The litmus test for summer…

J is off to school and, hopefully, he is as happy there as he was when he woke up this morning.  I sent him with a note that reads: SPRAINED THUMB; NOT SERIOUS; WILL FUSS OVER VELCRO…

J has been generally happy.  We haven’t really had a tantrum since we figured out that, yes, his thumb was bothering him, and the doctor addressed it with the wrist stabilizer.  He did get fussy a couple of days ago, but it was easily solved with additional cuddling and attention, and firmness of hand when he attempted to act like a survivor of the Blitz.

The doctor’s response to Dada’s e-mail basically told us what I have been thinking all along: yes, we can increase the med, but we need to seriously consider if we’re willing to go back and forth on this.  Perhaps, he mused, it’s not the right time for a reduced dose, but perhaps we just need to ride it out.  In the long term, J’s body will be affected in different ways by taking the med, just like he will be affected by NOT taking the med, and it’s just a question of which one we want to try first.

The psych expressed his confidence in us as caregivers, and that, my friends, made me realize that we don’t suck as much as I sometimes think we do.  There are times when I am pretty sure that I’ve botched the entire day, and Dada has admitted that he feels at a loss once in a while.  Caring for J is not easy.  Please don’t take this the wrong way, but there are days when I understand our cats better than I do our son…I’m not comparing him to an animal, but he IS inscrutable in ways that I’ve only been able to compare with our resident felines.

One of the most difficult things to get used to when you’re raising an individual in the Spectrum is the progression/regression dance.  You want to think that this next thing they’re learning is going to stick forever, and sometimes it doesn’t.  It’s hard not to take it, initially at least, as a personal failure.  We all want to believe that we will be the next great story on Autism, that we will raise a child who will rise above and move forward, and blaze a trail for everyone.  Even when we pretty much know -because we’ve been doing this for a very long time- that we’re just fighting the same exact battle as everyone else with the same mixed results that are par for the course, we feel deflated and less-than when we realize it…again.

I firmly believe that J just needs time and patience (as much from us as his own) to make it through this latest rough patch.  It’s got to be rough for him.  It’s got to be a constant wondering why he has to be the one who acquiesces and goes along with our attempts to make things better.  I’m sure somewhere in his head he hears his own voice saying “ah, more PECS!  Yes, let’s throw more PECS at this, woman!”  I don’t really want to go all Jerry Maguire on him, and I would hate if he turned around and earnestly said “you had me at PECS!”  I’d rather we do the back and forth thing, especially if we can forgo the SIB when it’s not going so well.

***

To quote Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky: O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

The J that left for school happy returned from school happy, and did beautifully while there.  I was so happy about this piece of news that I may have whimpered with relief in front of the bus driver and aide.  I DID kiss J rather noisily and hugged him very tightly while he giggled.  He was very proud of himself for behaving, and I made sure he got all the kudos he deserved and then some.

Since he got home he’s been happy, and asking for his bus song.  I don’t mind repeating it because I can tell that not going to school was wearing on him these past few weeks.  I do this knowing that next year the bus song will be a thing of the past, and we’ll be back to dealing with an anxious person who doesn’t quite know what to do with himself.

And, therefore, I’ve made yet another decision that I dread.  I hate driving.  I don’t have a license.  I am the biggest scaredy-cat on the face of the roads of America.  I’m going to get my driver’s license.

Don’t worry…this is not happening today or tomorrow.  And I’m not driving just for the heck of it.  I’m driving so I can get J places, and with a purpose.  I was not one of those teenage girls who couldn’t wait to get a license, and I’m only getting a license because of J.  I seriously doubt that at the ripe old age of 50 my personal anthem will become The Beach Boys’ Fun, Fun, Fun or Little Old Lady from Pasadena.  I think it isn’t an exaggeration to predict that whatever car I am driving will have the CAREFUL NERVOUS MOTHER DRIVING sign from The Partridge Family fame.

A middle-aged mother’s gotta do…I am not thrilled, but I am bound and determined.  Dada is on board, and petrified.  It’s not that I haven’t driven before, or that I don’t have the skills for it, but I am not as brave as you might expect me to be.  In fact, I’m downright cowardly when it comes to manning a wheel and moving a vehicle.  We are hoping that, with a lot of practice, this will be a thing of the past…or, at least, a smaller issue.  Since I have absolutely no intention to drive on the freeway, drive during rush hour, drive in snow or ice, and very possibly skip the rainy days too, I will (hopefully) be ok.

So…there you have it.  Good day for J.  Good day for everyone.  Monday is in the books…on to Tuesday, then.