I find myself mentally flailing a lot lately. Some of it is directly related to sleep deprivation. J has been waking most nights and staying up for an hour or three each time and we are both exhausted by it. This means we are in a cycle where meltdowns happen a lot too.
Oh, do they happen.
My heart breaks so badly when it comes to these. I know he’s struggling. I know he’s not being a bad child. He’s beyond what he can handle and he has no other means by which to tell me so the carefully constructed block tower of calm crumbles down. It takes a long time to rebuild that tower sometimes. Days, even. But, we do, and it’s just part of life. People unfamiliar with the circumstances might judge us harshly but as hard as it is to remember this in the moment, I know that’s more on them than us.
Yet, inside, I flail.
By the blessing and curse of the way I was raised, problem solving is huge for me. I always feel like I have to makes sure all that is somehow perceived as not right gets fixed. This is a heck of a boon when it comes to working in the customer service industry but a nightmare in day-to-day life sometimes. It’s hard sometimes, when my brain gets stuck in the rotten gears it once learned, to realize that rather than trying to obsess on fixing sometimes I have to ride things out and let the solutions shake out that way. This is where I am with J right now.
I can mitigate stressors whenever possible. I can plan in the ways only I know how to try to reach success but sometimes, ever last bit of that will blow up in my face. It happens to everyone, it’s just often louder when it happens to us. I have to learn that it’s okay when it does and I don’t need to fix, fix, fix. Learn the lessons, trudge onward and all that.
Meanwhile yesterday I took J to gymnastics class. You out there from his team that have seen him through since he was two and a half, re-read that. J went to gymnastics class and it was a huge success. Go do a victory dance around your office. You deserve it! I was ready and flailing internally before we even got in: New place, new sounds, a gym environment (echoes are the enemy), new people… But I had a little boy who is so very physical in all he does, he needs something more than what he has right now. So, despite some early horrors, we did it. He did it. And he did amazing.
I said to the instructor how even just six months ago, everything we did never would have happened. It’s true. The idea of going on a large trampoline was terrifying. A balance beam at a height for adults (with teacher support!)… Not happening. A huge pit of foam cubes into which he must jump from slightly varying heights? Madness. Bouncy castles and slides? He might go in one but he’ll just sit and look around at best if he even went in at all!
And he listened. Oh, how he listened! I sat across the trampoline while he sat with his instructor and the two other children in class. When she said stop, he hesitated, but he got off the trampoline and sat down. He struggled as little boys often do but he always came back to exactly what he should have been doing. He followed a long series of tasks, with assistance, and did all but one several times!
He’s melting down a lot. He’s not sleeping through the night. He’s struggling with eating from time to time and yet, he’s also making these mind-blowing strides. I said to his teacher yesterday that it’s like the shining diamond I know is in there under all this extraneous stone is finally starting to glimmer out, tiny bit by tiny bit, and it’s all thanks to a lot of people believing and seeing what it is I see in my boy.
This turned a lot more sappy than initially planned. Sorry folks!
Now to work on flailing less and letting him be the teacher a little bit more. He doesn’t know it but he’s the best teacher I’ve got.
A point of clarification for those who may be interested: The gymnastics class J attends is adaptive gymnastics, made for children with special needs. The class is small, the instructor we had (a substitute) was fantastically attentive as was the assistant. If you’re in the north of Boston area and are interested in more information drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you their information!