Every year at Jonah’s school they have Harvest Day with food and fun, games for the kids, school tours for the parents/grandparents, etc. Harvest Day 2013 was this past Saturday; my mom and I went together to visit Jonah’s classroom. Andy had taken him for an overnight the night before, so we visited there first, then drove the 5 miles to the school, and back to the apartment afterward.
So we saw Boo’s classroom and spoke with his teacher and an assistant teacher. We snacked on apple cider & apple cider donuts, looked through piles of worksheets and construction paper creations (plus one bottle of blue water with “fish” and “sand” in it). I loved at it all and brought everything home with me, even unrecognizable scribbles or coloring books he’d made out of pages and a piece of string to tie it all together, the pages crayoned heavily, each in one color only and with no attempt at staying in the lines. It was almost as if he didn’t see the picture at all and instead just filled the page with color.
They also told us Jonah has been mostly very happy and good in school for a few weeks now (and his residence peeps say the same thing), and my mother and I were both thinking: It’s when the doctor lowered the steroid eyedrop dosage from every two hours to just twice a day. Maybe that’s it, and now his aggression will dissipate. Please God…
One doctor told me when you are given steroids through eyedrops, it doesn’t really have very much effect on mood or behavior. But I was once a Deadhead, doc, and have seen people use an eyedropper to take acid because it was the fastest way to get the drug into the system –better absorption, quicker effect. So I find it hard to believe that steroids, no matter how they’re given, don’t have any bearing on Jonah’s behaviors. In fact if I piece it all together (which this blog helps me do), his behaviors began the summer after we started him on steroid eyedrops, back before we knew he had iritis or uveitis. Andy noticed his eye was red so we took him to an eye doc, and the first eyedrops didn’t work, and the whole saga began. Nearly four years ago?
So now Jonah has no vision (or hardly any) in his left eye, but his behaviors are more easily avoided with positive reinforcement and by reminding him it’s okay if he needs to take a break. All he has to do is ask for one and he gets it. I think it’s even in his IEP. These people who teach and care for Jonah have good ideas and incredible dedication. They are happy, optimistic, hard-working. They are amazing. And God help me but I don’t so much mind the trade: sight in one of Jonah’s eyes for his overall happiness and well-being – for no more aggression, or way less of it. Maybe the steroids caused the aggression the whole time…
…and yes we both know correlation does not necessarily imply causation, but then again sometimes it does, dammit. Sometimes it does. We are in hopeland, holding tight to the pendulum lest it swing back, as if we had the strength to keep it from doing anything but what it does. But Jonah has been happy, lovey, laughing and giggling – at the doctor, at Andy’s apartment, during our car rides:
Of course I could be wrong about it all but hopeland feels good and is so filled with joy – there really is no reason to leave.
But I digress.
Only one couple was there when we were talking with Jonah’s teachers, and they left the room after a bit, so my mom and I could ask more questions about Boo. Seems his favorite day is Friday, when he can declare/ask no school tomorrow?! I suppose in this sense he’s like a lot of other 11-year-olds.
So on the way out, we stopped at a table where two ladies were selling cards. A set of 10 is $10, and you get two cards each of four designs, themed for summer/flowers, wintertime, etc…and every design is created by a student at the school. Last year I bought two packages, and I was planning to buy two more. I chose two ‘summers’ and was about to pay when I first introduced myself. “I’m Jonah’s mother,” I told them, figuring they’ll know who he is — he’s the only Jonah in the school. “Oh!” one of the ladies said. “Jonah has a design this year.” And she pulled out the “winter” package.
I immediately dropped the two others and bought two “winters” without even seeing Jonah’s design. I was so eager to look through them, and amazed that Jonah’s artwork has been chosen for a card! I mean, the designs are always pretty good – and some are really good. But Jonah just isn’t interested in art or drawing.
Therefore, I found all this hard to believe.
The cards come in see-through plastic packages, and the card you can see through the front panel of the “winter” package is this:
Cool, right? I thought so. Here’s the next one:
Downright amazing, yes? I was secretly hoping this one was Jonah’s – but no. The third card out of four was next:
Nice use of cotton for the snow, right? Another goodie.
So last comes Jonah’s masterpiece, entitled, simply, “Elf” — of course I loved that he did an elf…
It was all I could do not to crack up laughing right at the table.
I’m thinking to myself, this is the card in the box that people don’t even send. I love it with all my heart, even as I laugh. I’m so proud of my Boo. You see how he signs his name? He starts off on the right, with JON — then moves over to the left side to add AH.
HOPELAND ART AUCTION: We’ll start the bidding at a hundred dollars.