It's been a tough couple months for Noah. I've been tangled up over what to say or what to post — the fist-pump GO NOAH! entries are so much easier for me to write; going back to the days of routinely wringing out every tiny neurotic emotion via the keyboard isn't something that interests me much. Because even during the tough periods, we're still moving forward. Backwards isn't an option.
But I guess lately we've been moving more sideways. Summers are always tough; the back-to-school transition is even tougher. The same old issues are there: anxiety, rigidity, social and attention/impulse control issues. They just take new shapes and forms and ebb and flow in their frequency. The loop is still there, looping around and around, as my child tries so hard to make sense of a world that just doesn't make sense to him. And a world that increasingly isn't quite sure what to make of him, either.
(He quit karate, by the way. Yeah. At the beginning of the summer. Just a few weeks after all that earlier drama and my premature pride in coming up with a solution to keep him going. I probably started a dozen blog posts about it and abandoned them all one sentence in. He quit. He doesn't regret it. Ezra quickly lost interest in going too, once Noah stopped. I am disappointed but understand. Okay. Moving on, like always.)
This year is a re-evaluation year at school. It is the final year he can be coded under the catch-all of "developmental delay" on his IEP. And yet we still — STILL! — don't have a definitive diagnosis for him. Sensory Processing Disorder, sure, but try basing an entire treatment plan on something that your insurance company likes to claim doesn't actually exist. ADHD and Asperger's are still out there too, but every doctor and therapist and teacher he's met (and oh my lands, he's met so many) are like, "Sometimes, yes. But sometimes, no. And yet....kinda."
And then we all agree that as long as we're able find ways to meet his unique blend of needs — through school, insurance, etc. — it doesn't really matter what we call it.
When his teacher told me about the required code change I probably went a little white and made a (super-attractive) noise similar to a dying fish. And she quickly assured me that it was no big deal; they'd simply code him as something else. The school has a new psychologist who is wonderful and we already adore his school OT and his special education teacher and BREATHE, WOMAN. We're not tossing you out of the water to die on the deck of a shipwreck-bound boat. BREATHE.
Last night I decided to go to bed a little early — after brushing my teeth I was greeted by an anxious-looking Noah who wanted to talk about some stuff. The "stuff" ended up being about the last Harry Potter movie, which we finally caved and let him watch a few weeks ago. (Mistake. MISSSTAKE.)
Typical stuff, really, a kid trying to process something scary he'd seen and couldn't let go of, and my endless repeats of "it's not real, it's just pretend" were falling on deaf ears. Or more accurately, on ears that were CONVINCED that Voldemort was like, an actual scientific possibility. He had it all figured out: a combination of bad parenting, a "bad soul" and the prop replica Elder Wand I'd shown him on Amazon were going to result in a real-life Death Eater apocalypse of biblical proportions.
We talked about real and not real. Fiction and non-fiction. The books vs. film adaptations vs. Lego video game bastardizations. I delved into detailed descriptions of the movie-making process and offered up an explanation for every minuscule detail that was troubling him. "Makeup." "Animation." "CGI." "Computer stuff." "Production assistants standing off-camera with buckets of green-tinted corn syrup." I re-enacted an over-the-top LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION, DRAMATIC DEATH SCENE, CUT, PRINT! scenario. And over and over, I assured him that none of it really happened and nobody — NOBODY — actually died or had any plans to leap out of the TV and hurt people.
(It was all very Galaxy Quest, yes. THEY LIIIIED TO YOOOOUUU.)
Finally I pulled up IMDB and showed him photos of the much-alive, non-evil cast, including one of a smiling Ralph Fiennes standing on the red carpet with an arm around Daniel Radcliffe.
"See, they're FRIENDS!" I explained.
Noah finally seemed satisfied and I sent him off to bed. I mentally congratulated myself on a job well done and went to sleep.
By the time I joined everyone in the kitchen this morning, Noah was already crying. Jason was looking at me like, "WHAT DID YOU SAY TO HIM?"
Apparently Noah now thinks that Daniel Radcliffe killed his best friend, Ralph Fiennes, on camera, because he was wearing too much makeup and he didn't recognize him. This also leaves the possibility that the REAL Voldemort is still out there, alive. Because...
*buries head in hands*
Sometimes I think I've really got a handle on this, on parenting in general, and on navigating the slightly different topography of Noah's amazing, brilliant little brain.
And sometimes I'm just flopping around wildly, blindly, sideways.