A spark of light

The plot thickens….

So, after beating myself up and going over and over what I’ve already done for Colt to make his life easier than it currently is at school, I finally arrived at a place where I realized I needed more facts before condemning myself to the role of ‘rotten mother’. I called the school and spoke with the learning support teacher (she’s been a part of Colt’s schooling since day one). I asked her to give me the run down on Colt’s relationship with this Nathan kid he constantly talks about and the one he scrapped with earlier this week on the playground. What I learned was interesting.

First, Nathan is in grade 8. Colt is in grade 5. The LST told me that Colt’s been wandering over to the grade 8 population, choosing to hang out with them over the kids in his own class, his own age. The kids he’s with have known him since day one and the whole class is so caring and accommodating that Colt has a bit of a sheltered bubble with them. For whatever reason, he wants to hang with the older kids.

She told me that, given a choice, Nathan would not be the kid she would like to see Colt hanging out with. So, in not so many words, he’s not a good influence, which is possibly where some of Colt’s “tough guy” attitude is coming from. She also told me that many of them are being very kind to Colt, giving him jobs to do so he can be involved with their game without him ruining it by not following the rules and trying to make it exactly as he wants it to be, but, that kindness is encouraging him to keep coming back which kids like Nathan are not so happy about.

The story is that Colt wanted to play volleyball with them. Nathan didn’t want him messing up the game so he told Colt to leave them alone. Colt got offended and kicked dirt at Nathan and, after some name calling and escalation, he tried to actually kick him. Nathan grabbed Colt’s foot and pulled, taking him to his seat, hard on the ground. Thank heavens Nathan didn’t sock him right between the eyes….the SLT told me that Nathan has no patience for Colt at all.

Colt was sent to the office and was kept in for the next break and Nathan was spoken to several times, along with a letter that was sent home to his parents explaining the situation. The LST doesn’t think it’s having much effect, but they are diligently following up to ensure something bad doesn’t happen. She, and other’s are going outside to keep an eye on things and when Colt gravitates to the “cool kids” in grade 8, they interfere and redirect him, keeping the older kids in the loop so they understand. I hate that Colt is an annoyance to them but I don’t expect much else from 12 year old kids….I mean, they’re just kids right?

Anyway, that’s the scoop. Colt seems to think Nathan is the coolest thing to walk the earth and he’s trying to hang out with him, completely not seeing the cues he should be seeing because that language is too subtle for my boy. He doesn’t want to play with his peers because they are into playing games with too many rules, talking about hobbies with too much information and hanging out doing nothing, which Colt cannot stand to do; he needs to be engaged almost all of the time. It breaks my heart but is a life lesson that he will eventually have to learn. I’d rather it be in a somewhat controlled environment over say, high school, but it still hurts to know.

I had some good chats with Colt last night, dropping info here and there without being too direct. I told him I understood that he wasn’t just randomly socking kids as he walked down the hall and that his dad and I were sorry for assuming that was the case. He looked relieved but wouldn’t comment much. That’s typical Colt right there.

The roller coaster drops down a hill with a lurch in my gut and now we ride on an even keel again, until tomorrow. It’s not easy, this parenthood business, disabled kid or not. I feel like I go from “omg my kid is going to turn out to be a bully and a jerk!” to “what a sensitive, smart, sweet and kind boy I have” constantly. It’s exhausting. Like the rest of life, I suppose.

Fail

You know…I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

Yesterday the school called. Colt was out on recess and he got into a spat with a kid; he ended up kicking him and throwing stones at him….I just let out a huge sigh when I heard and didn’t even know what to say to Colt. I mean, I understand his stress is huge and that he’s struggling not only cognitively but (even more so) socially. I know it’s all very tedious and often stressful for him and I know he has almost no impulse control. Mixed with his father’s quick temper it’s a bit of a nightmare for him, I know, I know, I know. But. What do I do when nothing seems to stop him? We have taken everything away from him, toys, electronic stuff he loves to lose himself in, extra time at bedtime. We’ve made him do laundry, weed the garden and clean the floors….I’ve made him do lines, write letters and he’s been grounded and punished, yelled at, reasoned with, begged to comply….he just won’t concede. He’s stubborn as a mule (that would be a quality of mine that I’m regretting passing down) and, at the end of the day, he just doesn’t care. That, right there, is the biggest issue of all.

Most people who are autistic have trouble feeling empathy for others, or cannot seem to envision themselves in someone else’s shoes. Colt is very much affected by this and although he does display certain elements of empathy (cries when I cry, gets overwhelmed when someone gets really upset) he doesn’t really have that moral guide we mostly carry with us. He can hit someone and not even realize that he might hurt them or, that if he does hurt them he doesn’t realize the consequences. If it is HIM who gets hurt it’s a whole different story so we try, hard, to align that feeling inside him with the way other people feel when he hurts them. Tough thing to teach someone, let me tell you.

Last night we sat down as a family and talked about what was going on. Colt sat there, blinking with exaggerated patience while Dayne talked in circles. It was annoyance that read on his face, not fear or worry … he made it clear that he was tolerating the lecture but wasn’t really feeling it. That freaking terrifies me. Right now, he’s a ten year old boy who is trying to grow up and we’re trying to help him do it well, but I see a dim future ahead if we can’t get him to stop shoving kids around.

The issue, I think, is social. Kids don’t want to play with him anymore. He’s unpredictable, he’s swearing, he hits and freaks out when things don’t go his way (is that it or is he just frustrated??? It’s so horribly frustrating not to know and for him not to be able to tell us). Anyway, I think they’re telling him to go away now which, understandably, would hurt his feelings.

….I’m remembering back to the late summer when he curled up beside me on the couch and told me that some people don’t like him at school and that’s why he was swearing so much last year. Is it that he CAN communicate it but doesn’t want to? Why in the world would he not trust me? Does it embarrass him? He doesn’t seem embarrassed or hurt, he doesn’t cry about it, he’s not angry or upset…. God. When he was tiny and all he could do was scream all the time, I though that things would be so much easier when he could communicate his needs/wants/hurts to us. I was so wrong. This is way, way harder.

So the school needs a way to punish him since their usual methods are no longer working. I won’t tell them that our methods aren’t working either but they’re kind of not. We can threaten to sell his ipad and he takes us seriously, but the second we don’t do it the whole thing becomes meaningless. Can I really take away his one break time thing that helps him calm? Can I take away the only thing he engages in for his own pleasure? The kid has so little….

I’ve tried guilt (“you’re breaking my heart with this behaviour Colt – you’re such a nice guy…why are you treating people so badly?”). It doesn’t stick. We’ve tried anger, but it just gives Colt a new and improved model for being a dick to his peers and teachers. We tried threatening the worst punishment ever and the fucking school called the CAS on us because he was hysterical about getting in trouble one day.

So. Every day he wakes up and says he hates school. Every day (ish, now) I get a call from a teacher, principal or support worker who tells me that Colt isn’t doing his work, following rules, hell…they can’t even get him to apologize anymore. Every afternoon I pick up a sullen kid who lies, flat out, about his behaviour that day and doesn’t even care if I call him out on it.

“Love, why did you hit that kid?” I’ll ask gently.

“I dunno” is the usual answer.

“Is he making you angry?”

“Yes, he’s a big bully and he bullies me all the time!” he supplies.

“Colt, honey, is that the truth or a lie?”

“It’s the truth!”

“Honest? Remember the last time you said that someone was bullying you and it was really a lie? Mom felt stupid telling everyone he was picking on you when it was just a story.” I try.

“Okay mom. It was a lie. He’s not bullying me.”

Is THAT a lie? Is he telling the truth? I don’t know anymore. Sometimes he’ll say something is his fault that is not, in any way, his fault. Sometimes he tells me that people hit him at school and it’s bullshit.

I feel sick. Back to payroll, I guess. Keep my brain going until I can sleep again. I feel like such a rotten mother. I know I had a terrible example but for the amount of love and effort I kind of expected a bit more payoff.

*tears at work. Not good*.

Pack-rat family and what made me smile all weekend long!

I am not a materialistic person. I think it started pretty much from day one because I never really had anything of my own to get attached to…well, plus the whole attachment disorder deal. I didn’t really realize, until recently, that the disorder could affect my attachment to things as well as people. Of course it would apply though… So, thanks to that and other life circumstances, I am the opposite of a pack-rat. I used to hoard clothes from second hand stores … would come home with bags and bags of used clothing that I almost never wore. Of course, I was stick-thin then and just about anything fit me provided it was size small. I think that was just the novelty of having a lot to choose from, back then. Thinking back it wasn’t too long after I got off the streets that I started with the over buying of cheap clothing so it was the bag-lady affect, likely. When you don’t have much you tend to cling to what you can right? But back to the opposite of hoarding; I am one who will throw something away the moment no one is looking, if I don’t think we need it. I almost always have something in my trunk to drop off at a used clothing bin or charity establishment and when I don’t I start to panic a little, thinking about stuff clogging up my space at home.

Dayne is a pack-rat supreme. So is Colt. The two of them collect the weirdest things, just to have them. Dayne collects bits of computers, tools, fastening devices, keys, bottles, cords, cables and junk. Colt has bits of plastic, broken toys, cars missing wheels, lego bits and puzzles that belong to sets long since merged in with the rest of his pile, never to be together again. If there is a bin, bucket, canvas bag, or Tupperware container somewhere in my house, it will soon be filled to the brim with little bits of junk treasured by my men. I’ll put a dish on the microwave to collect Dayne’s pocket fulls of bits and within two days it’s full to overflowing. He keeps grocery receipts along with business cards, little metal fasteners and zip ties, lighters, McDonald monopoly tabs…..you name it and you can likely find it on top of my microwave. I’ll spend a weekend reorganizing all of Colt’s toys, legos, games (and game pieces scattered throughout), transformers (with their heads, limbs and accouterments missing randomly), cars….everything. I’ll sort them all in bins so he can find what he’s looking for and within three days it’s all undone. Any bins I’ve emptied for future use will be full of junk, paper, instruction booklets that belong to nothing, DVD covers, books with missing pages …just an endless supply of ‘stuff’.

Colt is a kid so I forgive him for his mess but Dayne….he gets a bit of attitude from me over the piles of junk he can’t seem to help collecting; especially when the mass starts to accumulate in common areas like the corner of the living room. He will put a box down, planning to sort his tools and put stuff away, but it never goes anywhere and soon becomes a repository for more things until we have a tower of boxes in the corner that never stops growing. It doesn’t stop at small things either….with Dayne, it can be anything. Once he brought home a giant tube style television that was so heavy he needed help putting in the back of his truck. When it got home I had to help him haul it into the house but we couldn’t get it through the doorways to any room other than our tiny kitchen. There the damn thing lived for over a year, for a while in the middle of the floor, then under the kitchen table we couldn’t get to because of all the junk. Eventually, I complained enough to get him motivated to move it, with my help again, from the kitchen to the dump. We had to pay a $50 disposal fee because of the tube…..god, these stories could go on forever….I think you get the point though. I hate clutter, mess, crap, junk and unneeded furniture taking up the little space I have and I strive to move it out of my house as fast as it comes in and faster, when possible.

(Wow that was a long lead up. I didn’t realize how much that annoys me. lol)

SO! Now for my story that explains why I just detailed all that info: I got a new car on the weekend. Every time I’ve bought a car, in my entire life, it’s been a great thing that I’ve welcomed with sincere thankfulness for being able to afford it but I’ve never cared what I drove. It could be a beat up truck, like the vehicle I’ve been driving since my Vibe died (*cries*). It’s rusty, old, the tail gate won’t move and the brakes are questionable, even though the pads are new. My vibe, although well loved, was falling apart too. Just about everything was falling off it, doors, mirrors, door handles, antenna, the trunk latch, gas cover…lol…she was crumbling to dust. I never minded though….it always started for me and was safe to drive and that’s all I cared about. When we started looking for a new vehicle to replace the Vibe I kept telling Dayne that I didn’t care what I drove, just to grab something cheap and working.

On Wednesday of last week Dayne sent me a photo of a car he was looking at. It was lovely, had a nice front end, looked nice and clean and it was only six years old. It was one we would need a loan for….for the first time since we’ve been together, Dayne went to a dealership rather than a shifty used car place, and applied flat out for financing. Apparently, all the hard work we’ve put into fixing our credit (thanks to a couple of poorly chosen ex partners on both of our behalves) is starting to pay off. Dayne has been relentless about not wasting money for ten years and I’ve followed his lead. Mostly, it was because being in debt and struggling to pay bills stresses me out so much I can barely manage it and he didn’t mind being in control of the payments and now, we not only qualify for a bank loan, we got a discounted financing rate….and I got my new car.

She is amazing. I have never had the pleasure of driving something so responsive, powerful, and fully loaded. It feels like a rental car and all weekend I kept waiting someone to take it away from me. It does everything I’ve ever wanted a car to do….power everything, sunroof, plug and play on my iphone so music and phone calls go through my stereo speakers (that almost made me cry, I was so excited when I found out!). It drives so nicely it feels like a luxury vehicle! The lightest pressure from my foot gets a response when braking and accelerating (holy smokes can this car accelerate) and the steering is so fine tuned I barely have to move the wheel unless I’m turning. I could go on forever about this too ! It’s a really beautiful, classy looking, powerful, full performance car and I feel so lucky to be able to drive it…much, much safer than my last one too. For the first time in my life, I’m a little bit (a lot) in love with my vehicle. Now I want to drive somewhere far away just for the fun of being behind that beautiful steering wheel.

This car is the nicest thing I’ve ever owned. The dealership gave us financing for four years so, if I can keep it nice and clean, they said they’ll take it back as a trade in if we want something newer when it’s paid off. With Dayne and Colt on board that might be a difficult mission but I’m willing to try. lol….I think I’ll invest in some seat covers.

That’s one thing down, finally. New car, check! Now I just need a new compressor for my fridge (that we just bought about six months ago!), a new stove (oven no longer works), a new washer/drier (last priority as they both still function as long as you don’t load them too full) and we will be fully functioning again! One day at a time though. Still need to get some money put aside for a mortgage one of these days. :)

I feel lucky. Rewarded. I feel like I worked hard and sacrificed a LOT but in the end….worth it!!! I let Dayne drive all weekend so he could enjoy it too but he’s going to be hard pressed to pry my fingers from that steering wheel for a while yet. haha…. (I love my car!) It’s also fun to wake up and realize it wasn’t a dream! That’s a new and entirely welcome feeling for me. Now I can’t wait until I get to go home so I can drive again!

Destruction and a new sense of understanding

Oh my goodness I have 128 work email I’ve not even opened yet. I’m getting so behind. I think I’m going to have to stay late tonight to get a jump on things so I don’t lose the plot entirely next week when the big work hits (monthly statistical audits). I was hoping to have a slightly more organized day today but it’s not looking great. We’re in the midst of prepping for Ebola, should it make it’s way to Canada. Luckily, we’re government funded so there are emergency funds set aside for disasters such as this. Our government is doing everything that should have been done in Texas for those poor nurses….live and learn I guess. I know it’s such a different system and money doesn’t just show up because there’s a need for it….makes me feel lucky and safe though. My workplace, at least, is well prepared should we need to deal with this horrible, destructive virus.

(Now I have 138 email…crap)

I went home last night so tired I could barely sit upright. Dayne came home not long after Colt and I arrived and he asked if I’d like to have a coffee (we have a little room in the back where we spend a little time each day running over things…usually Dayne just talks about work, but it’s the stuff that’s not appropriate to discuss in front of Colton). I wanted to…I knew he needed to vent, but I couldn’t convince myself to stand up. Instead, I turned on my electric blanket (it’s cold here now) and fell asleep at 6 pm. Woke this morning at 6 am….and I’m back at work. Feels like this is all I do some days. Most days.

This morning, we tried to catch up while I put make up on and he made Colt breakfast and got stuff ready for the day but it’s hard when you’re running around trying to get ready. Eventually we arrived in the same room and he smiled at me and held his arms out for a hug. I stopped talking and gratefully fell into them….have I ever told you guys how amazing Dayne’s hugs are? Colt’s getting there too but Dayne knows how to give a hell of a good hug. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close, bending slightly at the knees so I could rest my head on his shoulder. He presses his legs into mine so we’re touching nearly head to toe, and he never lets go first. He used to say all the time that you should never let go first because you never know how long the other person might need. What a sweetheart he can be. :) The best part of it all is that whenever Colt catches us embraced, he says “OH NO! I don’t want to miss the hug!” and will run over to shove himself into the hug, one arm around his dad, one around me. He calls them ‘family hugs’. Could there possibly be anything better? Seriously? It makes me smile from the inside out, every time.

That lovely, soothing feeling stays with me for hours and I’m smiling now, remembering it. What a wonderful touchstone to have. I feel very lucky.

As I move into this phase of life where I’m embracing the things that make me who I am I’m realizing what I do and do not need in life. In the past I have sought out people who made me feel bad about who I was…M was the star in that sky, for sure. I let him tear my heart to shreds many times…I took every nasty word to heart and I believed every morsel of negative feedback he delivered to me in his sanctimonious ways. That’s another post though. Or maybe not….I don’t even want to bother with the energy required to relive it all. I’ll maybe just say this: I worry about M in a way that no one else seems to but that only ever mattered to me, not him. There was no reward for being in his life regardless of how hard I tried. Every effort was reduced to some stupid lie he’d tell himself so he didn’t have to appreciate anything. I suspect he disliked feeling like he had to emotionally be there for people…any people, even his mother, whom he guilted into sleeping with him multiple times. The only reason he stopped is because she is losing herself to dementia and started resisting him. The guilt stopped working because she couldn’t remember the time before. I breathed out a huge sigh of relief for that woman. M is not capable of loving someone equally. He’s not one to put himself out unless there is an immediate and tangible return for his efforts. It wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t throw blame and guilt around like confetti, but, it is what it is. I wish him the best but I’m not interested or willing to let him drag me through another round. Never again. If I even catch a whiff of M’s personality on someone else, I’ll be running for the hills. That was one hell of a hard lesson to learn but I’m glad I did. It taught me a lot about who I am and I feel good, in the end, for trying as hard as I did, even though he never once appreciated it.

I feel like a Juggernaut today, tearing through these feelings and thoughts. Today feels like nothing could hurt me. I’m too wired, too aware of danger. Have I mentioned the struggle I’m having with smells recently? I’m so alert to danger I can smell freaking everything…I have a hard time talking to people because I can smell their breath, body odor (good and bad) so strongly it’s off putting. When a woman comes by who is menstruating, I can tell from a great distance. It’s not fun and it makes it hard to be personable while you’re backing up to get away from someone’s greasy hair smell. I’m constantly eating mints to override my sense of taste/smell. It’s helping so far.

Wow, that was kind of scattershot, that post. Just a jumble of stuff in my head. Now that it’s out I can get back to focusing on this insanely busy job. Thanks for reading guys. Hope everyone finds something special in there day today that brings a smile.

(Gives you all a hug like Dayne!)

Hello, Grainne. Good to see you again :)

Morning All!

I haven’t wanted to mention this because it makes me feel like I’m a slave to it, but…I’ve lost 10 pounds. !!!! I don’t really care what did it…stress? Likely…but whoot!!! I am a happy girl. If I can get another ten off me I’ll be at my (dream) goal weight and it’s actually starting to look like it’s possible. That little change helped my self image more than I’m comfortable admitting, but again, I’m not going to worry over it. Like the nurse who changed my entire perspective on myself said, I’m not focusing on what once was so much anymore, just how I can love who and what I am NOW. Work on improving what I have now so I feel more at home in my own skin. The change of direction did more than just make me feel better. :)

Because I’m happier with the way I look overall, my confidence is coming back…shining through. I can see the difference in the way people look at me, receive me, perceive me and accept me…..and I know, this time, it’s got nothing to do with the way I look physically. (Can you even believe I just wrote that?!) I feel more like me than I have in a long, long time.

Dayne, Colt and I went to one of our favourite time-waster flea markets on Saturday and I was dressed in my favourite boots (you have got to see these things. People on the street stop me to ask where I got them they are so different lol) a pair of leggings that fit again and a casual top with a sweater. I had my black and white scarf that has a very subtle skull print and my usual handful of silver jewelry on my neck and arms. I felt great…looked good, felt good, the pain was simmering in the background but wasn’t really holding my attention. People seemed to go out of their way to engage me and everyone I smiled at smiled back…it was a nice feeling, being in a place where I felt so exposed yet still in control and sure of who I was.

At home, later that evening, Dayne was looking at me with a goofy grin on his face.

“What?” I asked with a grin of my own.

“It’s just really nice to see you like this again. I thought we had lost that Grainne forever.”

“Sorry?” I responded, confused. “Have I been someone different?”

“Oh hell yes! After your divorce, when everyone turned on you and Harry ran around betraying you and your deepest secrets you just shut down. You retreated further back with every passing day until you were so isolated you shared nothing of yourself with anyone. Even me.”

I thought back to that time and knew exactly what he meant. After I left Harry he went nuts, running all over the city, calling everyone I’d ever known including bosses, coworkers, friends, and my family, to tell them all the things I might not have wanted them to know. Things about my past abuse…deep, personal things. He did it to hurt me, and it did the job very well. I pulled back and just hid away from the world until two things happened. One, I met M and two, I met Orlaith. Two people I decided to trust…to test the world with. M fucked me over so bad I nearly lost my entire sense of self, and Orlaith, well, she was the one who lied to me about her entire life, lied about a tragic car accident that almost killed her and her unborn baby, lied about the birth of the baby, lied about the baby getting cancer and then lied her little heart out as I cried with her and soothed her….I spent a good year being there for her as much as I could be. I felt so much pain and despair for that little one who never really existed. When I called her on it she closed all her email accounts and vanished from the face of the earth. I was never given an explanation or even an apology. Nothing. Just….gone. It broke me. I know I shouldn’t have invested so much but it didn’t even occur to me that she might be making it all up. I’ve tried to let it go and forgive her in my heart….I didn’t actually realize the impact it had on my overall ability or desire to trust. Dayne did though. It’s always amazed me, how quietly observant he can be.

The conversation then, turned to a change I’ve been noticing at work in how people receive me. Last week, several times, coworkers commented on my outfit, jewelry or boots. Lol…god I love those boots. I was standing in the reception area chatting with a therapist when a few others came by.

“Oh Grainne! Those boots are SO you! I love them!” They nodded in agreement as they spoke.

It stopped me dead cold. I smiled and thanked them, of course, but inside I felt like someone had just peeled the skin back from my body and exposed my entire being to the world. I went back to my office and tried to locate the source of the discomfort when I realized what had just been said. Somehow, these people who I’ve only known for a few months, whom I’ve barely spoken to on a personal level, were able to identify something I was wearing as being a good fit with my style.

This may all sound innocuous to most, but the thought of people knowing that about me was terrifying….and elating. It meant that I was finally able to be ‘me’ in a true sense that I’ve not experienced in a long while in my life. It meant that when I decided to let go of the past troubles, let go of the worry and picking over what everyone thought of me to establish ‘who’ I was in the world and decided to just be ME…the me I used to be (and always was)….it worked. Or, it’s working, at least. I have allowed the people around me to peek into who I am, what I like, and what makes me feel good. As I explained this to Dayne, he noted that it was an obvious change. He said he was proud of me for letting myself show more to the world. I’m pretty proud of me too.

The world is coming back into focus, a bit, and it’s really exciting. I hope there’s not too many hurdles in my way at this point so I don’t lose my footing, but really, this change is deep inside me…I can’t see very many things reaching it. I feel magnetic and in control, not of everything….but I don’t need to have everything in my hands, just my own self image, respect and self acceptance.

What an interesting day it is today. I’m tired, but not exhausted; in pain but not so much I can’t enjoy my day, stressed but accepting of my busy, never-ending job, and I feel like I have Colt’s school issues well in hand. It could all fall apart in a moment, but, for now, I’m going to relish this, even if it only lasts a few more minutes. (She says as the phone starts ringing endlessly….)

The (amazingly helpful) Appointment.

Ahh lunch time.  I’m taking an actual break today!  I totally don’t have the time (I have two huge monthly pieces of my job due tomorrow) but screw it….everyone else is out at a day workshop and I’m about the only one here aside from the front desk reception.  It’s nice to be able to make a cup of tea, breathe and do something just for me for once.

Dayne was an angel and left work early yesterday to drive all the way home to get Colt.  They turned around and came back to town just in time to meet me at the Psychiatric Institute where Colt sees his psychiatrist.  This man is amazing, let me tell you.  We lucked out so huge when we found him.

Way back when Colt was 3 we started our campaign to get him onto one of the doc’s caseloads.  It’s a self referral service, of course, because GP’s cannot mandate psychological testing (well, they can, but not directly to the institute…they’re the higher care body who is linked directly to the Ministry of Health which governs all of health care in Canada.  Dayne and I nearly lost our jobs, we took so much time off rotating shifts at the Institute with envelopes bursting with medical notes and test results from Colt’s first three years.  We begged, literally, for help and finally one of the docs agreed to take Colt on as a patient.

We only go a few times a year at this point but there is zero pressure from them to make appointments.  They’re so busy they can barely handle what they have….but this wonderful doc, Dr. Rob, we’ll call him, went out of his way for us, again, and arranged to see us at 5:30 to make things easier on us.  5:30!  The entire hospital I work in clears out 4 (aside from the nursing shifts) so a 5:30 appointment on a Wednesday is unheard of.  Dr. Rob also sat with us until nearly 7:00 pm and when we left he wasn’t even almost rushing us out the door.

Sometimes we forget how good it is for Dayne and I to meet with Dr. Rob, thinking of his as Colt’s doc, not someone who will help us achieve our goals.  He always starts by chatting with Colt about kid things…school, sports, superheros, whatever he can remember as being of interest.  Then, he will ask Colt a series of questions and observes him as a whole, watching his tics and gestures, movements, eye contact, flow of though, logic…it’s really interesting to watch it happen.  Colt responds well, tries hard to be personable and polite; it makes me love him so much too see.  My biggest fear for him is that he stops trying.  Then Dr. Rob will start discussing things with Dayne and I, asking how the school year is going and how Colt is doing.  We generally relate all the BS we’ve endured from the school since our last appointment and he sits there and bats away the nonsense

“So what are they considering his behavioral issues to be?” He asked.  “Does he scream or disrupt the class by throwing physical fits or items across the room at his peers?”

“Oh gosh no!” I answered while Dayne chuckled and Colt looked so bored he was about to pass out in the chair.  “Basically, he refuses to do what they ask him.  In the afternoon, the only expectation of him is that he remains physically present in his classes and they’re not even managing to do that.”

But does he swear?  Spit?  Get into physical fights?” Dr. Rob looked a bit surprised.

“No no, nothing like that.  He refuses to do his work.  If they push him he threatens to swear at them and then he’s sent to the office and I get a call to redirect him and his behaviour.”

“Well that’s ridiculous!” the doc said and all three of us smiled in unison.  Isn’t it though?  We get so emotionally invested in the school and the goings on there that we get lost in the issues and bogged down with policy and punishment (remember the times they suspended him for swearing on the playground but wouldn’t give him a student mentor to help guide him while outside in a huge crowd of kids?  Dr. Rob was actually angry about that.)

We talked about the presentation they wanted to do for his classroom about autism.  Dr. Rob asked me how that was going to help Colt.  After several moments though, I answered that it wouldn’t.  The kids in his grade and class are kind to him.  They all know he’s autistic…..a presentation for them won’t help Colt in any way, in fact, the doc worried that it might make Colt feel under the microscope, like people are telling all his secrets to the whole class.  I wrote an email this morning halting that presentation….I can’t believe I almost put him through that.  I don’t think he would react too badly but really, what’s the benefit?  Nothing aside from the school getting to say “We’ve done all we can!  Look at our efforts!”  Screw them.  It’s been ME who drives this entire thing and has been me alone from the start.  Even Dayne can’t be counted on to behave rationally. 

Anyway….things went along like that and Dr. Rob told us to stand strong with the school.  He said that if they threaten to take away his EA support (which means he’ll do nothing in the morning and nothing in the afternoon) to tell them we disagree, first, and second, that we hope they have a great plan B in place because Colt will be there until grade 8, regardless.  There are no other places for him to go…

Oooh and the ASD placement they’re pushing to get Colt into…haha…we asked about that and Dr. Rob nearly jumped out of his chair.

“NO!  No don’t allow them to push you into that!  The programs are good, I’ve been over to see four of them in the last three years, but the kids who go there seem to be the ones who are a physical threat to themselves or other students or are extremely disruptive to a regular class or school.”

He says the minimal distractions, army-like structure and padded cool down rooms (closets with no window, just bean bag mats and a tiny little closet they lock the kids into when they freak out) are in place for a reason.  Like us, he agreed that Colt spending time around children who are fall less socially functional than he is will only serve to pull him down and will teach him absolutely nothing about self coping or regulation.  I nearly cried with relief at the sound of someone agreeing with me.

So we will not allow an application for the ASD classes.  The doc said he has rarely found if effective for kids like Colt and I can stand on that, regardless of the pressure the school puts on.  He also recommended that we have him reevaluated and have a new IEP designed.  His hasn’t really changed since grade 3.

Then he asked about the swearing from last year.  He did a few quick psychological test and pushed Colt (a bit) into answering more difficult questions than he is easily able.  This caused an immediate stress reaction and his twitches and tics came out everywhere.  I don’t think there was a single part of his body that was still throughout the session.  At it’s conclusion, Dr. Rob announced that he believes Colt has Tourette’s Syndrome (it’s rather often found as a co-morbidity of autism, especially at Colt’s level of function).  It’s not severe and could get better or worse with time, but he wants to add it to Colt’s overall diagnosis.  He smiled when he said that it might help him keep his EA support through grade 8, at least.

After hearing that I very nearly cheered.  I know that must sound so odd to most people, but the fact that maybe the swearing and strange behaviour that started last year was due to the Tourette’s starting up in his messed up little system.  Knowing it might have a root cause relieves me of the fear  that Colt is turning aggressive, surly and entirely lacks empathy for his fellow man.  His frustration levels make much more sense that was too…..but that poor kid.  Can you imagine the struggle he faces each and every day when he tries to “behave” the way everyone expects him to?  I hate so much that he suffers that way.  Any way.

We came away feeling a little happier, more empowered and refocused entirely on what matters most:  Colt, his education and his happiness.  It puts Dayne and I on the same page immediately.

As we were walking out Dr. Rob pulled Colt off to the side and got on his level.

“Hey Colt?  I see a lot of kids here who need my help at school and at home.  I’m really glad you come to see me too because you are a really nice kid with a great heart.  Don’t let anyone tell you they’re better than you, because I can promise you that they’re not.  Okay buddy?”

Colt offered a ‘fist bump’ and Dr. Rob happily bumped him back.  I couldn’t have been more moved.  Everything changed in that moment, settled down and refocused.  We’re ready for the next hurdle now, whatever they try to throw at us, we’ll be ready.

Thanks Dr. Rob.  I hope you know how much your help means to these kids….and their parents.  :)

Toxins vented

Often times, the people I am kindest to…the ones I put myself out for the most, are the ones who least believe in me.  I just had the most annoying email exchange with an asshole from the past…wasn’t a good idea in the first place.  The moment I divert my attention from him (no matter the cause, I could be in fucking surgery and he’d still accuse me of mistreating him and lying about my whereabouts).  Anyone who cares in the least for me would understand, if only in part, that I’m in so much pain I can barely function.  I get almost no credit for that in life….maybe I should start endlessly complaining to everyone I meet so friends in the future might actually give a shit.  I give up on people….especially nasty assholes like that one.  I put out so much energy when I had NONE for myself, just to make sure he knew he was cared about, thought about and loved.  What do I get back?  Bullshit, lies and stories made up so he can justify not wanting me around.  He doesn’t have to justify it…for crying out loud, everyone is welcome to just GO without telling me why.  I don’t care to hear the lies people tell themselves anymore.  Seriously!  So I set filters for all of his email addresses.  Anything that ever comes in from him from this point forward is instantly deleted and dumped before I even get a chance to see it.  I’m so over being made to feel guilty because I was too tired to entertain someone over the weekend I took for myself so I could rest !!  I already have a dependent who needs me constantly…I don’t need a fully grown one.  He even poked fun at my mental health issues with attachment.  Told me it was too cumbersome to deal with.  I told him to have a look in the mirror….but he wasn’t worth energy I was spending on the words so I stopped there. I tend to love dick-heads and I’m determined to break that habit once and for all this time.
ANYWAY…that’s the last you’ll hear of that one.  Door closed, heart closed, no longer even willing to try.  I’m going to set about making a better life for myself.
I’m not letting this affect the way I feel about myself this time.  No matter how heavy the guilt feels, I’m going to carry it and feel it until it dissipates.  I will only allow people in who love me for something other than the possibility of getting in my pants.  It’s not going to happen, no matter how flattering they may be.
There.  Now that’s out of my system I’ll write another about our appointment with Colt’s doc last night.  It was an excellent one.
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