Kid Blur

Some days I fake rigor mortis hearing my son race down the hall at a clip…five, four, three, two, one…BANG!…Six years of age, new to earth, he does not yet know a good life can be had in sip doses, how to walk the earth instead of run it, how to quiet himself.  A 10x box of sugar in a blender kind of kid, for who, standing still, is a challenge.  A blur hollerer, his  lemon Jell-o screams seep under the doors, find my sponge cake mind, cornered.  The quiet slammed to pieces.  Some days, I roll over.  Some days, I take a stand and say, lets eat cake.

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How April!

 

Surreal, how April is autism and poetry month, how poetic really,

Surreal, too, I imagine, how it must be to be autistic, or poetic, maybe both. I watch fish in a tank, imagine how one can only get so close to being a fish if one is not a fish.  I try imagining myself as a fish inside the tank looking out, trying to figure out why the family is rushing past, or what’s a family? I imagine myself saying, as a fish. 

Outside looking in, inside looking out.

Every morning my six-year-old son and I “swim” to our car, get into our “submarine.” We putter past imaginary blow fish near the mailbox.

“Pink reefs over there!” I say to my son. 


Today we saw a spotted blue whale with cute spotted blue whale babies over a glen plaid hill, shrieked at too close sharks chasing us to school before the first bell.

I imagine myself painting the painting at home and someone buying the painting.

“How nice,” I imagine I say to my son when I’m done, “someone bought the painting of our family, the picture now hangs on someone’s family room wall (maybe over a fish tank).

Surreal how April is autism and poetry month.

 

How To Make a U Turn

Today, on a hike, I decide to make my bed only on major holidays.  Awesomeness.  I then give myself a virtual star, pat on my back, for a job well-done, being solution minded, proactive, and out exercising with my six-year-old son as he runs ahead of me yelling at the mountain, the day, the path.

Today I am ahead, even thinking ahead, all points for me.

In wonder mode, I wonder how I could have forgotten my son’s meds yesterday, chastise myself about something I cannot afford — forgetting.  How forgetting sets off a sequence of awfulness.

Awfulizing anquishifications.  AaaaAAAAAAgghghgh!!!

I employ the only tool I have, try the “U” turn one.  The begin again one.  The one I learned from my son, his summer “camp” last summer.

“Try again.  Do over,” the teacher said at some behavior aberration.

Yesterday, as a result of his no medication midday, when I picked him up from school, he hit me flat palmed across my face while we sat in my car making plans.  I reached for consciousness, for that lovely responsive mother I want to be.  I found the glovebox empty.

A difficult moment, these, managing him in upsets, helping him transitioning from school to the next thing.  Me too.  Changing course, beginning anew, U-turn ones.  Even to remember I have tools, much less the finding of them, the ‘finding my breath,’ the counting up or down ones, practicing to get it in his practice, his toolbox, concepts he learns in therapy, I put in mine.  Some all but lost to me at crystal moments.

While he exploded, we sat in the car, my son screeching behind me.  I sat pointing at his car seat behind me, for him to return to it.  A sculpture holding the steering wheel with my other hand as my son twisted in his flailing lash-outs.  A regular front lawn Remington Mom fixed for time, something the world needs more of, bronze mothers, chilling.

Later, in a sensory seeking moment, his meds running low, he ran down the house hall crashing his right hand through a bedroom door window.  Needing something to pound, might as well be the glass.

How lucky he was not to have gotten hurt.  More, how lucky I was.

“Go get the broom,” I said.

Drama sucks.  And how it must suck to be caught in his dragon fire skin.  This, how I imagine my son must feel.  It sucks breath on my side too.

How, at his age, his can only mind himself in small degrees.  His caregivers — mother, father, brother, teacher, therapists — “outside brain.”  How he so wants to be in control, I do too.  Or, else the fears set in.  His and mine.  He just tips into survival mode.  Speeding to high, tipping to panic, almost unreachable for soothing.

Days I wonder how many meds, behaviorists, diet, exercise reiterations, new BFF-music-action-hero-mindful kite therapies must I throw at our tiny boy?

His autism lays me low.  Lays him lower.  Exhausted, I cannot unplug forever in a spa.  Today as good as any day to discover the almighty U-turn, begin again minute, the next minute one.

A day in a minute, I come to believe life, the work of God and His arsenal of earth workers, saint-sinner, angel-sentient beings, goodwill ambassadors, universe teachers, earth or heaven-bound, good triers, all supporting us.

A madness not to be in control of one’s self.

Today I feel his pain, hold tight on the wheel.  Form a triangle with my hands.  Grip thumbs on my wheel.  I do not say a thing, tell myself, to hang in one minute longer, re-frame life, fold up my hope tent, give-it-over, give-it-up to angels.

Soon enough some kind of grace comes, a low interest loan helping me keep my head as a special needs parent.  There will be many assumptions to untie by nightfall.

Some days the old adages seem best.  Tie, un-tie, re-tie, rather, than cut something out of the garden.   Do nothing, sit out the storm, sayings.

Times maybe I shouldn’t negotiate with Mr. Takeover but still I do, like today, when I said, “Let’s go for a hike.”

This pleased him to no end, “Okay!”

Play’s, the thing.  A language that does not come easy to my son or myself.  A hierarchy of play missed kids like mine.

Last summer we played according to plan.  Therapist-directed play that started with him as a lone player with his preferred toy, trains.  He played as if the two were one.  The goal, to progress up a play scale as neurotypical kids do.  Toy as agent-object, outside of the child, toward empathy.  Players playing, with other players, giving, taking, adding, sharing ideas folding, expanding, accepting.

A whole UN in a sandbox.  Peace has a taste somewhere between butter and fruit.

Our days of playing trains on the tracks started simple, we added buildings, airports, pirate ships, bridges, dinosaurs.

Moving up the play scale when we coupled our play with dolls — jumping in and out of the ‘doll as agent’ box — with our engineers, passengers, conductors, construction workers.  Change-ups my son allowed, affecting his senses  — boundaries — easing somewhat with peers,’ let downs improving with his flexible thinking.   His asking me to borrow a toy, a huge leap.  Rebounding, through failure key to games, sports, team, classwork, life.

What a strange country each day. His ‘visa’ not allowing us access to each other’s borders, language, ideas, much less moving along with other travelers, affecting his learning of social mores, ABCs, and numbers.

Kindergarten hard.

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What Difference Did It Make? Reflections On Autism And Early Intervention

Someday Trees

The chaparral ugly as sin.  Scratch hills, undergrowth, roots falling down cliffs, into the ebb flow stream – some trees almost airborne — knifing the air.

I, say, gimme the dirt, gimme the trees.

Some trees, half planted, half not.  Tree beast, they claw the sky.   The freak of nature trees with hallowed out trunks.  One tree, a mean protester over there minds an old offense still underway.  Another in the throes of surprise death — black as Stonehenge.  Some trees I do not approach.  I do not want to know what killed beauty.

And, what about the old oak tree growing behind the green house next door.  The tree grows through a granite boulder the size of Jupiter.  A big black scar on one side of the tree caused by a potted staghorn fern a prior owner hung for pretty’s sake — the water system withering the bark for years.  Eleven years forward, the tree, mends like a zippered scuba suit on its way to good health.

Crazy old tree I’ve got to run my hand over now and then.  To marvel at it — at the massive base, wonder how it still stands.

Nearby, a monument of tree.  A seven-hundred-year old beaut that sold us on buying our house.  A grand dame of a tree, a giantess, goddess tree.  Her dark trunk playing “tip the cow” with our house, limbs stretching over our roofline and drive, the span of which, a baseball diamond, holds up the patch of sky over the place.

This tree matriarch making no secret how she hates our sprawling house. Each of her ten trunks possess the girth of a well-fed carnival strongman, pulling at the house’s foundation and insides.  The charm of which the rooms a fun house slant in those rooms built around the tree over the last century.  Doorways unsquared, now complete with pass-through letterbox openings at their tops where door meets frame.  Hairline fissures crumbling plaster avenues where the frames meet walls.  The sock drawer sock sliding open all night and day makes for easier grab despite my husband’s country fixes at leveling furniture, sanding the cupboards.  For now at least we know in which corner to pick up our young son’s wheel toys.

This mature oak, majestic, could land us dead when it decides its time’s up.  And, me being Irish, long a believer in things invisible have taken the Hippocratic (Tree) Oath.  The “First Do No Harm to Trees” one, having gone so far as to have every passerbys kiss, hug, and climb this tree.  Earning, yielding us all fair measure of wee folk-channeled earthen blessings.

A full throttle treehug’s best.  What’s good for the soil, good for the soul.  Man, some days, beauty can be such a distraction.

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