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Posts Tagged ‘aggression’

Andy called yesterday to tell me Jonah had a bad tantrum/aggression in the van – not sure where they were going to (or coming from), but Jonah was being all snuggly & lovey with a caregiver one moment, then launched himself at her, grabbing a chunk of her hair.  Another caregiver tried to intervene but Jonah got a chunk of her hair too.  When it was all over, Jonah had two handfuls of hair and a small bruise.

I’d almost rather hear that some kid attacked Jonah and got a hunk of his hair than be told Jonah was the aggressor.

His caregivers are dedicated individuals who deserve to be wealthy, and though I have been assured they are paid better than at some other schools, I still don’t see why they don’t get more for what they endure, and how they love, and why they do what they do…which is essentially to be foster parents for groups of disabled children.

So many things work backwards in our world.  God forgive us all for not caring more about one another.

I know Jonah does not hurt others deliberately, or at least not with malicious intent, and I know he can’t help who he is and what goes on in his little brain…but that knowledge doesn’t fix anything or help the pain I feel when he hurts others.  In all my life I never imagined giving birth to one who harms people.  It’s almost funny.

And in a little more than two weeks he will have his big eye operation to take the Reticert implant out, in a last ditch effort to save what little sight he has remaining in his left eye.  The irreverent thought just came into my mind that if Jonah cannot see as well, perhaps he will at least start missing his targets.  Andy and I will have to be hyper-vigilant to ensure Jonah does not touch his eye shield or try to itch his eye beneath it.

Today I am going to visit my therapist and I will talk to him about my struggle with this ever-cyclic aggressive behavior I can’t accept and have no power to control.  I know better than to hold on to the wish to control it, and I know better than to place blame upon myself, or upon Jonah, or upon God, or upon anything at all.  I know better.  I just can’t help the tears that always come, the feelings that always arise, the frustration I always feel.  The fear that as he gets older and bigger it will only get worse.  Hopefully Dr. A. can help me with all that.

I know when there is a situation I cannot change, I can only change how I react to it.  And so I am making changes.  Now I exercise, eat better, meditate, pray, and take long walks in the woods.  I breathe deeply, in and out.  In and out.

I’m counting on the spring to bring new life, new hope, and new health, body-mind-spirit all working together to find the place inside where things are quiet and still.  Where music plays and my heart rejoices.  Where there is peace.

No one gives their dreams away too lightly
They hold them tightly warm against cold
One more year of traveling ’round this circuit
Then you can work it into gold

They say, “Jonah, he was swallowed by a whale”, hmm
But I say, “There’s no truth to that tale”
I know Jonah, he was swallowed by a song

Here’s to all the boys who came along
Carrying soft guitars in cardboard cases all night long
An’ do you wonder where those boys have gone?
Do you wonder where those boys have gone?

Jonah by Paul Simon

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“They say Jonah was swallowed by a whale
But I say there’s no truth to that tale
I know Jonah
Was swallowed by a song…”

~ Jonah by Paul Simon

Jonah has a broken finger incurred sometime during this morning’s tantrum/attack/aggression, on the bus that takes the kids up to the school building.  They took him to the hospital, x-rayed his hand, splinted his finger, brought him back to the house.  Not an enormous deal but one that caused me some concern.

His regular nurse was so kind when she called to tell me.  “Jonah is fine,” they always start out by saying.  Sometimes he isn’t – not really, but at schools like this everything is relative.  And he is fine.  He is safe and he is fixed up and it is over.

But I asked her to please contact Andy first next time.  Andy lives 5 minutes away.  I live an hour and a half a way.  I have a full time job, and I can’t be at my desk crying, like I nearly always end up doing.   I’m a crybaby, they need to understand, “strong mother” or no, and you can’t make me lose it at work because then nobody wins.  I need my job.  Let Andy call me at 5:30 when I get home from work and then tell me what happened, unless it’s an “he’s not okay” emergency.  Andy’s willing to do this and we’re going to try this new “leave mom out of the loop for a few hours” plan.

I’m tired of the merry go round.  I want off.  After a while it makes you sick to your stomach.  Your horse or your ostrich or your donkey goes up and it goes down, over and over, while the merry go round itself circles round and round, all with the bad-stereo strains of carousel music playing too loud and endlessly, no way off, no one to stop it all.

I just don’t have the fortitude.

for·ti·tude

[fawr-ti-tood, -tyood] Show IPA

noun

mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously: Never once did her fortitude waver during that long illness.
They ain’t talking about me, folks.
Ah, but wouldn’t you rather see some new pictures instead?

Our dog Jack has the United States of America on his nose.  Look closely.

Jonah loving Guardian Gus

Beautiful rosebushes

Thus ends a long Thursday.  Across the miles I am holding my son in my arms, so close, smelling his hair, breathing him in, and he is calm, and we have snuggle time, and we are both swallowed by a song…a lullaby…

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I’m at work and my cell phone rings.  (If it’s the area code where Jonah lives now, my heart goes into my throat, even though they’re usually “only” calling to notify me, as they must, that Jonah was involved in an incident.  That means he probably scratched, bit, kicked, and pulled God knows how many people’s hair.  It means they had to physically restrain him to prevent him from hurting himself or others).

It is the area code, and they are calling me to relate an incident.  When we hang up I call Andy and tell myself to just go back to work.  There isn’t anything I can do.

For years, behaviorists and teachers, psychiatrists, Andy, me – everyone – has been searching for a pattern to Jonah’s aggressions, a cause.  A reason for all this.  It isn’t who he is, the violent kid trying to scratch your eyes out.  It isn’t who he is.  It is as frustrating as anything I’ve ever known.  I don’t want to think about it today.  I want to know my son without having to fear him as well.  Thank God the world is catching on and more & more is being done for people with autism.

They say Jonah loves the new temporary house.  He can see the river and the railroad tracks, and right there you’ve got two of his favorite things:  water and train.

Jonah, at the glaucoma appointment, wearing J's sunglasses, playing it cool

I’m taking a couple days to go offline and see Guster (again) for my last concert this tour.  If I’m lucky, the dreaded area code will not appear on my cell phone until I return.  Be well, Boo.  Your mama loves you.

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It is Jonah Russell’s 10th birthday today, and time itself must be bending and twisting and teasing me, because I just can’t wrap my mind around that.  I’m off work from noon today until next week.  I was going to drive down to see Jonah after I got off work, but I’m recovering from an ugly stomach bug (I didn’t go to work at all Monday) and don’t want to bring it to him (if he didn’t bring it to me). Plus, I don’t want to upset his special day with an unexpected visit – he won’t comprehend why I’m there.  They’ll have a pizza and cake party for him tonight — and he even gets a present or two.

We had our own birthday party for him at grandma’s house on Saturday; Andy drove him up and grandma had gotten him balloons, all his favorite foods, and cake with chocolate frosting.

Tomorrow morning M and I are flying to Denver, Colorado to see Guster play with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.  Then back home for two more acoustic shows before (sob) the tour is over.  There is a reason my son learned to sing one of their most complicated songs.  If you click on –> Keep it Together you can see a You Tube video of him singing it, and in pretty good tune & rhythm, when he was 7 — at a time when his verbal language consisted entirely of two-word phrases. (Sorry to long-time readers who’ve heard me say this a dozen or so times).  I guess I brainwashed the child; he was certainly unresistant.  And so together we live happily ever after in Gusterland.

I just sent their album Keep It Together, in fact, to the awesome nursing staff who drive him to doctor appointments.  It was their idea; they said they’d play it in the van for him.  I’m so grateful for the kindness of those who have my son in their care.  There is no better gift to me than to nurture, teach, play with, care for, and maybe even love my little Boo.

PAUSE

At that moment the nurse at his school called to tell me Jonah required another two-person takedown today, after it happening twice yesterday.  I called his glaucoma doc yesterday to ask if the new meds he’d given him (eye drops) could cause pain or increase aggression but they told me no.

I don’t know if I believe this.

I’m going to ask a good doc I know, though, and look into it some.  I don’t want my boy to be in pain, or feeling this compulsion to aggress anymore.

What is it, bunny?  What can I do to make this world softer, better, more tolerable for you?

Sometimes I get mad.  It’s like that scene from Rainman where Raymond’s younger brother Charlie, played by Tom Cruise, loses it while driving in the desert and Raymond insists on purchasing underwear at a K-Mart 5 or 6 states away.  Charlie screeches the car to a halt, throws himself out onto the empty road, and paces wildly, ranting to the desert before returning to his brother, screaming, “You know what I think, Ray? I think this autism is a bunch of shit!  Because you can’t tell me that you’re not in there somewhere!”

It’s the whole theme of the movie, and sometimes the theme of the frustration I feel when I can’t communicate with Jonah the way I wish I could.  Our bright, amazing, incredible little boy has such violent aggressions – and now juvenile arthritis and glaucoma to boot.  It ain’t fair.  He’s so brave.

Despite everything, little Boo, you are ten today — and I love you more than the earth and sky.

Baby Jonah, 2002

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart…

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