Monday, August 06, 2007

Heartbreak and Hope

DW and I ran around locally with our boys over the weekend, and, as sometimes happens, the experience was an emotional roller coaster ride.

T watches the elevator at the hotel. As usual, he had fun watching Blue's Clues, drawing with us, playing in the pool, and riding the elevator. I like that he's able to distinguish one-story buildings from multi-story buildings, and I don't mind him riding up and down on elevators to his heart's content when it doesn't bother anybody, but his elevator obsession on Saturday was much like the bad habit one is determined to kick but just can't. It ended with him tantruming uncontrollably when I wouldn't take him inside a high rise building in the downtown area we always drive through on our local visits. But then, I shouldn't have been dismissive when he was shouting "right!" and pointing down the last major street we passed before entering the downtown area. As soon as we got away from the tall buildings and chased a train, the tantruming stopped. In retrospect, it was like he knew what was going to happen and wanted to avoid it, but I thought he just wanted to go back to WalMart and past the high rise hospital close to that store. I suppose that any self-awareness of the situation is a good sign. My kids have up-and-down behaviors, and T is entering puberty, which is difficult for any kid--and neurotypical kids his age certainly can misbehave when they don't get their way--but this particular episode left me heartbroken for the rest of the day.

A was his mischievous little self during our visit with him. When he tired of the outdoor swimming pool at the hotel, he got out, ran through the gate, and had me chase him on a circuitous route to the indoor pool. He was laughing like hell the whole way. A worked on his dog-paddling skills, which aren't as well developed as his underwater swimming skills.

My kids' new mini-group home has a funky, retro-contempo motif. The place is roomy, and it has a tiny kitchen so the kids can learn how to prepare snacks and other foods requiring minimal cooking. There's also a washer and dryer so they can learn how to do laundry. The kids' new living quarters and their intensified ABA training program make me hopeful for their futures. DW and I want what every other parent wants for his/her children--to be safe, happy, and as well prepared as possible to function in the world, and to feel loved at all times. We obviously have a different situation from most families, but those basic parental desires are the same.


Anonymous said...

Indeed they are, [the same hopes and dreams as everyone else]
Best wishes

Ann said...

The description of the new mini-group home is wonderful, Randy. Are the boys there together? How many other children are in the setting?

Randy said...

Both of my boys are there, and there are four total. T. had a nervous stomach the first couple of days in the new place, but at last report he had adjusted very well. A. evidently was fine from the get-go, and he was the one I was more concerned about.

The only slight glitch we've encountered is that one well-intentioned mom wanted the bedroom decorated so that the boys had the same bedclothes. IIRC, she's worked as an interior decorator, so I can understand where she's coming from.

However, I've always made a deal of my kids having their own identities (guess who grew up in an overly conformist household), and it seems to be important to A. to have his own, different, stuff from what T has. So we demurred on the other mom's suggestion. The result is that the two boys on the other side of the bedroom are nicely coordinated in red, white, and blue, while T. has a Superman theme and A. a SpongeBob one. I took each boy to WalMart and ran him past the bedding, then bought the bedding set he seemed to prefer.