Reality Bites


Well, that didn’t take long.

Less than 48 hours after our stunningly successful weekend road trip, our household was back in chaos. Ryan was extra wound up as bed time approached. He outright refused to stop what he was doing and get ready for bed.

Veronica and I both tried, but we were losing the battle with patience. We increased the dosage of Ryan’s medication on Monday. Our biggest fear — a return to insomnia — had not been realized, but the behavior we were seeing might well have been a result of adjusting to the new dose.

Teeth brushing and reading time started with a shouting match as my patience finally ran out. It was just a brief exchange and then Ryan and I began to discuss why it had occurred and how we could prevent the next one. He thought this was a good time to try out some of his sarcastic humor.

It wasn’t.

Veronica reminded me about the meds and how we needed to account for that factor in evaluating this behavior — an example of how we pick each other up in our weak moments. I managed to maintain my composure and we actually got through reading time unscathed.

But the scars remained. Veronica and I were both upset at how the evening had ended. As we tucked Ryan in, we all talked about how much we hated these incidents. Ryan still thought the best way to respond was by making sarcastic jokes, which only made us sad.

It was a stark picture of a child who lacks the social awareness to evaluate the emotions of those around him and respond appropriately. This is not new to us, but when it happens it serves as a cold reminder of how difficult and complex it can be for Ryan to decode the emotional world around him.

In a controlled environment, with activities solely of his liking, say like a hockey road trip, this is not an issue. But the world is not a controlled environment. We have to continue to work with Ryan to give him the tools to navigate it.

Just as important, we have to continue to work on our own responses. To figure out how to tap that extra reserve of patience and understanding that is so needed but so difficult to find when you deal with challenging, even defiant, behavior.

By this morning, all was fine. We all celebrated that the Devils had eliminated the Flyers to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. (Apologies to Logan and CJ — and their loved ones — hope they took it OK.)

Today is a new day. Yesterday is forgotten. Tonight we’ll gather as a family in front of the TV to see if the Capitals can keep their season going against the Rangers.

I will hope for a victory, sure. But most of all I will hope for patience.


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