Powell has been doing so well lately. So well, in fact, that some days I can almost forget he has these diagnoses which I try not to let define him.
Yesterday my husband and I marveled at how he played quietly and intently with his dinosaur sensory box all by himself for half an hour, then spent another half hour in his room drawing pictures. On actual paper. Six months ago this child had no interest in picking up a marker for anything other than scribbling on the couch or the wall, and was afraid to be alone in any room of the house. He truly has come so far.
And then, today. Today, I am reminded how I was feeling on a daily basis six months ago.
Powell woke up at 6:30 this morning, completely manic from the time his feet hit the floor. Running around the house, climbing the furniture, crashing into the walls, laying on top of his sister despite her angry protests, yanking pictures off the fridge, basically spinning out of control. I tried to get him to jump on his trampoline. Daddy let him squish cream cheese and shredded cheddar between his fingers for the breakfast omelets. Still manic. Then, all is quiet for a few minutes. This sets my radar off. I find Powell on the couch with a tube of cortisone cream, half the tube emptied out and smeared all over his body. “I felt itchy,” he says innocently.
OK. So maybe a long soak in a warm epsom salt bath will calm down the wild beast in him a bit. And it does. After his bath, he and his sister watch “Land Before Time” and color in the living room (it’s a rainy day, in case you’re wondering why I haven’t thrown his hyperactive little rear out in the back yard to run around). After a while, I walk through the living room and happen to notice a green Sharpie lying on the couch. Uh-oh. (How does he manage to find the Sharpies, when I am always so careful to stash them high out of reach?!) Sure enough, there is a huge slash of green across the back of the couch. The same exact shade of green that’s in Powell’s picture.
Not wanting to scream at him, I put up the Sharpie and retreat to my room for a few deep breaths. I’m already frustrated because I can’t for the life of me find a clean surface anywhere in the house on which to fold a load of laundry. Powell follows me to my room. He begins grabbing containers off my dresser and nightstand. “What’s this, Mom? Can I open it and see what it is?” as he is already opening tins of hand cream and lip balm.
“NO! Put my stuff down! This is my room! Go to your room and play with your stuff!!” I shout as I burst into tears.
“Mom, are you sad? Mom, are you crying? I’m sorry Mom, I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your fault buddy,” I muster, ashamed. “It’s not your fault.” And I embrace my sweet child in my arms.
Today has been a challenging day, and it’s only noon. But tomorrow will be better.