Monday, June 21, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Hopeful

I had this ridiculously positive post planned.

After a rough couple of weeks, I was excited to be able to tell you that Ryan had had a fantastic language and behavior day, really communicating with us. We spent Saturday at Playland, first on the beach, then in the amusement park. He used words to tell us when he was ready to leave the beach and go on the rides. When I asked which ride he wanted to go on first, he thought a moment and then used words to tell me he wanted to start with the roller coaster. When offered a choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream, he requested chocolate (instead of freaking out over the either/or question or insisting he wanted both chocolate FOLLOWED BY vanilla). He requested the "polar bear" ride by name, and later told us (unprompted) when he was ready to leave.

Stu and I were, naturally, thrilled by all this, and I reflected on the old adage that kids often take a step back before taking a big leap forward.

But then Sunday, we were back to tantrums and screaming and the complete inability to self-regulate. Sure, we had the occasional bright moment - like Ryan asking me, "Mommy, what are you looking at up in the sky?" - but highlights like this were overshadowed by obnoxious moments like the 20-minute fit at the park, which involved Ryan throwing himself at the ground repeatedly, then sitting on a path and screaming while his grandparents and I pretended to ignore him.

I really want to stay positive and focus on how far Ryan's communication skills have come, especially over the last month or two, but sometimes living with this kid and his challenges just sucks. This is why in our house, we celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day by giving the honored parent the day off, child free (and man, did Stu luck out that he didn't have to spend Sunday with The Boy). I know that things are trending better, and we're having more and more good days, but the crappy times are still crappy.

A good day shows me a glimmer of our beautiful future, of possibility, which makes a bad day all the more painful. Knowing that Ryan is capable of telling us what he wants and staying focused and maintaining self-control makes it infinitely more infuriating when he can't hold things together.

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