Susan's Blog

Monday, September 10, 2007

In The Wee(py) Hours of the Morning

Yesterday was a real low point for Nat. He was so anxious in the morning, and it was because Ned could not adequately explain to him that after they got home from food shopping, it would not yet be time for lunch. This made Nat aggressive throughout the entire food shopping trip, and it was quite a struggle for the two of them to be calm and safe. Ned was almost tearing up as he told me; I sure was.

Homelife it was not much better; at one point Nat went stomping and arm-biting into the playroom where Ben was, and Ben yelled at him harshly. So I had to speak to Ben about that while also trying to attend to Nat. I am so fed up with saying to Ben, “You can feel however you feel about Nat; but you can’t say _____ or _____ to him or even around Max, because it will hurt their feelings. You don’t have to like him, but you can’t call him names.” Phew! I don’t know if he hears me and I am so sad about their crumbling relationship. I completely understand how Ben feels scared, vulnerable, and intruded upon; but I can’t understand why he can never find compassion or understanding for Nat. Never. It is like it is sealed off inside of him somewhere, and that scares me.

I began thinking of what to do. Residential placement for Nat? It feels a bit too soon, although he’s just about 18 and will one day be living on his own, God willing. But to have him live at school feels like he would miss out on the chance to have any kind of bond with Ben. And how could the people at the school love him the way I do? Which is better for him? Tough love or mother love?

This morning, at 3 a.m. — the time of day when, if you are awake, then God help you — I was going over everything from the day before. My heart was racing and I knew it would be hours before I could sleep more. I wanted to cry, thinking about Nat and Ben.

Then, I think I stumbled upon a solution: create an apartment in our basement, with two bedrooms: one for Nat and one for either a higher-functioning buddy or a personal care attendant. Nat could gradually move in down there (it is actually above ground and bright in our basement, with bay windows and woodwork, believe it or not) and get used to his new digs. Then all we would need from the state Department of Mental Retardation is the funding for the Personal Care Attendant and a Job Coach, and not housing, which is very hard to get. But best of all, it would give Ben and Nat space from each other without uprooting the family entirely.

And also I’d get to decorate the whole thing with all of Nat’s favorite colors!


I’m sorry about your ongoing issues with your boys. It is a tough situation. I think you do have a possible solution at hand. I worked for residential at your son’s school for many years and it is a safer and more home like solution than placing him in a group home. There are many issues at group homes and the staff are often sub par and it is hard to find and retain good staff because of low pay. The frequent changes in staff could possibly upset Nat even more. There may never be a bond between he and Ben but if Nat is at home, then at least there is more hope than if he lives outside your family home and perhaps loses sight of what and who his family is. My best to you as you work through this tough spot.

— added by Anonymous on Monday, September 10, 2007 at 5:10 pm

Yesterday was a bust for us as well. Jared was ready to go off, and did while I was driving. He will hit and kick and try to throw things, so we aborted our plan to go to the river, and went home. Jared kept up his attack until he saw tears fall from my eyes – “Mommy are you sad?” Yes.

I was so hoping we had gotten passed this type of meltdown. Bummer. Let’s hope tomorrow is better – cause it’s my 41st birthday – hooty hoo!! Cheer up and have some chocolate therapy.

— added by Lisa on Monday, September 10, 2007 at 5:40 pm

That sounds like a good solution to the situation. We have just been hit with a doozy, Charlie’s full time TSS is leaving.

— added by Mom on Monday, September 10, 2007 at 8:34 pm

Having raised two NT sons as well as working in the field of residential services I must tell you that ages 18-25 are tough for any male regardless of disability or non-disability. You’ll see it with Max when he turns 18, kind of like mother nature being kind at the end helping the young male to separate, but sadly, the only way they can is often negatively. There is a reason 18 year olds go to college or work because it is time.
Now is the time to begin familiarizing yourself with adult residential services. There are many extraordinary agencies in your back yard. Your creative thought having Nat live in a separate part of the house with an aide may not be enough and may only transfer the problematic family dynamic. Your third grader deserves his place in the sun, after all Nat had his turn, right?

PS I learn a ton from reading your blog and your book (soon to be books). You are generous in sharing.

— added by Anonymous on Monday, September 10, 2007 at 8:46 pm

If it wasn’t going to be time for lunch, maybe it was time for brunch!

Has Nat said anything about whether he would like to move out? Some kids want to sooner, some later. My 21 year old is at home right now.

Well, you know the old song:

Your wife or your husband may be good to you,
But nobody love you like your mother do.

— added by Anne on Monday, September 10, 2007 at 9:46 pm

Sorry about your crappy day. Ned is a sweetheart. It is usually the moms we hear from but the fathers out there are struggling too.

I love the idea about the apartment in your lower level (sounds better than basement!)This is what I am planning for my daughter, which if she is anything like me, will be biting at the bit to have her own space.

Nat is so lucky to have you.

— added by susan on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at 6:09 am

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