Four nights before the first day of school, as signalled by talking more than usual about my parents and (Uncle) Rocco and Portia (the dog), Charlie had anxiety.
The thumping coming from his room on Saturday evening was hardly unfamiliar, though not heard much of late. He was banging his forehead on the window frame when we entered his room and the plaster on his bed and holes in the walls indicated that the iPad had taken a beating.
Charlie sat himself on the bed and obsessively readjusted the dusty silicon cover of his iPad. We praised him.
Yes, strong echoes of the need for non-contingent reinforcement reverberating in me, we praised him gently ('so proud of you') because he was sitting on the bed. Scenes of storms with thrashing, untold banging on every surface and biting surrounded us like ghosts.
Without saying 'bank,' I strove to let Charlie know, he'd been doing so much and holding it together, and school is on the horizon, and the moon is full, and the barometric pressure is rising, and the front of our street is blocked off for a block party (not our block).
Charlie sat on the bed. Jim got him Advil and something to drink and I clipped Charlie's fingernails and toenails, noting his toes were still tremoring.
Charlie sat on the bed and got off so I could change the sheet and shake out the pillows and vacuum and tape up the walls. I don't usually do the latter two after these spells but, aware of how his eyes kept looking at the holes he'd made, I wanted him to know we don't think he should sleep in a room with plaster crumble. I smiled.
It was as with his iPad whose icons he'd undone and I put things back in order.
Charlie may de-order the iPad order and more crumble will fall from the walls and it will be all right.
I went downstairs with crumbly sheets and a bag of larger plaster pieces. We heard Barney. Charlie called for something to drink and after I had gone down after bringing it for him (after a 22-mile day), he fell asleep with the cup in his hand.