This past week Martin has displayed long-forgotten symptoms: clumsiness, running circles around our apartment, low name responsiveness, even some toe-walking. Toe walking! What’s up with that? His attention has gone MIA, and his daytime sleepiness makes me suspect nighttime restlessness. He is inserting into his mouth anything he can get his hands on. And when he can’t get his hands on anything, he simply inserts his hand.
Times like this used to trigger hopelessness in me. All this work, I would think, and we’ve gone nowhere?
I’m more sanguine these days. So we’re tanked—big deal. Paradoxically, Martin’s language has been stronger than ever, notwithstanding the symptomatic behavior. As to that behavior, maybe the blame lies with the onslaught of pollens and other allergens our early spring has brought. Or else residual dust or cement particulates from our recent mini-renovation (we had some work done in the apartment when I took Martin to visit his grandparents over spring break) could be bothering Martin. Most likely, we need to tweak something in his supplementation protocol.
Whatever it is, we’ll figure it out. I know that we’re tanked only temporarily. I’ve seen what Martin can do and know we’ll get back there, and beyond.
Of course, feeling calm overall, on a general basis, does not translate into rationality every minute. This weekend Martin and I were riding a carousel, on horses side-by-side, when I caught him arching his back and stretching his neck to look at the ceiling and even behind him. That’s a sensory stimulant, one that’s been gone more than a year; it used to be hard to take Martin to restaurants, because he would throw his head back so far from the highchair that he blocked aisles, and I fretted about decapitation by waiter or bathroom-bound patron.
On the carousel I was alarmed and disheartened to see the behavior reemerge.
“Martin,” I said, “sit up like a big boy. No throwing your head back.”
Martin complied and straightened his back, but 10 seconds later he leaned back, hands clutching the horse’s pole, and gazed upward.
“Martin, please. Sit up like a big boy.”
Martin complied again, then said, “There are flowers up there.”
“What?” I asked. “Where?”
“Right there!” He threw back his head and pointing to the carousel’s ceiling.
I looked and saw what had caught his eye: lovely flowers hand-stenciled above us.
False alarm. No sensory stimulation. Just Martin appreciating the world around him.
“Martin, those flowers are lovely.”
Adrian helps Martin with his balance on a weekend stroll.