Friday, February 17, 2012

Shipwrecks and Meltdowns

And suddenly, a whole week has gone by and I haven't posted a single blog entry.  Sometimes I have so much on my mind that nothing gets written down, because I'm sorting through all the impressions and emotions.  It wasn't a bad week, really, but it was busy, and had some very frustrating lows.

Safety Guy had some more difficulty on Monday and Tuesday - attitude problems, obstinate  behavior, meltdowns, the whole Asperger's/teen boy thrill ride.  When he was younger, he used to bang his head on the door when he got frustrated.  Now he hits walls and slams doors.  We avoid physical confrontation with him, because that escalates things to the point that he might push or take a swing at someone - and with him at 6'1" and 225 lbs, that could get really ugly really quickly.  We send him to his room, knowing that he might make some noise, but he won't be tempted to hit out at anyone.

Anyhow, during his meltdown he hit and cracked the frame of his door away from the wall.  Once he calmed down, he was appalled.  I think he's actually a little bit afraid of his own strength.  I think he's just realizing that he's BIG and STRONG, and learning how to control his impulses has become an even bigger priority than ever.   As if we've ever not worked on that, oh Lord how we've worked on that over the years, but it's right at the forefront of my mind now.  (BTW, he'll help us repair the door next week.)

Safety Guy has been handling his grounding from last week's events at school with varying grace.  I know he misses his computer and video games, and the "comfort zone" they supply.  But he's been listening to lots of music, and reading.  Reading, and reading, and reading.  He's probably read more in the past week than he has in the past three months together.  He's revisiting old favorite books, and renewing his interest in old favorite topics.  (Shipwrecks and the Titanic, anyone?)

He had a good day today, and even though he's still grounded until next Wednesday, I decided to see if he could handle a little break from the grounding with a good attitude.  (Frankly, he was following me around the house, wanting to talk about what he'd been reading, and I needed a break without hurting his feelings.)  I told him he could use the computer for 15 minutes if he'd look up a historical topic for me and tell me about it.  It's using the computer, but on my terms.  He said, "I knew there'd be some strings attached," but he went along with it.  I had him look up Revolutionary War forts (which is related to what he's been studying in social studies for the past few weeks).  In short order he had pulled up information about Fort Stanwix, Fort Pitt, and Fort Ticonderoga, and we talked about what he'd found, comparing the forts and when they were built.  Then he was off the computer again, and happy with his "knowledge fix" for the afternoon.

After dinner, he came downstairs and was brimming with information he'd been reading about the Titanic.  He went on and on, at length and in detail, sometimes obviously quoting verbatim from books he has read.  He asked if I would look up the hymn "Nearer My God To Thee," supposedly played by members of the orchestra on the doomed ship as it went down, for the comfort of the passengers as they waited to try to get into lifeboats.  We found a wonderful instrumental version of that song, and we enjoyed listening to it together.

But wait, there's more!  Safety Guy wasn't done talking to me, not by a long shot.  He bent my ear about the life boats, and acts of heroism and cowardice among the passengers.  (We both love the story of the Unsinkable Molly Brown.)  Then he was going on about Bob Ballard visiting the wreck and noting changes to it, and noticing that many items were missing, salvaged by other legal and illegal expeditions.  Time for another computer "fix":  I had him look up images using the search term "Titanic hull plate," to see some of the larger pieces that have been raised from the wreck, and items salvaged during the rescue operation in 1912.  More pictures, more discussion.  Hull plates led to deck doors, a china plate, perfume vials, rivets, a teacup, champagne bottles, a bowler hat, paper money. . . .

It's an ill wind that blows nobody good, as they say.  He may be grounded, but he's making good use of his time overall.  And I'm learning a lot about the Titanic.


  1. Praying for both you, and SG. Not an easy road for either of you.

    Glad to see he is trying to turn things around.

  2. Wow SG is taller than I remember and heavier too! They grow so fast -- don't blink and they're already taller than you..... Praying for you Laurel and for SG and the rest of the family.

  3. Thank you, ladies. He's really trying to turn things around. It's such an uphill battle, and I'm proud of him for his progress, in spite of the setbacks.

    Karen, the scary thing is, HE'S STILL GROWING.