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Thoughts About Heroes

In Which Charlie Is Finally Exhausted After A Very Intense Week

That long long week#libertystatepark #octobersnowstorm

Charlie was awake before 6am on Monday and asked for a bike ride. Jim sleepily assured him there'd be one after school. Charlie ran to the refrigerator and unpacked his lunch boxes and book bag.

I cut up an apple for him, made coffee and, as he paced and munched on the apple while eyeing the kitchen warily, put his snack and lunch in two different lunch bags and then put everything, including Halloween candy, into another bag (which Jim had been using). Charlie watched, solemnly snapped the bag's flap shut and said 'white car.'

He was still saying that up to one minute before the bus came whereupon he ran down the steps and walkway in a mad dash and we waved good-bye.

Jim and I went to work. Sitting at my office desk, I realized I had gotten used to segmenting thoughts and activities in 50 minute periods as it's at such intervals that Charlie wants to switch to another activity. A colleague, after hearing about Charlie's extreme anxiety bursts, said 'do you lose sleep over those?'. It was only afterwards that I realized I hadn't known what to answer because how can you lose sleep when you don't get so much (I'm not one to need that much sleep as it is) and when you're constantly listening in your sleep for your child?

I left work a little early to go grocery shopping (have to keep the lunch boxes filled). Charlie's bus pulled up just before 4pm. I had put the bikes out as Jim was planning to be home at 4.30. Charlie uttered a stricken cry as he ran up the steps and into our house.

His teacher wrote that the transition back was (as anticipated) not mellifluous and Charlie had cried on and off (that's all). Jim came home to find Charlie curling up on the beat-up blue couch with his shoes on and covering himself with a small fleece blanket that happened to be there. We figured Charlie would take a short rest and then a bit of a longer one after he dragged himself up and ran upstairs to his room.

Before 6pm he was asleep and, while he woke around 9pm, Charlie went back to sleep -- because, after days on end of disruption to everything (early snow, no school, a million tree branches on the street and not the trees), he was finally, excruciatingly, flat-out exhausted.

'It takes a lot of energy, all that anxiety,' as Jim said.

Charlie has Thursday and Friday off as it's the annual NJEA teachers convention. Fortunately he does not have Tuesday off as many children here do for election day. If he only had school this week on Monday and Wednesday after a whole missed last week -- for the nonce, let's not court anxiety and contemplate what that would be like.




Wow, what a week. Hang in there. An unanticipated full week off from school is a serious test of coping strategies . . . sounds as though you all made it through. Over here, nothing but grading and grading, and then, for a change, more grading, and thinking about M's big 14 bday on the horizon. Fourteen is pretty much astonishing over at Autism's Edges. Hugs to you all! m.

Jeanette Burke

'It takes a lot of energy, all that anxiety,' as Jim said." I am sure that is a true statement for many people; especially for those submersed in anxiety. I find it often seems to be the sister to fatigue. How blessed Charlie is to have parents that recognize the cause and effect, and honor that response :)

Kristina Chew

M will be 14, wow! Lots of grading going on here for Jim too! Im assuming you've something special planned for M....

hi Jeannette! and then only on Tuesday morning did I realize how tired I am!

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