Making it Better

First, this isn't a cute post about kindergarten. Just so's ya know...

This is a post about feeling very urchin-like and prickly and sore. I'm not sure how an urchin can feel sore while being prickly, but this wee lady urchin is feeling like things have been a bit much. That said, it's getting better.

Last week, we had some trouble with our Gus Kitty. The vet put him on some meds to help stimulate his appetite. That stimulated a lot of other problems. Here's the index:

Days of Upset Kitty: Seven
Number of Kitty Messes Cleaned Up: Several
Visits to vet: 2
Number of feline meds administered: Five
Amount spent: about $400
Number of Sad Kitty Looks that Ripped My Heart Out: Too many to count.
Thankfully,  Gus seems to be feeling better and we now have a new vet whose care plan seems reasonable to the humans and respectful to our very senior cat. Yeay, Kitty.

Last week, we had some (no, LOTS) of fuss and trouble with school and homework and eye exercises.  There is no index for this since counting tears and trying to quantify frustration only makes me depressed. Our new eye therapist is well-intentioned, but gave us some exercises which are a bit cognitively beyond what Kiddo can do. One problem is that due to his ocular motor dysfunction, Kiddo tends to tilt his head to suppress the image from one eye or the other, so his brain is only processing one image instead of the image from both eyes. He has to self-check this for the eye exercise, and this is really, really difficult for him at this age. It would be a perfect exercise a year or two from now, but when you are five and trying hard and not 'getting it', there is high potential to feel like a failure and get down on yourself. Which is what happened.

The homework isn't too bad. It's just running in conflict with his desire to play. Everything is 'after homework'. 

And then at school, he got upset because there was a 'scary story about people who were mad at each other and then someone was lowered into a cave'. This was from the week before, and I checked it out with his awesome teacher. She mentioned that it was a book-on-tape version of 'The Rescuers' and I explained to him that there are lots of things about school other kids don't like, but that they have to deal with and just do.  This, like it or not, is his. I know he's pretty sensitive to 'scary' and I respect that at home (because when he's done being scared of things, then he's over it. It's not an act.), but I also know that school is going to be different. 

So, I read him "The Book of Scary Things" hoping that a book which talked about scary stuff would neutralize it a bit.  Instead, I have now unwittingly introduced him to the idea of monsters under the bed. 

Luckily, we have a load of felt-toothed plush dinosaurs to stand guard. 

And then this morning, I responded favorably to a post written by a father, who was angry because  he'd taken his  little girl to  G-rated "Cinderella' and she was scared by a preview for a PG horror movie. When I mentioned my little guy was sensitive to this stuff too, another poster replied that unless a child is autistic, being afraid of the thrilling content I described was not 'normal'. And that I was overprotective. 

She is now first on my list of  People  I Would Like To Punch In the Neck.

So, what did we do to make things all better? Well, on Friday I picked up Kiddo from his half-day kindergarten and we went out for lunch, out to sushi, where my scaredy-cat child ate sea eel and edamame and loved it.  We bought the cobwebby Halloween stuff for our porch that he's been asking about since last October. (Now we need black pipe cleaners to make 'spiders' for the web.) We watched the start of a great BBC dvd called "Oceans" and he rather fearlessly flew down our low-grade hill on his scoot bike. Even when he decided to stop himself by aiming toward a pole, he got back up and brought his bike up the hill, smiling. "Did you see that?"

(Oh, honey, of course I did. I think my heart saw it and stopped for a moment.)

He had a favorite babysitter while we took Kitty to the vet. His playhouse in the backyard was worked on.  A happy surprise for him, Saturday night-- we met up with his dear playmate and her folks and went out to pizza.  On Sunday he had a few adventures, and the last thing we did yesterday was to let him choose which game to play before bedtime.  And the dinosaurs were still there to protect a sleepy boy when things got a little 'scary'. (Thanks, cousin Nate, for so thoughtfully passing your dinos on to your little cousin.)

This afternoon looks promising. I know there will be more homework, eye exercises. He did a rather naughty thing yesterday-- I won't say what-- but part of the consequence, we decided, would be extra chores, so he's going to have a stack of kitchen and bathroom linens to fold and put away. So, add that to the list. But we also have ways to make life better: a nice snacktime already planned out; the promise of watching that King Crimson concert dvd he loves; another daring scoot-bike journey through the neighborhood. Enjoying the exciting book we're now reading: Holling Clancy Holling's "Seabird".

Even with all the chaos and some days, heartache, I do love my son just for who he is: a small, creative, bright, thoughtful kid who is sensitive, jokey, silly, and who is a good friend because he adores his friends. A boy who is brave in the ways that really matter in this world. (Okay, not with dogs, but still... some kids are great with dogs and not so good with people. We all have areas we could improve in.) A kid who does keep trying, even when it's hard. A kid who is dealing with the daily challenge of actually seeing correctly, and who doesn't complain much about it.

I'm proud of that Kiddo of ours. There's so much more to come, and after last week, I am grateful for where we are today. It'll be another ride on that roller-coaster we call LIFE,  I am sure, but what the hell? You pays your money, you takes your chances. Besides, there's a bar across our laps holding us into our seat, so we don't fly out. 

That's called love.


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