“The “D” is silent.” ~ Django, in the 2012 movie Django Unchained.
So I just saw Django Unchained, finally, and enjoyed it so much I watched it twice. I can’t believe it lost to Argo for the Oscar, which I also saw but thought was a good (but lesser) movie. I’m not a huge Tarantino fan and am glad I went into it without the knowledge that he had written and directed it, because I would have been somewhat prejudiced against it from the start, though it should have been obvious he directed it: the violence, the structure, and all that ignoring of plot holes and logic. It didn’t matter. I didn’t even mind the violence…it served a purpose, and as far as folks criticizing the word “nigger” being overused, it was set, after all, in the antebellum era before the Civil War. It was true to its time, for the most part. I loved it. Perfectly cast, too.
Djonah has also acted in an unchained manner of late – he even “eloped” (which is the autism world’s word for running away) on Saturday when my mom and I visited and we were eating lunch at Andy’s apartment. With no warning he ran at the screen door, flung it open, and ran full speed down the short-ish street right toward the 55-mile-per hour road it meets. Andy acted lightning fast, and thank God he’s been working out for months now because he caught him easily. I would hope that with my new exercise regimen and super-power momma instinct, I also could have caught him, but luckily I didn’t have to try. Left unchecked, Djonah would certainly fly, headlong into the street, I’m sure, powered by an inner need to escape something inside him which would ignore all danger of speeding cars on the road. This eloping is new; he has only done it once before, and on the school grounds, where he is trapped on all sides by fencing.
There are other new things amiss with Djonah. He is having multiple aggressions every day (which has always been cyclic) but he has had zero aggressions for something like 2-3 weeks prior to this – and also, now he is exhibiting signs of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) we’ve never seen before, touching doorknobs 100 times and spinning ever-increasingly in circles, round and round. This is all different. His nurse and his behavioral specialist are both really concerned. There is also some blood in his left ear; it isn’t pouring out of him but when we gently clean it there is blood on the swab. I have to call today and see if I can drive down to meet with Djonah’s doc and talk to her about what to do about all these things. After talking to other moms in similar situations, I think I want to take him off all his anxiety/aggression meds and then put him back on them, one at a time, to see what is working and what isn’t. Right now he is on such a cocktail of meds that adding and subtracting meds at this point is just a guessing game.
On top of all this his eye operation is a week from tomorrow. I can’t see that helping any of these behaviors. Things will almost certainly get worse before they get better.
Also on Saturday, he attacked Andy twice in the apartment. Andy managed to get him onto blue bed and hold him, and I came in to lay across his legs so he wouldn’t back-kick Andy in the kidneys. Djonah wept and wept…in frustration, anger, I don’t know what, drool and snot and tears all mixing together in a pool of desperation on the bedspread. It took a long time to calm him down. I tried singing softly, shifting my body so my face was near his, and he’d jut his neck out toward me as far as he could and open his mouth, gnashing to bite me. I recoiled as if facing a cobra. I kept kissing him, on his legs and feet and back, wherever I could reach safely, telling him softly, over and over, “I love you, Boo. God loves you.”
Eventually he was able to calm down, breathe normally, and relax his lithe body. He ate his lunch and took his bath and wanted his car ride.
People sometimes ask me how he is doing and I never want to talk about it. I direct them to my blog sometimes, because I can’t live it and talk about it all the time too. A defense mechanism in my mind kicks in so I can live a life without a constancy of terror and anguish, helplessness and envy. And yet I have to balance this with the necessity of advocating for our son and ensuring he is getting the care and medication that will help him.
A friend called me last night to vent because her teenage son is being very rebellious. All I could do was listen. I know nothing of teenagers but for memories of my own teenage years. I wish I could have helped her more. I sent her a list of books he may enjoy, and she may enjoy them too, for they are both readers and in my literature-loving mind, a good book is damn near a cure for anything that ails you. If nothing else it provides escape. Here is what I recommended (most of which I have read but some I have not and recommended based on reviews):
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Divergent by Veronica Roth (inspired by The Giver, I’d say)
Matched by Allie Condie
Every Day by David Levithan
I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Boy21 by Matthew Quick
Don’t Care High by Gordon Korman
The Chocolate War (and its sequel) by Robert Cormier (all his books are great)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (really funny)
Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic
One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey by Dick Proenneke and Sam Keith
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
The Wave by Todd Strasser
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Books always help me. Writing always helps me. Both are ways to immerse myself so completely that I’m in a zone from which I cannot be awoken easily. They are meditations.
I pray and hope and will Djonah to get better, for all of this to subside, for the wheel to turn so he is not squashed at the bottom but rather riding on top – happy in the warm weather – and soon, swimming again.
But there are good things on the horizon as well. My mind is feeling calmer, and happier –and the changes I’ve made in diet, behavior, exercise, and what I put into my body in general have given me more energy and a better perspective on everything I see and all I encounter.
In the midst of the Djonah turmoil, somehow, I am feeling very, very blessed and grateful.