Monday, September 28, 2009

One for Two

There are some days that I feel about as sharp as I did in my Sophomore year at college (my most indulgent) the day after a big party; hung over and dopey. Only today I suspect the dopiness came from the Co-Advil I've been taking to help with my lingering virus symptoms. 

My son had two therapy appointments today, only one of which went well. I had a hard time believing it was the same boy, there was such a world of difference between the two. It was like watching Baby Mr. Hyde transform back in Boyish Dr. Jeckle and wondering where he was hiding his potion.  

"I've never seen him like this before," his occupational therapist remarked. 

This morning he got up at 5 a.m. and by the time she arrived at 10:30 a.m., he was so tired he just cried and clung to me like he was Pooh bear and I was his last jar of honey. He moaned and kvetched and pushed his face into my neck. 

It was my first time meeting this therapist - I was working from home today - and I was a little embarrassed and bewildered. 

"He might just be tired," I said, "Or it could be that I'm here - he may act a little differently with me around."

"Sure is something," she said, "He looks so upset."  

We made several attempts to distract him, or to let me work with him, but ended up having to reschedule later in the week. 

She was very gracious about it, but rational or not, I felt like a dopey parent. 

"Probably messed up his schedule by being here," I thought after she left, "not used to me here; and I was no help."

Self indulgent and incorrect, but to be honest, exactly what I was feeling - a hopeless case. Some days I just don't feel all that bright. 

While these negative thoughts were working through my head, I put my son down for a nap and went back to working. 

"Get over it and work," I told myself firmly. After a while I was able to do it. I heard his tears subside and stop. He slept for a good three hours without so much as a peep.  

"Must have been exhausted," I thought, feeling a little better that it might truly have been the cause of the meltdown, "just wanted a nap."

My feelings were confirmed when his physical therapist arrived at 4:30 p.m. and he literally jumped off the floor - he must have cleared three inches - with a little hip hop move from a seated position. 

"Whoa, Mister," she said delightedly, "Glad to see me huh?"

She flashed me a quick smile and then followed the little guy to the stairwell (he led the way) for their first drill of climbing stairs. I heard them recede slowly as he let out little battle cries of delight as he ascended each new step. It was like listening to a little tropical bird let out chirps at each happy moment in the day. 

"Thank goodness," I thought, "Mr. Cheerful is back." 

Then it occurred to me - he was just tired and had a mood swing. Maybe an obvious observation, but it blew me away; kind of like the other night when the spell checker kept flagging my spelling of the word "beetle" (the bug) when I spelled it "beatle" (the band) and I realized that not only did I not know how to spell beetle, but I also had missed the fact that The Beatles had not just a silly name, but a bad pun on "beat" - duh!  

"A mood swing," I thought, "like what I have when I haven't slept or have had the rare second beer and wound up with a headache. Huh! Little guy's big enough for bad moods. Who knew?"

I finished off my day of work feeling better. I made a note to be on hand some future time the OT came around and to be sure the kid had a nap first. I ordered a pizza (another Sophomore ritual) and called it a day. 

"One outta two kid," I said as I cut little pieces of pizza off for him, "No beer for you tonight, just milk."

Just to be safe though, I went to the fridge afterwards and counted the two little brown bottles. 

"He is climbing now, and he was in a bad mood..." I thought "you never know." 


Elizabeth said...

Oh, yes. It's amazing sometimes what we expect from our children with special needs. I often forgot, when my daughter was little, that she had "bad" days or "tired" days just like a typical kid might. And, fourteen years later it still takes a reminder, a check to not overly blame myself or involve myself in what might just be her deal, her journey. Hope this makes sense. I'm new to your blog and enjoying your unique father perspective.

David Sexton said...

Thanks Elizabeth. That's exactly what I felt today.