Remember those Choose Your Own Ending books? You know, the ones where you flip to page 24 to see what happens to the hero, and then, if that ending isn't up to snuff, you can check out page 31 and see an alternate ending. I was never very "good" at those books, always choosing the worst ending first and then subsequently flipping furiously to find something better, but I sometimes I wish I could plan my day that way. Don't like the result at 2:15? Just skip ahead to 3:35 and everything has been sorted out and neatly, peacefully resolved. I could have used that yesterday.
It was a trying day with The Boy; the kind that, thankfully, has been few and far between these days. I'm not sure what triggered it, but The Boy was running on overdrive, every sensation, noise, and action grating on him until he broke down. Multiple times. His nervous system double-crossed him, left him in the lurch, and I am afraid that I left him there as well.
I try to see things from his perspective, but for someone who senses things normally, I find it almost impossible. I try to imagine burning my lips on a scalding cup of coffee while wearing a hair shirt, riding a roller coaster, and having the person next to me screaming in my ear. But really? It's pretty hard to imagine all of that happening at once. Usually, the best I can do is to remind myself of the problem, pray for strength, and take it from there.
To be honest, it isn't even his sensory-related difficulties that push me over the edge. It is his response to his haywire system that wears me down, because I fear for him. I fear that he will never behave "normally"; that he will always be the child who retreats to a corner to watch a spinning wheel because the room is too loud for him to process. That he will always be the one to repeat a question 25 times in a row, despite being answered, because it is the only way he can make sure of something when even his body doesn't tell him what is certain. I don't want him to be ridiculed, because he tries, oh bless his heart how he tries. I've secretly watched him try to manipulate pieces of train track while telling himself "I can do it," only to have his hands and brain fail him. I don't want to fail him, but I came pretty close yesterday. After carefully testing the temperature of his food, I told him it was safe to eat, only to have him throw down his fork and cry out because the food was too hot -- to him. I told him to try his yogurt while his chicken cooled, but he couldn't modulate the force needed to get a spoonful of yogurt and he ended up flinging it onto his pants and shirt. More crying and more spilling ensued until emotions were at a fever pitch and I just took his plate away. I cringe when I think of it. What's that? Problems with motor planning and fine motor skills? Yeah, I'll just be taking your dinner plate away then, 'mmkay? I mean, would I have done that to anyone else who was in my care? I don't want the answer.
After all was said and done, The Boy got the ending he deserved. Once his plate was removed, he sat there looking at me through the deep green pools of his eyes, with his mouth turned down in a perfect heartbreaking arc, and said quietly, "But Mom, you're in the feeding chair." There it was - the eraser I needed to wipe the slate clean. So I turned in my chair, the one I always sit in to feed the baby, and I slowly fed him his yogurt.
Did I help him with his fine motor skills? No.
Did I help him learn to recognize the strength needed to use a spoon himself? No.
Did I put a balm on his heart by feeding him and helping him to bed? You better believe it.
I'll let you decide which ending was the best.