I used to study theatre. Some may call me dramatic.
I'm going to wait a sec while you all pick yourselves up off the floor that you just fell down on in bewilderment.
Everybody up? Ok.
I see this flair for the dramatic in both my boys, and most of the time it cracks me up and I love it. But when things are gloomy in the Jordan house, they are put-up-a-quarantine-sign-and-stay-away-for-the-love-of-god gloomy.
See what I mean about dramatic?
Anyway, our youngest is 13. I suppose 13 is the age where kids test their limits and try to get away with what they can get away with. Not that I did, mind you. From what I can recall, I was an angel. But I digress.
When we realize something needs to be addressed with TJ and Peter, they tend to get loud. They should be lawyers, they defend themselves so vigorously. TJ immediately yells when addressed with an issue, and Peter stays out of it. But when Peter is involved in an issue, and voices are raised, TJ is a percolator that we can see the pressure building and building, slowly, as the voices and tension build outside of and within him.
We try to keep voices calm - Sean and I speak calmly, as calmly as we can, and ask Peter to do the same. Sometimes this is hard for all of us (ok, for Peter and me) and voices are raised regardless.
We try to physically remove TJ from the area of discussion. We ask him to go to his room, explaining he is not in any trouble at all. That this issue is none of his business, and we need to talk to Peter alone.
But it doesn't really help.
Regardless of the issue at hand, TJ will start to swear under his breath (if he's in his room, it's yelled loud and clear). And it's always, always, anti-Peter.
So here is our struggle: how do you speak calmly to one boy, who is upset, while trying to keep the other boy, with sensory issues, calm, quiet, and out of his brother's business?
Sadly there is no answer. Sometimes TJ can calm himself down. Sometimes he has to go into full blown crisis mode to get over it. It's different every time, and just when I think TJ has made progress with this situation and is remaining calm, he will blow up out of nowhere.
It's tough. I love these kids so, so much, and I don't want either of them to suffer. When they do, it hurts me through and through.
But isn't this true in a "typical" family (not that any family is "typical", I suppose, but I mean one without autism)? Kids and parents alike have to learn how to negotiate through the tough times. Ours just may be a little tougher, or last a little longer, or get a little louder.
Or maybe not. Who knows?
All I know is that we all have made it this far, and TJ has learned and grown so much. We hold on to the hope that he will learn and grow through these bumps as well.
After summer downpours, one thing I love to do with my boys is run outside and look for the rainbow. More often than not, we find one. We know just where to look.
Our storm(s) will pass. We will find that evasive rainbow, by god.
I'm sure of it.
(and when I'm not sure of it, someone remind me, willya? Great, thanks.)