are going to work on doing more of this when their schedules allow.  For the time being, I’m the main provider of entertainment and projects for J to get engaged in, and I find that I have to get very creative sometimes.  I have to make sure, in doing this, that I don’t go overboard and overcompensate because of whatever concerns I might have about J at any given time.  I don’t want to be so chirpy that he actually starts to wonder if there IS something wrong.

So, it’s a waiting game.  We wait for news from the school about the incident that is looming over us like the sword of Damocles; we wait for a sign from J that tells us if it’s an isolated incident or if we need to address changes in his behavior; we wait like the silly, overanxious people that we obviously are…

An answer from the school would go a long way to help us get over the part where we don’t know what to think…

I’m sure Jane Goodall’s observations result in more data than what we’re getting here, but…that’s the way it goes, isn’t it?



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