Monday, April 14, 2014

I want to be like them when I grow up!

Over the past few weeks my sweet husband and I have been working on completing admission paperwork to the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio. This extensive process has us creating narratives of our entire journey with our persevering preschooler. Starting at the beginning, in that dated hotel room in Russia, we began to lay out every step. Every step forward, every step backwards, every misstep.

These narratives include mainly our concerns and issues, and very little of our successes. Which we have done purposely, because we know our little guy needs help and we want him to get it. We know our entire family needs help. Despite our leaps and bounds we still have a long way to go.

And so we have been remembering the chaos, the sad, the am I the only parent who feels this way questions. Not fun, for sure. But because of this forced trip down memory lane we have also found ourselves pointing out how far we have all come since those fateful days in that musty Russian hotel room. And I do mean how far we have all come, because this journey does not just belong to our youngest son. We have all been on the rocky road, sometimes together, sometimes standing alone.

My sweet husband keeps saying things like, "Remember that next time Alex flips out."

And I do remember. This weekend alone my sweet baby worked through so many of his issues and emerged triumphant on Sunday evening. He did manage to get himself, his brother, and his grandparents thrown out of a childrens' museum, but really, that is nothing for my little guy.

He handled a busy weekend - a large Easter egg hunt filled with bustling children, competition, and, of course, candy. Attendance at a church he is unfamiliar with and where he spent time in both the sanctuary and the childrens' area.  Again, more bustling children, which is one of his triggers. He cheered his older brother on at the first Spring flag football game of the season. He spent two nights with his grandparents, without his usual bedtime rituals. He was an amazing Sensory and Trauma success! And yes, I am ignoring the Great Childrens' Museum Incident of 2014. His misdeed occurred during free play with other children, one of his biggest triggers. My sweet husband and I learned that lesson the hard way, and now so have the in-laws.

Late last week my persevering preschooler and I were reading a book that his bus aide gave him. (I know, right? What a sweet woman this aide is!) The main character in this book was a blanket, and the story was about how the little boy was never going to leave the blanket. Just like Mommy will never leave Alex. After we read the book my young son asked why he didn't have a blanket. Now before you get all upset that my sweet little baby doesn't have a blanket, let me put your mind at ease. He does have blankets. LOTS of blankets. But he really doesn't have a small one that can travel with him. He did, but he never used them, and now Lord only knows where they are. Still packed in a box, probably. But now, now he wants a blanket. "Like my brother's", he tells me.

His brother overheard this request. "He can have one of my Brown's blankets, because I have two." Wow. Just WOW.

The conversation ended and the boys went to Grandma's for the weekend. Frankly, I forgot about this simple request. But my smart seven year old didn't forget. This morning my oldest son showed up in the living room much earlier than needed, trailing his pillow, stuffed animals, and two Brown's blankets.  I watched as he handed one over to his little brother. "Are you sure?", I whispered to my brave son. "I have two. And he wants one."

There was a time when my oldest son would never had dreamed of sharing any of his precious belongings, especially not with his demanding and confusing little brother. There was  a time when his younger brother's antics would make him angry and frustrated. There was a time when he couldn't see the positive changes in his growing brother.

So we still have little to no eye contact. We still have stilted conversations and lots of melt downs. We still have refusal to learn, well, anything from me. We still have oh so many issues. But we also have more smiles from our youngest than blank stares. More joy. More participation in family. More understanding. And more brotherly love. My boys, they are right on track. They are getting it right. And I am in awe of them. I want to be like them when I grow up!

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