The lovely people at MFSACO have given me a discount. I think they know we’re in this for the long haul, or they think I run a small clinic in a small town. Either way, I intend to use that $5 discount for more bandaids…even though the frequency of use has diminished significantly over the past two weeks. We are down to, drumroll, TWO packages of bandaids a day. That is down to two from, oh, six? seven? a day… Progress.
The bump on J’s head is getting smaller, too. Slowly, of course, because he still hits his head though not as violently as before. It can still be pretty bad, but nowhere near as horrible as before. J now seems to be able to slow himself down, and when I point to the NO HITTING signs in his bedroom, bathroom and the kitchen, he is more aware of what I’m trying to tell him. He has, once more, started apologizing when he realizes that he’s upset me…even if I keep a calm exterior. Progress.
He gets up early, and he gets his bandaids from the closet. He starts the process of changing them out, and we hear no SIB, no fretting, no whimpering or yelping. He knows we know he’s up, and he waits because by now he’s sure one of us will come to his aid. He is patient when we do this. He no longer takes any delay (caused by older eyes that cannot see as well as they used to, or poor lighting that that doesn’t help matters, or the fact that we’ve just woken up and haven’t had coffee) as an excuse to go off into a self-harmful tirade. Progress.
Still, it is a process, and we’re working our way through it. There are ups and downs, and side-to-sides… We have running-in-place moments, but we make progress nonetheless. Progress is inevitable, even if it’s not in the shape or form that you wish it to be; regress is also inevitable, and we deal with that by circumventing the old way and reframing a new one.
The fact that we’re seeing more enthusiasm and involvement on J’s part is good. We can now call him to help with dinner and not be met with resistance. We can ask him for a walk, or company, and he’s not annoyed by our request. From time to time his tolerance for our company, presence, or desire for interaction is lower, but we understand that…it’s, we suppose, normal for a 21 year-old regardless of his other issues, to not want to be attached to mom and dad all the time. By the same token, it is also normal for mom and dad to not be perpetually in a frame of mind that is all about “the kid.”
The weather isn’t being kind today either. It’s moody. We are, once more, not working on decorating the outside of our townhouse for Christmas on this dreary day, but we have lined everything up for when it’s the right time. In the meantime, the Christmas tree forest grows. Seeing the evolution of his TV room into some sort of mini Winter Wonderland has inspired J to tidy everything up. He did a thorough job of vacuuming, and we shifted the cushions on his couch and tucked the slipcover into place properly.
A couple of Christmases ago J went on an outing with his aides at school, and he brought home a Disney Fairies pillow from the Dollar Store. I was surprised…not because it was Disney Fairies pillow, but because -until that moment- I was unaware that Tinkerbell has a social circle outside of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, but goes to show how the world still spins when I’m not paying attention. This pillow is J’s pride and joy. By that I mean that he has it in pride of place on his TV room couch, and he sits on it. (Whatever notions of Monty Python‘s Sit On My Face are being worked into that image, I seriously doubt that it has crossed J’s mind. The only Monty Python song he frequently plays on his iTunes is Always Look On the Bright Side of Life…a more fitting anthem to the goings-on around here, I would say.)
We had noticed that the Disney Fairies pillow was looking deflated. (I’m being generous…it looked as flat as a pancake at times, and lumpy as bad gravy at others.) In the spirit of Holiday Preparation, I disassembled it today, removed the original filling, and replaced it with an old pillow. Yes, I had an old pillow handy. And by old pillow I mean “a pillow that briefly met with J’s approval, but soon fell out of favor for sleeping purposes due to reasons unknown to us but logical enough for J to warrant parking outside his door as a result of irreversible banishment from his bedroom.” I don’t toss these things. If it cost more than five dollars and didn’t come from the back-to-school or your-relatives-are-descending-on-you-for-Thanksgiving sale, I keep these pillows packed in plastic. Yes, I have a lot of pillows. When a heavy-use pillow kicks the bucket (or when someone has the flu or a bad stomach bug) I replace it with a pillow from the Pillow Bounty. Today I dissected the Tinkerbell and her Girl Squad pillow, and replaced the contents with a clean, newish, serviceable pillow from that stash. J, feigning ennui and failing miserably, received the pillow once it was done. He kicked me out of the room (after I insisted on being shown some measly amount of gratitude,) and I could hear him giggling as he, once more, unceremoniously went back to the job of flattening the pillow over the course of a couple of years. (No worries, as I mentioned, we’re covered for refills.)
We make progress. Of sorts. We will, at one point or another, stop hitting walls as frequently as we have been, and -on the plus side- that has already started to happen. The walls are a little farther from each other, and we are learning the way and understanding the fine art of anticipating tight corners. Progress. On all fronts…and backs…and maybe on the sides, too…