Strong-Arm

strong-arm (strawng-ahrm)
Adjective
using, involving, or threatening the use of physical force or violence to gain an objective
Verb
to use violent methods upon, assault
to rob by force
to coerce by threats or intimidation, bully

dictionary.com

Once a friend asked if I was afraid Jacob was going to hurt me. A fair question. My answer, “I’m more afraid I’m going to hurt him.”

I clearly remember being in junior high school and not wanting to walk past the special education classroom. I imagine most of you, if you’re honest, would say you had similar feelings, too, at one time or another. They were different from me. I was way more nervous and afraid than I should have been. The not knowing and understanding created uncertainty. Not being around them created unmerited fear.

I KNOW Jacob. I know he isn’t going to rare back and hammer me with his fist. Or throw a chair at me. Yes, he has accidentally hurt me. Once we were practically wrestling trying to get him to stay in the bedroom and go to bed. In the darkness of his room, he reached for me as I was moving toward him and his finger found my eye! I’ll spare you the painful details and not share the creepy picture, but, it hurt like crazy and it looked even worse. Imagine me trying to convince the MEA physician that my adult son had poked me in the eye. And that it was strictly an accident!

I’ve mentioned before about guys and gals that attend his day program being afraid of Jacob. It stings but it is their reality and I definitely get it. He has scared them one too many times by grabbing at them. Not hitting or being aggressive. But it can feel like an attack from a bully and can definitely make anyone uncomfortable.

Jacob isn’t a big fellow. I am continually thankful to God that he isn’t over 6’ tall like his brother. We celebrated when his weight hit 110 pounds. But, no kidding, his strength is deceiving!! Just ask the kind dental staff when he goes for a check up twice a year!!

I have often used the term ‘strong-arming me’ when I’m describing Jacob. Whether it is getting him dressed, shaving his handsome face, brushing his teeth, you name it; he will grab my forearms and lock his and it is really difficult to do a thing! I have had bruises on my arms from the supernatural strength in his fingers. I know. I know. It can’t be that hard to break free. It is. It just is. Remember, I don’t want to turn ninja and hurt him!

One morning I was in his room and sure enough, strong-armed. The TV was on and I don’t know whether it was a news feature or a regular show but it was about a family who had several adopted children with severe physical disabilities. THREE of them had no arms. It was inspiring to see how they had overcome such tremendous hardships. I was convicted right then and there. To be thankful Jacob has arms he can use that serve him well. And that he is strong.

“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet” .

Helen Keller

Puts things into perspective when you stop and think, right?

I am not afraid of Jacob but am concerned that the reflex of my initial response could injure him. After all, no one wants to have a finger jabbed in their eye. I mainly want to just diffuse a situation to redirect him and make sure neither of us gets hurt.

strong-arm (strông′ärm′)
“Leave me alone.”
“Don’t straighten my shorts!”
“Stop that!”
I don’t want that for breakfast.”
“I’m not ready.”
“Don’t touch me.”

-Jacob Pigford

He uses what he has to communicate and strong-arming is a language we both understand.

Once There Was …

an MP3 player who was well loved and brought great pleasure to its owner. It was loved so constantly and so hard that it couldn’t help but show some wear and tear. And try as it might, it wasn’t strong enough to keep serving it’s master day in and day out.

Because it was this young master’s main source of entertainment, his parents were always on the lookout for the next one. Knowing the day would come when, tragically, the MP3 player would most certainly meet an untimely death.

It’s owner, Jacob, would become very attached and as other things through the years, would struggle a great deal with accepting a replacement. Sometimes even if it was an identical match.

From the moment a new one is placed in his hands, it no longer ‘looks’ new. It will have been taped trying to hold the cover in place. The adapter secured with tape. And, more tape to lock the SC card in it’s slot. Everything taped! And, that’s the first day before it is handed over to our boy.

Often, Jacob will remove a knob and then be extremely frustrated with us when said knob doesn’t perform as before. Or snap the cover off, only to be bewildered when it won’t make music. Even though there is no CD in use, the player will not operate without a cover.

Once a text was received, with this picture, from his sitter:

Yes, it literally looks like the player exploded. Never fear—there was no heat or sparks associated with the damage. It was dropped one too many times and well, you can see the result. The industrious sitter did his best to perform surgery on the player but it was never the same.

I’ve lost count of how many players have been purchased through the years. Whether at a box store, direct website, Ebay, or other online source. Of course, the style he uses, the features that work well for him, are not always easy to find. Like other attachments he’s had that eventually need to be replaced, it gets harder and harder to find what we are looking for. And, like other things, I have a feeling that one day, his focus will shift to a new form of entertainment.

We keep a stash of ‘expired’ MP3 players knowing a spare knob might be needed, or a cover replaced, or perhaps a new handle snapped in until a new one is delivered.

But in the meantime, we will try our best to continue providing the service he expects from Mom and Dad. Time to pull out the next one, tape it up for battle, and go through the adjustment. Even though the player can’t possibly live Happily Ever After, our aim is just that for its master.

Greeting Card Granny

Jacob does love him a greeting card. He likes other mail, too, like flyers and catalogs. Anything colorful and bonus points for a slick finish!

His Granny is his #1 provider of mail. She sends him cards a lot!

It’s funny because he isn’t always ready to open it when I show it to him. He enjoys studying the envelope (ignore my feeble attempt to blur info), her writing, their return address, the color, the stamp. He’ll rotate it to different positions to see what everything looks like upside down. (I suppose that is what he is doing. I really don’t know!)

And then, I’ll find cards in random places around the house. He used this one in re-decorating for Easter. Doesn’t every bunny need a card balanced on it’s head?

Under his bed is a favorite place to ‘keep’ cards handy just in case he wants to read one.

It isn’t unusual to have several on a kitchen counter. And, almost always one or more nearby during a meal. Sometimes, he has to hold one while he is eating. Unfortunately, there was a really cute spring card he received from them a couple of weeks ago that he HAD to have in hand while he ate lasagna. Only problem was with each bite, lasagna got on the card. It was such a mess, I had to toss it. (Sorry Granny!)

With Mother’s Day in a few days, I wanted to focus on one way my Mom has loved Jacob so very well.

Jacob does not seem to keep tabs on where all his cards are at all times. I think he just knows another one is coming!

Cards can share so many sentiments. I don’t know if Jacob is all that interested in the words printed from the manufacturer.

I do know it makes him happy to have a card signed,

One Tough Cookie

Jacob has a high threshold or tolerance for pain. And, it is a blessing. I’ve read you can train yourself to tolerate being uncomfortable. This is not something he learned. As far back as I remember he was a tough cookie.

His brother would start crying before the nurse even walked into the exam room with a shot. Jacob would watch them sticking him. There was a time he was having regular lab work because of a certain medication. He was a champ about being stuck. We were always nervous and each held an arm, in case he jerked, but he always surprised us.

Through his life he’s had some hard knocks. When he was attending a local high school, I got a call from the teacher that Jacob was upset and they weren’t able to console him. He had ridden the bus to school that morning and from the time he entered the building, was noticeably agitated. Flailing around, couldn’t be still, and biting his hands. I hopped in the car to pick him up and agreed, something was definitely wrong. Turns out he had broken his collarbone! Seems he bounced around on the bus and fell at some point. (It was the last time he rode the school bus.) It was one of the most maddening experiences we’ve had with Jacob.

I recall being on the phone with the head of public school transportation wanting an explanation as to why and how. Trying to wrap my mind around a picture that would not form. And crying until there were no more tears, in utter agony, that I’d not find answers.

The doctor devised a odd, tube-like wrap to stabilize Jacob’s arm. It was a really hard, sad time. A memory from then popped in my mind just now: a couple of weeks later, I was talking about it in a group and a fella spoke up and said something like, “it’s a broken collarbone, that’s not a big deal”. Let me tell you, I wanted to choke him! (In his ignorance, he truly had no idea the magnitude of the difficulty we had faced.) It was a HUGE deal coping with a broken bone in a child that had no intention of following doctor’s orders. But seriously, Jacob actually handled it like a trooper. Much, much better than I coped, mentally.

There was another time that I woke him one morning to find significant redness/bruising and scrapes on his arm. It looked like he had gotten his arm hung, maybe under the headboard. Who knows? He didn’t seem bothered, but I was. Just the not knowing and him not being able to explain. I was consumed with the how. Did he have a seizure during the night and fall?

He’ll have bruises that have no explanation. Of course, we all have that happen. But each bruise makes me wonder the cause and how much it hurt. So thankful he’s a tough cookie.

A few years ago the program director met me at our car one afternoon and said she thought something was going on in Jacob’s mouth. That he kept pushing food to one side and drooling some. I wondered if he had a bad mouth ulcer or terrible sore throat. NO. When we got home I got a good look in his mouth and he had ground a hole in a crown. YES. Thankfully his dentist got us in first thing the next morning and we walked out good as new. But, oh how it made me sick that he’d been dealing with that. And, I never saw it when brushing his teeth!

Recently, Jacob was twirling in the kitchen and his feet tangled up. I was standing near him and could see him going down but wasn’t quick enough to completely break his fall. Once upright, I could tell he was hurt. He rushed off to his room, obviously rattled. I slowly undressed him looking for a red mark or any sign of injury. Nothing obvious and within a few minutes, he seemed fine. The next day he was in the kitchen eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and I noticed his finger was purple. I truly thought it was a smudge of jelly. NO! His whole finger was bruised and swollen. What an awful feeling. The night before, I knew he was hurting but couldn’t find where. It was swollen enough I wondered if it was broken, but he would hold my hand and bend it without a grimace. I do believe it was jammed. He never made a sound. By the next day, it looked so much better. Never acted like it bothered him. No joke, he is tough.

In the past, Jacob would bite his hands for multiple reasons. Frustration. Doesn’t feel well. Anger. Upset. Pain. Both hands are scarred from him repeatedly breaking the skin. He hasn’t done that lately but when he does, I know something is really wrong and to pay close attention. Biting his hands, causing himself pain, is one way he communicates. My heart sinks when I see he’s been that upset. Knowing as tough as he is, it’s taken a lot to push him to that point.

If you’re a mom, you know, keenly, the desire to take any pain your children are experiencing and carry it yourself. Dads might do that, too. From my experience, Jacob is much, much tougher than me. I’ll fret and worry and figure and question anything and everything, wishing I could shoulder hurt, in any form, so he doesn’t have to.

The good news is, I don’t have to bear any burden alone. God is there to help me, rescue me, carry me. For my God is greater and stronger and higher above any other. And, He will carry your pain, too.

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

Psalm 68:19

Insecurities

I was a young first-time mom. Not teenage young, but young. None of my friends already had little ones. No nieces and nephews to ‘learn’ from. I did some babysitting, but not a lot.

And then we are told Jacob is special needs. Only it wasn’t called that. The report said, ‘severe, profound mental retardation’. And the questioning began. Did I do something? Did we do something? Could anything have been done differently to make sure this didn’t happen again? Question after question after question and then more questions!

I’m going back decades to tell a story about one incident. Mike and I were invited to spend the weekend with friends out of town. Mamaw and Papaw were on board with keeping both boys for three days/two nights. It was a welcomed get-away. We had a great time. Except the part where I spent hours that Saturday in the Six Flags Theme Park infirmary.

I missed them terribly and could not wait to get back. There were no cell phones for FaceTiming or even just a quick midday call.

Upon our return, Josh was happy to see us. Jacob was indifferent. Mamaw proceeded to tell us all the things they had done. And, that Jacob didn’t miss us at all. Or, even seem to realize we were gone.

That. That should have pleased me. Did it? NO. See. I was an insecure mom. It bothered me so much. Crazy, huh? I should have been thrilled that they made it fine, without incident. That Jacob slept well and ate well. Played happily.

Instead. It hit me hard. One of those gut punches that comes out of nowhere. Was I important to him? Why wasn’t he behaving as a typical child? I knew the answer to that but didn’t like it. Did he love his grandparents more than me?

Well over 30 years later, I still remember how crummy that felt. It wasn’t until many years afterwards that I realized I was very insecure. I didn’t know how to be a mom. I know, none of us really do. Just learn as you go! I hadn’t ‘half’ raised a much younger sibling. If anyone questioned why I was doing anything a certain way, I would feel I wasn’t measuring up. Disability does that to you. Makes you wonder if you’ll ever get it right.

I’m an oldest child and have many of those characteristics: motivated, responsible, controlling, perfectionist, confident. You can imagine how feeling like I wasn’t being the perfect mom shattered my psyche. Quickly some of the traits that were natural for me, weren’t possible. Pretty much flew out the window. Everything was out of my control. I often felt like whatever I did wasn’t good enough. Self-imposed pressure.

Fast forward to today. I lost or let go of those insecurities years ago. And not because I felt I had mastered being a super mom. Quite the opposite. I learned that I don’t have to be. A first born raising her first born all the while learning I had everything it takes to be what he needs. Only because I’m equipped by my creator. My heavenly Father who made me who and what I am.

How warped to be sad because Jacob didn’t miss me. He was in a familiar environment. He was being well taken care of by attentive grandparents. They were fantastic. This was never about anything they said but about everything I hoped to hear.

Jacob didn’t cry when we left or smile when we got back. It was such a hard reminder that he was in his own world. A world where he is loved immensely. A world where he has had immeasurable influence on me. Every single day of his life. A world where he can brighten my day, 100 fold, just by straining to see me and making eye contact as I wait to pick him up in the afternoons.

I’m thankful that my insecurities made me stronger and helped provide security for my boy.

Happy Birthday Granddaddy!

Jacob’s granddaddy turned 85 years young a week ago. Jacob was his first grandchild. From experience, I learned that a mom or a dad cannot really know what it’s going to be like to become a grandparent. Holding that grandbaby in your arms, your world changes in ways you never imagined. For the better.

My dad was so pleased and excited to be a granddaddy, and was equally grieved learning Jacob was going to be labeled disabled. The helpless grief that washes over a parent, knowing their own child and grandchild would be faced with life-long challenges.

I think about some of the many things he and Jacob’s granny have done to help us in unexpected ways. A few that stand out are, offering their car when we went to Ochsner Clinic to see a neurologist. Years later, taking the whole family in their RV to the east coast for a communication conference. Another one was that they made sure Jacob had his own bedroom in their country cabin. Those were special to us and gave them great pleasure.

Some other fond memories that come to mind when I think of Jacob and his Granddaddy – .

  • Jacob loves music. And, Granddaddy loves music, but he doesn’t like to sing. Except to Jacob. Isn’t that sweet how that works?!?
  • They both share a LOVE of hot dogs. Cooked on the grill are the best.
  • They are both big fans of Granny’s homemade sour dough bread. Probably tie for the #1 fan spot!
  • Jacob still has and uses the toy box that Granddaddy built when he was little.
  • Granddaddy liked to take the grandchildren riding on his tractor. One of my all-time favorite photos is below. Although you can’t see the tractor, you can see the big smile he had holding his oldest grand on his lap.
  • There was a time Granddaddy had a golf cart and Jacob would go riding with him all around their property and pond. At some point, he upgraded to a fancier one, referred to as the ‘mule’, and sometimes Jacob was up for a spin in it as well.

Such fun things to remember and celebrate.

Unfortunately, celebrating a birthday during the covid-19 pandemic meant we were not going to be together as a family. Though honestly, depending on what everyone has going on, we don’t always get together every birthday.

But, this one was different. As senior adults, they were doing everything they could to stay home and to stay well. They had been isolated for weeks. As much as they’d love company, they (nor we) wanted them to take any chances of being, unknowingly, exposed to the virus.

We decided to surprise him by driving over to wish him Happy Birthday from a distance. We weren’t sure how that would play out for Jacob. We hoped he’d be content to ride over, see his Granny and Granddaddy from a distance, while remaining in the van, and leave for the hour-long return drive home. While Mike and I were visiting with my parents, observing social distance guidelines, Jacob decided to get out of the van. He really wanted to see them better, go in their house, and get all nosy to see what treats he could find (maybe homemade bread or chocolate). Instead, we corralled him back into the van and knew we needed to end our visit. We said our good-byes and waved, while heading out their long winding drive with Jacob twisting to look back.

Jacob’s granddaddy had a good day in spite of the isolation. Each of his grown children made a surprise visit to their home. He saw five of his grandchildren (and their spouses) plus a great granddaughter in the same way. And, got to FaceTime with the others. It was a good birthday leaving both of them with happy smiles and one he’ll remember for a long time. All, without a single hug.

Happy Birthday, again, Granddaddy! Love you so very much! From your favorite, firstborn grandson and his parents.

#stayhomeflattenthecurve

Today marks four weeks since Jacob has not attended his day program. The first two were our choice. Social distancing was to be observed along with consistent hand washing. Two things that seem next to impossible for him. The second two weeks were because his center officially closed. Until further notice.

In the https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2020/04/02/not-being-able-to-speak/ post, I suggested that he’d been doing really well. He is such a homebody. I wish he were more social, but his anti-social temperament has been working to his (and our) advantage. Some of my friends, with sons and daughters enrolled in the same program, have been telling me they are having a much harder time. Needing to see their pals. Requesting PEOPLE for a birthday present.

Jacob probably misses some of the folks more than I give him credit for. I know he is fond of staff members and goes looking for them to hang out in their offices. But overall, bouncing on his bed just has more appeal!

We were rocking along fine until this past week. For several days he was just off. Unsettled. Dissatisfied. Restless. Demanding. Relentless. Seemed whatever I offered, wasn’t ‘it’. He’d pick a DVD only to decide seconds later he didn’t want that one. Same thing with a meal or snack. Nothing I could do or suggest was acceptable.

I mentioned going outside with me to swing. He immediately headed out the door but before I could even clear the leaves off, he was back inside. More than once, we’d suggest going for a ride. It’s something he usually likes to do. Quickly and adamantly, he’d let us know he wasn’t interested.

Ordinarily, I am long on patience but it was shrinking by the day. I had to ask myself if he was bored. Maybe he didn’t feel good. Perhaps he was missing his routine. Needed a change in scenery. Probably tired of his parents! What clues were out there?

I found myself being frustrated and quick to be negative. I was short with him. I was thinking this is harder than I thought it was going to be. I was, I was, I was……. becoming a person I didn’t like.

One day as I sat mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, I saw where a friend had posted this:
Get up!!
If you are home today, put on your clothes! No PJs!
Wash your sheets!
Turn up the music and dance!!!

And then, I was reading in Psalms and came across these verses: Psalm 30:11-12 (The Message)
You did it: you changed wild lament (moaning)
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough.

Between my friend and God’s word, I knew what I needed to do to get in a better place mentally! Get up. Listen for the music. Spend more time in scripture. Whirl and twirl. Burst into song!

Go ahead. It makes a world of difference. I highly recommend. And, have a feeling you will be smiling!

I made this chalkboard sign a few years ago. Nothing fancy but speaks to a positive attitude each day.

Our middle granddaughter asked me its meaning. Today is a Good Day for a Good Day! Choose to look for the good. The positive. It is there but honestly, sometimes I’m too busy moaning and miss it.

Yesterday, rather than ask Jacob if he wanted to go for a ride, I took a different approach. “Jacob, hop up. Let’s go get in the van. We are going to deliver some happiness.” Without any hesitation he went straight to the garage. We went on a three-hour tour (reminds me of the Gilligan’s Island’s theme song) dropping off goodies to family and friends. And, he thoroughly enjoyed it. Not once did he seem antsy. Not once did he want to watch a DVD. Not once did he try to unbuckle his seat belt. He was content from beginning to end.

When we took the interstate rather than back roads, there were two times that I noticed the jumbo electronic signs said, ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ONLY. Not to make light of those that are on the front lines. With everything we have, we thank you. So many others are essential to their jobs and are required to be out. We are able to work from home. But, I do believe our excursion was essential to our mental health. We came home with more happiness than we delivered!

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

Not Being Able to Speak

Not that I don’t dream of being able speak,
A day with no words can be so very bleak.

Actions can communicate for me, if they’ll follow my cue.
*Reading my mind, it seems, they have learned to do.

There are other ways. I know I’m not the only one.
Sign language for those that won’t be outdone.

I learned the signs for ‘music’ and ‘more’.
But it was hard and I didn’t understand, what for.

Technology has created some new tools to use,
I like lights and sounds as you might deduce.

There are other ways to let my thoughts be known,
Some are a lot of trouble, as I have shown.

If I could just tell them I’m hungry for banana bread.
That’s the snack I’m thinking about before I go to bed.

Or, applesauce muffins, I wish Mom would make those.
That would make me happy from my head to my toes.

This Covid-19 #shelterinplace is working well for me,
I’m quite happy at home. Really happy as can be.

The world out there is scary not being able to talk,
Home is my safe place, I sure won’t balk.

While I’m here I’ve had time to think,
Count yourself blessed if you can speak.

There are so many things I’d like to talk about,
So many questions I’d ask, without a doubt.

Sometimes I cannot turn off my mind,
But, my thoughts, they are locked inside.

I’ll give a good hug when I’m in the mood.
I can actually be a fairly affectionate dude.

But, how do I say it, when the words can’t come?
Three simple ones that make a great sum.

They know it already, it’s not a surprise.
The way I say, I Love You, is with my eyes.

*written by Jacob’s mom, by reading his mind.

“Not being able to speak is not the same as not having anything to say.”

Rosemary Crossley

Special Delivery

What comes to mind when you hear those words? New baby? Birthday surprise? Expedited mail?

Not in this case.

The first chance I had to go to the grocery store, once Covid-19 precautions were in place for social distancing, was interesting. I had tried to Clicklist at my local grocery to avoid a crowd. Only to be told 1 1/2 hours before pickup that they didn’t have enough employees to fill my order. So the next morning, I tried again. There wasn’t even a possibility to have them do the shopping for me. At least, not that day.

I psyched myself up and headed into the madness. It was busy and there were more people than I usually see. You know it is impossible to keep 6 feet between you and another shopper on a grocery aisle? Unless all shoppers are moving in the same direction, at the same pace, with space between them. Which we know doesn’t happen. So I held my breath when near people! Well, as best I could.

Either way, what surprised me, most, were the random items that had been purchased leaving shelves empty. Sugar. Bagged lettuce. Cheese. Flour. I was able to get probably 98% of the items on my list, though, so that was great.

I came home telling Mike that bologna was one of the items I wasn’t able to find. Yes, that stuff. Jacob is on a bologna kick. Has been for some time now. And when he is on, he is ON. It starts with two slices of bologna and us making a sandwich by spreading mayo on wheat bread. Put one slice of bologna on each piece of bread. Then, unwrap some American cheese and add one slice so it is between the two bologna slices. Cut it into pieces and let him chow down.

Note, if you do this incorrectly, he notices. You will have to start over and make it to his specifications. After he basically eats the middle out of the sandwich, it is time for another one. Chances are he has eaten very little of the bread but the sandwich must be constructed the same way each time. Usually it is repeated twice with him eating the middle of three, double bologna/single cheese sandwiches along with bits and pieces of the bread.

Well, when Mike heard no bologna, he knew we might have a problem! On his Facebook timeline, he posted something like – Bologna is the food of choice for Coronavirus Survivalists! Not a plea for help. No mention suggesting Jacob would be upset. Just an observation posted at 9:40 one morning.

At 2:06 that same day my cell phone rings: “Mrs. Terri, I have some bologna. I am going to bring some for Jacob.” I tell her that is so sweet but he will be fine and we will get some soon. “No, I am bringing my baby some bologna!” “I had some in the freezer and I am headed over there now.” Twenty minutes later, Em delivered bologna to our home.

Package on the right was opened quickly so a couple of slices are already missing!

PEOPLE! That was a SPECIAL DELIVERY! That’s what I’m talking about!

In February 2019, I shared about the sitters in our life, who have blessed us beyond measure, in a post called: At Your Service. She’s one who has been a constant in our family for many years and has loved us without limits. But, I don’t know when I’ve been so taken aback by a gesture. Her simple act of sharing what she had was a wonderful gift.

Note: She is the reason that Jacob’s bologna sandwiches must also have a slice of cheese. It is something that never occurred to me but that’s the way she made them for him one day and THAT’S the way they’ve been ever since.

Thank you Em for your Special Delivery. You are one of Jacob’s favorite people in the world. And, your kindness makes our world a better place!

Time to Whine

Last week I shared about one of Jacob’s really good days. It was before the time changed.

And then, new week, early sunrise, and he wasn’t having it! I would enter his bedroom to wake him up. He’d barely open his eyes and push me away. I’d give him time and space and later return to the same scenario. If he were to sit up or get out of bed, it was only to hand me his quilt and hold me tight until he heard these words, “okay, lie down and I’ll cover you up. But, only for a few more minutes.”

We were out of town, for three days, the weekend of the time change so Jacob automatically got to stay home with his sitter that Monday. Sometimes after being away from home for a few days, I just want to let him stay home with me. Blame it on those ‘good to get-away but better to be back’ feelings. It doesn’t take but a few days and I miss that dude terribly!! So, on Tuesday, I had decided IF he wakes up early, I’ll take him to his day program. But otherwise, we are staying home. And we did.

However, I felt missing two days when he wasn’t sick was enough time off and decided I’d get him up Wednesday to go. It did NOT work that way as our thoughts did NOT line up! I tried all the usual tactics and I couldn’t get him to stay up. Looking around his room, it was obvious he had played some during the night. So, I covered him in his quilt and closed his bedroom door to leave him alone. Quickly he was back sound asleep. Giving him a few hours, I woke him at 10 a.m. and by then he was ready to get up, (with me assuring him we weren’t going anywhere).

10 A.M. wake-up call.

Thursday came and he had been home for 5 days, 3 of those missing his ‘school’. Three days that the weather was pleasant and he was well. I determined he was going. It wasn’t easy. Stalling every way he could. Making it hard to get him dressed. But at least he was finally upright! Mission accomplished and I dropped him off thinking all was well.

The Dance with Me (https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2020/03/12/dance-with-me/) post went live that morning to positive and encouraging feedback. With friends and family celebrating Jacob having had such a great day.

That afternoon, my phone rang and it was the manager of his program. In short, ‘Jacob is fine but I wanted you to know about an incident.’ Oh goodness. My mind is racing. Did he swallow a dead lizard? Get his hand caught in a door? Get punched because he stole someone’s roll at lunch? (All have happened in the past.)

Seems Jacob and another fella wanted to be in the same spot. ‘That’s mine!’ ‘I was here first!’ Remember hearing that with your verbal toddlers?? Only what felt like a million times! Right? From my understanding, that sums up what happened. The problem was, neither could express themselves appropriately. Both did what they knew to do—grab and push to try and force the other to let them have their way.

Some time ago, we donated a couch and love seat to the center that Jacob attends. We were replacing ours at home and they agreed the furniture could be put to good use. So, Jacob’s office (https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2019/08/01/step-into-my-offices/) got the couch and a common area got the love seat. Turns out, that day Jacob wanted to chill out on the love seat and so did T. I have no idea if Jacob believes those two couches belong to him, because he remembers we donated them, but seemed he was focused on the ‘that’s mine’ mindset.

So, two underweight, non-verbal fellas communicated in their language and ended up inflicting scratch marks on each other. “Do I need to come get him?” ’No, he is fine and in his room listening to music. I just wanted you to know what happened.’

Would it be entirely strange,
If we didn’t acknowledge the time change?
Some states said, enough is enough.
Spring forward, fall back is really rough.
My sweet boy can’t take it at first,
So sleeping in, for him, is a must.
He’ll adjust eventually, he always does.
Why are mornings so hard? Just b’cuz!

Was it the time change? I sure want to blame it on that! Oh, it saddened me. I was reliving Jacob’s best day because I’d just shared the story that morning. That phone call brought me down to reality. The staff handled it properly. But, when we picked him up, the young ladies waiting out front for their ride, scattered, telling me Jacob had been grabbing people that day. Afraid he might get too close to them, as well. Yes, I was pretty bummed out knowing he’d been a trouble maker. There are good days and not so good days. Thursday wasn’t his best day but everyday won’t be. And, that is normal!!

Apparently, I just needed a place to whine about the time change, thank you for allowing that. Lately there have been more good days than not, so that is a win!

Friday came and I didn’t have it in me to struggle with making him get up when he wasn’t ready. So we stayed home. Again. He only attended his program one day that week.

And now, Covid-19 is here and we are currently keeping him home as he doesn’t understand social distancing and has no concept of healthy hygiene habits. I know my guy isn’t going to complain about that!! However, I have a feeling my sanity may be stretched to new lengths.