Friday, November 12, 2010

New Territory

Yesterday was a busy busy busy day full of talk and amazement and wonder — exactly what you'd expect when one discovers new territory, but still, it seems so surprising. It's as if we just stumbled upon it even though this is exactly what we've been striving for, for so hard and for so long.

It began with a neighbor stopping by the house after school drop off to report C.S. was in tears about a missing folder this morning and a book order. This prompted an email exchange with his classroom teacher. At 10 a.m., his Special Ed. teacher called to discuss another melt down at music class and the others on the two days before. I think we must have been on the phone for 2 hours, probably less, but still we couldn't exhaust the topic. We planned to set up a phone conference with his whole team sometime next week. After school we drove straight to his med manager and once again, as we spoke, I can't help but share all the amazing changes we've all been noticing. She was amazed. Her reaction was even more encouraging. From there we raced to Special Needs Karate (C.S. caught a cat nap in the car, much needed. His days have become, among other things, noticeably exhausting) and finally to his parent/teacher conference. His Special Ed teacher joined his classroom teacher and once again we shared story after story of difficult moments, tears, challenges but also how surprisingly well he is managing them. That he is able to recognize what is going wrong, tell others what is upsetting to him and attempt strategies to manage his problems is all good. Its all hard, but its all so good. And so that night, I of course spent another hour on the phone relaying all of this to his father who is, unfortunately, traveling. Whew, it was a long day, but it seemed I could not tire from talking, not with this topic.

If I could sum it all up, all the many things those of us who know C.S. are all noticing it is the many words that apply not to facts and video levels, but thoughts, that have been shared. That he has quiet moments now, that his can explore and savor. He has new desires, they may bring about new feelings such as loneliness, but hey! He has new awareness and self-reflection that has C.S. experiencing the weight of responsibility, but hey! Its been exciting. It seems so sudden. But it isn't. This is my little guy and its all been there filtered from view by his full array of spectrum challenges. To think of all that this tiny dose has revealed. Looking back, as I realize now how reluctant I was to try medication, I'm just a little bit sad. But it is all part of the process.

In all of the day's shared realizations, exchanges and anecodotes, perhaps the must telling are C.S.'s own words. His responses to questions from the most wonderful psychiatrist who is his med manager (MM):

MM: So, how do you feel? What do you think your medicine does for you?

CS: You mean the little blue pill?

MM: Yes.

CS: (pause – which in the middle of a path of touching every colorful toy and object in her office, was quite noticeable) It boosts my happiness.

MM: And if there was anything more you would want it to do for you, what would it be?

CS: To make me calmer.

MM: Are you calmer now?

CS: Yes.

MM: And you want more? To be more calm?

CS: Well, no. No thank you. I think its fine the way it is.

And then he resumed his tactile tour of the many objects in the room.

Silver Lining: Forging ahead is hard. When you enter into new territory, that day can be a very difficult day, full of overwhelming discoveries and ground that simply needs breaking. And the next day, and the next... But it is so exciting all the same. I hope my 8 year old sweetie can withstand the trials he faces. But I know he has lots of support now. He's not alone. We're all here, we're all watching. It is his steps we are following — and I am so amazed at his progress. These days have been full of unusually happy moments and plenty of difficulties — but every last second of it is wonderful because so much of it is new and exciting.

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