Tuesday 2 September 2014

Back to School: An Eerie Silence

Today, for the first time in weeks, a hush fell over the household.  Nathan had been safely delivered to his Grade 2 teacher and Alex was on his way to his autism program.

The quiet was disconcerting.  For the last two months, prolonged silence meant that my children were doing something they didn't want me to catch them at.  It left me feeling vaguely uneasy for most of the morning.

Of course, I do have actual reasons to feel uneasy.  Nathan's teacher did not call me back so I never had an opportunity to meet with her to discuss strategies for dealing with Nathan when he's upset.  I discovered she was away on vacation until a few days before class started and so did not have time.  We did talk briefly in June but that was almost three months ago, so I did want to have a chance to update and refresh.

There's also the challenge of dealing with both Alex's therapy and his school.  I'm picking him up at this point (since the transportation company apparently does not believe in doing things in advance) to bring him home to do therapy, which is a little bit of added stress in the day.  He's going to miss the weekly trips to go swimming with the other children in the program, which is likely to really upset him when he understands that.  I'm working on seeing if his therapists can work swimming into the schedule as a regular reinforcer but we'll have to see.

Both kids have been out of sorts and irritable through the weekend.  Anticipation of a transition, I suspect.  I'm hoping we all settle into a routine quickly.

Maybe it's the Disney trip looming over this month.  Maybe it's all the work I'm trying to get done on my novel to make sure its ready to publish (check out www.pastthemirror.com for further updates on that).  Maybe it's just leftover sadness from another summer biting the dust.  I'm feeling a lot of anxiety but I can't quite put my finger on any reason which seems sufficient for the level I'm dealing with.

I'm losing sleep worrying about Alex's future.  I'm afraid of not being able to get his aggressive behaviour under control.  He's doing better but when he loses it, he really loses it.  And we have further evidence of his lack of empathy with him provoking the cats all summer to make them hiss.  He thinks its funny and will go to great lengths to get a "fix" of hissing.  He's been going after them enough that we've had to discuss the possibility of finding them another home.

These are good reasons to worry but honestly, aside from the persistence of poking at the cats, there's nothing new here.  He's always had trouble with understanding why aggression is not simply a useful tool.

I worry about Nathan.  Grade 2 was when we had the bottom drop out on us for our hopes for Alex's integration (and with the same teacher Nathan currently has).  And Nathan has trouble controlling his behaviour when he's upset.  Again, he doesn't do it all the time, but when he does, it's spectacular.  I suspect that for both of them, they are trying to control their tempers more than they would appear to and thus it takes a pretty big feeling to overwhelm their control, which means a big explosion.

When I was younger and knew everything, I used to believe that people who were anxious all the time were worrying about nothing.  If they simply took some time and got a decent perspective on their lives, most of their perceived problems would present solutions.  Worrying distracted from finding answers.

I still believe that worrying distracts people from finding answers.  But sometimes the answers aren't out there to be found.

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