Talking With Charlie!
Midnight Randomness Reflections / Media Nocte Quaedam Sententiae

When Disney Is a Warning Sign

Still life with 5 sushi

To the unschooled, the progress that someone (this would be Charlie, who had a good school day on Monday though he was very tired) has made to leave 5 pieces of sushi and a packet of soy sauce is most likely not apparent. Those 'in the know' know that the above 'still life with 5 sushi' is a sign that said boy was able to overcome the OCD urge to finish the whole pack and eat only as much as necessary.

He also showed how far he has come, though in ways that may be troubling to many. Last night we could tell his uneasiness-o-meter was on the rise. He came back from a walk and said 'bedtime,' started listening to one Disney album in particular with songs from Pocahantas and Hunchback of Notre Dame -- songs meant to spark emotion in a certain Disney way that is a bit forced -- and running around maniacally. We could hear his feet pounding on the floorboards above our heads.

Charlie came down and smiled a bit and then hung around the kitchen, still listening to those songs (it's not a good sign to hear the one from Beauty and the Beast in which Gaston wants the head of the Beast) as I did some things in the kitchen. I could tell he wanted a walk but it was dark and images of us running after him streaking off towards cars, trees and lawns were in my mind. Jim and I praised him for doing good, assured him we'd stick together.

Charlie announced he wanted 'bedtime' and went upstairs, soon calling me to type on his iPad (with a different phrase, 'Gingerbread Boy') then said 'Mommy stairs.' I gave him more assurances and a little extra melatonin, went downstairs and we heard the getting-familiar sound of the iPad being hammered on the wall.

There was a great deal of plaster and dust on his bed and Charlie not looking pleased. I took the iPad and placed it on the floor and Jim sat in the chair and talked soothingly and Charlie stayed on his bed (without his led shaking -- that's a sign he's in heavy neurological storm mode). He got through it and got off the bed, saying 'sheet bed' and headed for the bathroom.

The toilet never flushed but I think it's likely there is a thymic issue -- his stomach was just a bit distended -- and this morning, the day after, the air is heavier and the light isn't shining so brightly. Charlie was very glad to lie down on a clean sheet and clean pillows and fell asleep after some more talking with Jim, and the sound of the ocean on his iPad.

He was very groggy getting up this morning but did soon as the schoolbus pulled up.

We've looked into fixing the wall. I have a feeling Charlie will bang out far more of it (preferably with the iPad -- why he's sitll using his old one) and since the whole wall has to be redone, well, it's a mess but things in our universe are far worse. It's just a wall (ok, walls, as there are holes in several walls of this house, which is incredibly sturdy). Messily, imperfectly, it's about progress as perfection.



Eileen Riley-Hall

The last line says it all....great post.

Kristina Chew

thanks Eileen! And now I owe you an email. I do think these teenage years are far more challenging than any of the early ones, and yet also better in many ways.


You read his cues so well, and do not rush into 'ABA" mode....'what are the antecedents, what are the consequences'. Sometimes it is just fine to sit with a child in the throws of angst....and not always have to aba him and Floortime him (or her). If he were neurotypical, we would soothe and sympathize, wouldn't we? So this is just fine...good for you and Jim!


Oh, yes ... been there many, many times with this sort of "domestic thing".

You might want to look into installing some extra paneling for reinforcement in Charlie's room. From your description of the aftermath, it sounds like your walls are old plaster/lathe rather than sheetrock. In our old house, we ended up screwing in a big plywood panel over a wall in my brother Stephen's room, as his repeated hitting so weakened the lathe and caused a hole so enormous that no amount of patching would hold. Looking back, I guess we should have invested in some really solid fortification in the first place. But who knew?

As you so well put it, it's just a wall, it's just an iPad ... and thank goodness Charlie used this tool (rather than a part of his body) to "make his impression".

Eileen Riley-Hall

Yes, Kristina. The teenage years are proving far more complicated than I could have imagined - puberty, hormones, body changes, crushes, frustrations, and the gap between Caroline and peers seems to widen every day. But we will figure it out!


Kristina, you guys are pretty thorough, but I wonder about Monica's idea because a twinge that came to mind was asbestos and lead paint. You probably have tested for those, but having had to have those remediated in our older home, they come to mind with I hear about possible contact with particulates.
I also agree - better an object than "self".
Take care.

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