Seventeen degrees this morning. The high should (SHOULD being the operative word) reach 39; I’m not holding my breath for that because the other day we were supposed to have a similar pattern and it didn’t pan out. Yesterday morning, as we packed the recyclables into the car, we realized that a) it was snowing, b) the wind was blowing with a certain unexpected chill in it, and c) it was downright you-need-gloves-a-scarf-a-hat-are-you-wearing-only-a-sweater cold. Recyclables dispensed with, we rushed home to make tea, and stayed indoors the rest of the day until J went to the gym with TGG.
It is the Monday of Spring Break, and we have our appointment with the psychiatrist this afternoon. After sitting through his first IEP ever (I forgot to check off the box that said he didn’t have to be there,) J was none the worse for wear. He needed a timer to remind him that this meeting had a finite time allotted, but he actually did very well for the hour and fifteen minutes it lasted. He did this, mind you, without his hats.
When Dada walked into the conference room J had a brief moment of anxiety. I’m sure he wondered if he was in trouble (parents and administrators and teachers in a confined space have that vibe about them,) or if we were trying to build a smoke screen to disguise a trip to the doctor. Once we clarified that we were there to talk “about school,” J relaxed with the help of his iTunes and headphones. He wasn’t so distracted from our purpose that he didn’t react when the Speech Pathologist said “sometimes I wonder if he’s just giving me the run-around.” This elicited a look that clearly stated “who??? Me???” and made everyone in the room laugh.
We finished our meeting just in the nick of time, and managed to beat the traffic of school buses, parents and students with vehicles trying to exit the parking lot at the same time on a Friday afternoon. This was shortly before 2:25 in the afternoon, and we didn’t actually make it back home until almost 5:15. By the time we sat down to eat the pizzas we grabbed on the way home (I wore heels and grown-up clothes, people, and sat through a meeting and did the shopping…I wasn’t going to cook,) we realized that J had been without hats since before one o’clock, and that he wasn’t going to put them on until he was done with his dinner.
That, my friends, is what I’m taking to the psychiatrist this afternoon. J can adapt to more situations now with greater ease than he ever had before. J is very self-aware, and requests his band-aids to remind himself of what hitting his head can do. J has accepted changes to his diet with a positive attitude. J doesn’t fret about things that would have pushed him over the edge because they don’t fall into a pattern that is comfortable for him. J, in fact, has known since Saturday morning (when we updated his schedule for the week to reflect Spring Break) that he is going to see the psychiatrist today; the only hesitation he has shown has been brief, and easily managed by reminding him that “this is the talking doctor; they will check your blood pressure and your weight, and then we’ll just talk for a bit and come home.” With that, and just a few repetitions of it, he has accepted that it’s part of today’s schedule.
I think we’re ready to cut another .25 mg from his daily dose of medication. Dada agrees. J’s teacher, who deals with his ups and downs in a totally different environment, agrees with us. In spite of the SIB J displayed at different times through winter, we are fairly sure that he has more control of his emotions now, that he is starting to understand that he CAN exert restraint, even if he doesn’t succeed 100% of the time. In support of J’s newfound but still iffy self-control, I’m not successful 100% of the time either.
We don’t expect miracles. I think, if we’re lucky, we experience a dramatic development that results from what at times appears to be pointless efforts on everyone’s part. We don’t think things are sinking in, or that they won’t take root in J’s mind, but then they do. It’s not that we don’t believe J is capable of learning the many layers of things we try to teach him, but rather that we don’t know for sure that we’re going about it in the right way. Learning by rote CAN be difficult, especially when there is much to learn; actually comprehending what is being repeated almost to satiety is even more difficult. There has to be, as it were, a light switch that goes off in J’s head, when it all makes sense and he can connect all the many, widely scattered dots that we’re drawing for him.
This weekend we looked at rocking chairs for the patio. J liked one made of teak that we saw at the big box store where we are members. It is a nice, sturdy chair, and he was comfortable and happy in it; we will get it for him in a couple of weeks, when we’re a little more certain (weather-wise) that he will enjoy sitting outside. We also found a nice little indoor/outdoor rug for his patio area, and this week we will be working on starting seeds for the garden. While the weather may not cooperate, we’re not letting this stop us from planning for summer.
Little by little we make progress. Yes, once in a while, we take a step back, or we stop, or take a bumpy shortcut, but we’re making progress. A school principal once balked at our statement that we knew J would never be a rocket scientist, taking this as a statement of our lack of faith in J’s intelligence. We have very little doubt that J is very intelligent, or that he has trouble accessing the stores of knowledge he possesses through traditional means. Our main concern, because J has challenges that make his progress a little more difficult than one would want, is that he will make progress…period. So while J may never be a rocket scientist, we do work on making him as independently capable in as many aspects of his life as we can. Like the transition from Winter to Spring, this is taking time, and a rather circuitous route, but we’ll get there…wherever “there” is…eventually…
Now to make this new med reduction work…