We’re home, since Wednesday evening.
We were overjoyed to see Martin, who seemed to share the emotion. He spent Wednesday evening running excitedly around the apartment, pointing alternately to me and Adrian, exclaiming, “That’s Mommy! That’s Daddy!” He showed off some new skills, too. He’s riding a bicycle, an upright model with training wheels that my mother puchased while we were away. Martin pushes the pedals and steers and calls, “Help! Help!” when he gets himself stuck. He’s also taking pills without assistance. If I hand him a capsule and ask him to swallow it, he pops the thing into his mouth and obliges. Pretty cool stuff.
At the same time, I can’t deny that, in some areas, he’s “off.” I have to call his name several times to get a response. When he does finally answer, he maintains eye contact only briefly. He’s unfocused and difficult to control. He’s thrusting his lower jaw forward, grinding his teeth again. And he’s taken to wearing a too-small winter vest, even in the house. Even to bed. He started this while Adrian and I were in Israel. Samara speculates that he may have been associating the vest with us and therefore finding reassurance in it. I (being Debbie Downer, as I am prone to) suspect that its something more like the weighted vests often recommended for autistic kids, to help them feel secure when their senses are processing haphazardly. In any event, it’s a new behavior, and one with which we are not pleased. He just does not seem to be doing as well as before we left.
I’m asking myself what all this means.
Clearly, my mother did an outstanding job with Martin while Adrian and I were vacationing. She followed his supplement routine scrupulously, taught him to ride a bicycle, and generally loved the heck out of him. One of my brothers was here from Boston too, playing with Martin and—to needle me, his New Yorker sister—taking pictures of Martin in Red Sox apparel and posting them on Facebook. So inadequate care has nothing to do with Martin’s slight backslide. Other possibilities I’m considering are anxiety at not understanding when his parents would return; a stale supplementation routine (he’s due for some changes, which we were waiting to implement until after vacation); and the change in routine, i.e., lack of school for a week-and-a-half.
I’ve promised repeatedly not to let the day-to-day ups and downs of the process get to me. But I do, of course. Yesterday, with Martin’s attention AWOL, I tripped and stumbled into the doldrums. I blamed myself, for being gone. I felt hopeless, for losing some of our great recent progress. I … whatever. There is no sense re-hashing a bad day. Samara works late on Fridays, so Adrian and I went grabbed dinner and went to see The Iron Lady. I fell asleep half an hour into the movie and woke to the closing credits. I felt better.
Does this mean I’ll never go away again, until Martin is recovered? No, probably not. Adrian would never stand for that, anyway. He’s my sanity check. More likely it just means it will be a while.
Now is the time to figure out what’s going on with my little man. Head up. Done with feeling sorry for myself.
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