Get Thee to Thy Short Bus
This was a hard weekend, and a really hard morning. One where I spent the morning crying, worrying that my future Leelo will be medicated into catatonia or living in an institution because of his unpredictable and intense violent outbursts.
I guess I can be grateful that he seems to save the really nasty behavior for me, Seymour, and his therapists/teachers. And his sisters, though he tends to "only" shove them. But what mother would not be sick in her heart upon realizing that her three-year-old daughter has learned to keep her brother in sight, and to skirt around him as quickly as possible? Even though Mali still tries to give Leelo presents, to talk to him, and to hold his hand while they're walking. But how long until she becomes ever-wary? How can I argue with Iz when she tells me how unfair it is to be attacked by her brother?
Of course I know that a lot of Leelo's behavior has to do with having a cold or allergies or headaches (possibly migraines). Or constipation. Or all of it. He's not feeling right in his body, and his irritability is understandable. But I am worried that he will never be able to understand that, no matter how crappy he feels, he should never open-handedly THWACK THWACK THWACK my back so fast and hard that it feels like his hands are branding irons, use his nails to gouge tracks down my arms, or give me a full across-the-room running shove to the gut so hard it makes me want to throw up and tweaks my neck and back for the day. If we can't help him learn to tone down or redirect this violence, I am worried that in two or three years he will be big and strong enough to cause serious injuries.
He is also constantly thwacking his own head. This is his standard reaction to dissatisfaction, but it is more intense and frequent right now. When I can, I put my hands between his hands and his head to at least dampen the blows. But you can imagine how lovely this scene is, especially when it plays out in public.
I don't feel like I am the best mother to Leelo all of the time, but I made a real effort over the weekend to spend quality time with him, and he responded really well, most of the time. I have to keep this in perspective so as to not wallow in the negative. So, here are some of the good things we did:
We had some great snuggles on the couch, we listened to music that he liked, I gave him a lot of praise for all the things he did right (e.g., keeping his shoes on in the car; we're in another shoeless phase) and watched as the praise registered and his face lit up. Sometimes he would be so happy that he would hug me with his cheek next to mine, and not in the usual pressure-seeking way.
I also got him a book of dot-to-dot puzzles comprising the numbers 0 - 25, and have been making copies of the pages on the copier in my office so he can do them multiple times using extra-large crayons. I have been having him point to all the numbers in sequence, and then using his strength of knowing number sequences to ask him to draw lines from 0 - 1, 1 - 2, 2 - 3, etc. After the first couple of times he knew what to do, and seems to enjoy it. I hope this is an appropriate activity for him, as it is something portable that he and I can do together easily, and I'm hoping eventually he can do it independently. (He still shows some hand confusion and did several lines with his left hand before I noticed and made him switch.) He also did a good job signing his name on each picture when he finished.
In terms of independent work, Leelo is fully capable of navigating the Teletubbies website on his own and playing all the games. We are now teaching him how to navigate YouTube so he can watch the videos he likes in his room. I really need to teach him how to use Iz's Leapster so he can have something fun do do while we're out and about besides eat (he, like his mom, is best in class for rotundity. He's gained ten pounds in less than seven months, and was seventy-five pounds at his checkup two weeks ago).
Finally, minor to most people but exciting to me: I held up two jackets and asked him which one he wanted to wear. He looked from one to the other, and then said, "I want the orange," with very good pointing. That is huge.
So, a lot of good. And he had a fantastic IEP last week. He achieved 16 out of 19 goals, and will get to stay in the same fantastic classroom next year.
Anyhow. No conclusion. Lots of good, lots of bad. Lots of worry. Lots of helplessness. And I felt like a complete asshole for being so relieved when I put him on the bus this Monday morning.