I should call Jonah’s behavioral therapist and go over some plan for what to do about all his aggression lately…
I thought it just yesterday at work when glancing at a picture of my smiling two-year-old boo made me remember what it was like when I had a child who had only autism, hold the violence.
But she called me first. When my cell phone rang last night around 7pm I knew it was Jonah’s school from the area code. I heard her voice, softly accented and smart, kind and comforting. I like her very much; I think she truly cares about the kids and works hard.
She told me she wanted to talk about Jonah’s behaviors and I said yes, thank you but very little else as I broke down suddenly and quickly, and silently thank God, everything in me held tight, squatting crouched at the top of the basement steps. Tears came in quiet, steady little streams down my face as she spoke, making two distinct darkened wet spots on the red carpeted landing…I stared at them, teeth clenched…holding my breath…my silence broken only by the occasional word of affirmation. Right. That sounds good. Thank you.
“Jonah’s been here more than a year now and he is so much better at working with others and in groups than when he first came,” she started. I don’t have to be a psych major to know this tactic: present a positive first, then a negative, then another positive. It’s a good plan but she knows I know what’s coming.
I’m unsure what snapped something inside me and made me cry that way, but something did, and when she talked about how Jonah’s behaviors have continued, how some have gotten worse or more intense, I wanted to scream. They think perhaps it is the medicine affecting him a bit, and she thinks also he is so smart, my Boo, that he seeks attention to the point of aggressing or poop-smearing or whatever just to see what happens – to watch who does what – to be the center of attention.
I think she’s right. He’s an only child and was very used to being so. Maybe he’s mad about sharing so much with so many other kids. Not material things, not tangible things, maybe…he wants games and fun and snuggles and chases and it’s all got to be about him…maybe.
We don’t know they’re not sure …she is going to try a positive reinforcer squeeze toy or something he can hold tight and squish – a stress ball or stuffed animal or something – a comfort object, as they would say in The Giver. I wonder too if a weighted vest would help. Sometimes I feel like I want to crawl out of my skin, abandon body altogether, this cage of bones, and fly away. Maybe Jonah feels it too (although he probably wants to grow gills and swim away).
I want to help him. I thought he would get better there. I didn’t realize the placement was necessary but also, quite likely, permanent. The only way I could do it at the time was to leave that part out and not think about whether or not it was a place where he can eventually come back home. All I knew was I was losing him and I needed quite desperately to lose him and it all felt like crawling through fire.
It feels like crawling through fire to consider him being away from me like this indefinitely, aggressing, battling blindness and arthritis and whatever the fuck else we don’t even know about.
It’s all so different from anything I imagined, this path. God hold me steady on it.