Monday, August 22, 2011

The Rose Colored Glasses of FASD

As we quieted down for our bedtime routine, my son lay peacefully calm and still with his head on his pillow, cheeks flushed from a full day of sunshine and play, three fingers in his mouth sucking away self-soothingly. He listened quietly as his brother prayed, then it was his turn. He wrapped up his prayers with a... “Thank you God for a WONDERFUL day. (His emphasis on the “wonderful”, not mine.) And thank you for playing the Star Wars matching game and for our food...Amen”.

My heart softened with love pouring over for this precious angel holding my hand, wrapping his arms around my neck, wanting kisses on his cheeks.  Oh! If you had only been a fly on the wall in my house from noon until 6:30 pm.  There was no “wonderful day” taking place. There was frustration flowing.

He couldn’t do anything ‘right’ today. Constantly teasing his brother, having a rough fast-engine with the neighbor kids, moving, moving, moving his body ALL day long. I gave him 1 minute time-ins to sit and catch his breath; 1 minute hugs to calm his body. I increased the down time breaks to 5 minutes. As soon as the time was up and we had discussed “is it ok to ever throw rocks?” “no mom, I get it, ok”  Yeah. Okay for all of the 5 seconds it took him to fly out the door. And throw rocks again. 

Constantly redirecting and working our way up to 10 minute in the house breaks to calm him from the chase game going on out in the front yard with the neighbor kids. Only to have the break end with us talking about reminders of not grabbing someones toy and not hitting other kids with hot wheel him walking out the door after four...count them...1..2..3..4..separate reminders not to do him immediately doing it and having to be redirected into the house. Again.

Yeah. That was the “wonderful day” we had.

What frustrates the dickens out of me is also what draws me into loving him so deeply. His childlike rose colored glasses that remember only the great things of the day...rolling with the dog on the lawn, catching a cricket with his brother, playing a board game with mom, reading stories before lights out.

I learn from him again today: Breathe deeply. Self soothe. Relish meals. Praise God for the joys of the day. Keep the good things foremost in my mind. And sleep hard.

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