My seventeen year old came home on Saturday. He was well regarded by both the other kids and the adults on staff. He is getting a reputation for being steadfast,hardworking and fun. He is also good looking and soft spoken around girls which gets their attention (which he pretends he doesn’t notice). He came home at nine in the evening and was at work by six the next morning. I was impressed. Remember,this is my son who lost his cognitive ability when he hit puberty.I can remember watching him forget how to use his fork at dinner. I remember the neuropsych telling me he presented like a stroke patient at age 12. He is the son who was diagnosed with Schizoid disorder at 14. He is now taking on leadership positions in CAP,working with the public on a weekly basis and my rock among the kids at home. He is also dead funny and well read. If I could just get him to finish high school,learn to drive etc……
On the way home from picking him up he told me “Thanks for making me write all those papers,mom” It seems he had to write a five hundred word essay in an hour and did it without difficulty. I thought it was the nicest thing he has ever said to me. All the years of school battles made worth it. This son is becoming less and less like a teen and more and more like the man he will soon be.
He’s been an easy son to parent (mostly).
My youngest son is simply hard. He is on his honeymoon and he is exhausting. We scale this son 1-10. It is my husband and I’s shorthand for behavior intensity. 1-2 means he is easily redirected and pleasant to be around. 3-4 he is edgy and needs a lot of redirection,but does accept it. 5-6 is getting into the danger zone. He takes redirection but he does it with death glares,muttering under his breath and is purposefully annoying others. 7 is not following any direction,purposefully annoying others,becoming verbally angry and posturing. This is the barking,cussing stage. 8-9 he needs restrained because he is a danger to others. 10 is when I should be calling the police.
He is honeymooning at a 3-5. He’s switching so fast I am having trouble keeping up. Trying to figure out triggers is nigh on impossible. Trying to figure out what age to parent him at is also very difficult. He watches the world like a movie. He doesn’t really engage well. He does all the little RAD behaviors designed to make others crazy. Well,I can do RAD (to an extent) but at what age????? I am tending to parent his youngest age which appears to be about three or four tops. This irritates him on those times he is age appropriate. Even when he is age appropriate, he has three different speech patterns and different things can set him off. I am having to constantly be alert,constantly observe while appearing not to. I am having to keep my voice pleasant and calm always. Any irritation causes him to switch. Nothing at all can also cause him to switch. He will be appropriately talking to my fourteen year old and suddenly ignore him and start drumming his fingers or belching on purpose simply to annoy.
He is like a black hole,sucking the life and happiness out of our home. Even my FASD fourteen year old knows better than to react and show him he has effected him. We are all on hyper alert ,ignore the bits of bizarre, and pretend all is normal. The only thing that my son tells me is keeping him home is he does not want to go to juvenile prison. my husband asks him nightly to compare home with being locked up. He asks nicely. He asks with he purpose of reminding our son it is better at home. For two days my son worked very hard to triangulate my husband and myself. He is now trying to triangulate his brothers. It didn’t work with his dad and I and it isn’t going to work with his brothers either. I am sure he will try again when my daughter comes home.
Every morning I pray to see this child as God sees him. I pray for God’s patience (as mine are already worn thin). I pray for vigilance to prevent problems. I pray for wisdom. I pray I can keep up with the other kids needs. I pray for strength.
This is just plain hard.