Monday, May 17, 2010

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

The last post I wrote about Jacob having a terrible, aggressive episode happened about 3 weeks ago. I debated putting it here- although I want my friends and family to understand the most difficult times we face with Jacob, I also want to protect myself from criticism and showing the world what can happen behind closed doors. It can be both embarrassing and humbling to let people into my private moments. In the end it always makes me feel relief at getting it out of my system through writing it out, and helps me to understand what I need to do next.

I got many responses and words of advice from other parents, assuring me of their sympathy but encouraging me to continue with the method of restraint for a measured amount of time. If no progress was being made after this time frame expired, then would be the time to look for another alternative.

Good advice. I accepted that as my plan but have not had to use it again. Thank heavens.

This afternoon I got a call from the school today saying Jacob was being very aggressive with staff and students on the playground. His teacher asked if we had started a new medication. I had mentioned to her last week that we are looking for an alternative to his mood-disorder meds, which are being discontinued, and in my mind I assumed she was placing the blame for today's meltdown on this possible change instead of something that could be happening in the classroom or with a peer.

I didn't take it that seriously, assuming, again, that whatever drama they were witnessing couldn't be that big of a deal and that they were probably just overreacting to a relatively minor temper tantrum.

Tonight as Jacob was preparing for a bath and getting a messy diaper changed, he freaked out. Chris and I were both right there and, as far as we could tell, nothing out of the ordinary or unexpected was happening. But Jacob went from happy and compliant to hysterical and violent in a flash.

He was scratching us, biting, spitting, throwing everything his little hands could grab towards our heads, and using every part of his body to thrash around and inflict pain on his dad and I.

We tried to clam him for a minute before I said we needed to hold him down. There were no other options we could see and we had no debate- we each immediately took an arm and pulled him to his bedroom, struggling with his 165 lb frame of very determined and angry strength.

It took 40 minutes. We didn't have to hold quite as hard- not so tight that we worried about bruising him and us like last time- but he did wrangle an arm free to hit us and headbutted at every opportunity. It was, in my estimation, 10% easier than the time before.

Improvement. It may be coincidental and we won't know that until the next time, but I am going to keep optimistic for now. Hope- The buzz word of America and one I am holding onto tightly. Without hope for change and improvement I would be drowning.

I will be calling his teacher in the morning. She deserves my respect because, no matter what the circumstances that set him off, I know better than anyone that this kid of mine is a challenge. Tonight reminded me to keep advocating for my son while supporting those who are trying to help him.

Jacob has been perfectly pleasant for the last 2 hours. We layed together on his bed and hugged, face pressed to face, tears in both our eyes, and spoke our silent love for one another. I am so blessed with this unconditional love that helps me to quickly forget the pain and focus on the child that I have been given. His beauty, his open heart, his innocence- these qualities far outweigh everything else.

A word about Chris. In just 3 weeks will be celebrating our 14th anniversary. I am so lucky to have a husband, a partner in parenting, who is so quick to forgive and love. His physical strength, his patient manner, his genuine acceptance of everyone, faults and all- I couldn't ask for more of a man.

With tired body but swelling heart,



Jill said...

Wow, I saw your comment on my blog so of course I linked over. That sounds difficult and heart breaking, and I don't think people would judge you, and if they did then they're those types of people no one likes anyway.

My close friend's son is autistic, but he's still young and a little stick, but he can be strong so I couldn't image haven't a child that is bigger to contend with.

You are a superstar--and your husband.

I have another blog--my personal one, I'm not sure how you got to my photo one, but if you want to check it here it is

I too am an indie music lover. We would be friends.

Wetzel said...

Alaina, my heart goes out to you and Jacob--to the whole family. I think you're doing the right thing. And good for you, trying again, even though the first time with Jacob was so tramatic. I hope, with you, that this will help. This is just another testament to me how much you love your son, you are willing to do the things that seem so aweful for him, becuase you know it may be the only way to keep him home, to help him learn a different behavior. I am amazed at how much love you are filled with for your whole family.

We can't wait to see you next week!