Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Monsters Under the Bed
That was always the one thing that, at least growing up, the concept alone was enough to scare me to death. Just the idea of it was so creepy to me that you know what I used to do when I was in my teens and even into my twenties and yes...even my thirties?
Yer gonna laugh.
No bed frame.
I shit you not. It was such a vivid childhood fear of mine that I carried it into adulthood, and for years...YEARS, I would not use a frame for my bed. In fact, I believe in the apartment that I had right before Jennifer moved in with me I did not have my bed on a frame.
She thought it weird. That particular photo above is not from THAT apartment, it is from several before that, from my graduate school days I believe, but you get the point...no bed frame. And yeah, I had no closet in that room.
I did not explain to Jen when we were dating why I had no bed frame, because I liked having a girlfriend.
I just said I preferred it that way. I liked being lower to the ground or it was better for my back or some bullshit answer.
Of course, once she moved in, that had to change, and I had to simply lay there, eyes wide open, until I was able to overcome my fear and get a good night's sleep. took a while, but I eventually did.
But fear is a real bitch...and a tough one, and it can grab you by the balls and tighten its grip and often leave you feeling very, very powerless.
Which is exactly how I feel sometimes when I think of Bennett's future. Especially when I see something or read something or hear about something that reminds me of him but is about someone much older than he is.
I was reading Harold Doherty's Blog last week, Facing Autism in New Brunswick, and his post about an article in the Arizona Republic about a young boy, age 12, who has Autism, and his family's painful decision as it pertains to the violent and aggressive behavior that this young boy, named Colin, unleashes upon those closest to him.
The article, printed here on the website AZCentral.com and written by John Faherty, relays a terrifyingly real story of a young man with an Autism Spectrum Disorder who had a lot of trouble communicating and would act out much of his frustrations in the form of self-abuse and abuse on others, most often his mother.
Can I be honest? This. Really. Scares. Me.
Like nothing else I have EVER wondered about Bennett.
I get the fact that he is 'only 3'.
I know it is more beneficial to him for me to be 'hopeful' and 'positive' and I am doing so. I know we have only uncovered mere tips of icebergs here. We are in the process of exploring many possible avenues of addressing Bennett's aggression problems.
But the fear is there. It is real. It has a firm grip on my...well, I mentioned them once, no need to a second time.
And it doesn't help when Jennifer calls me from her car, driving back from the Cleveland Clinic to her sister's house, after the MRI, explaining that while Bennett was coming out of the anesthesia haze (where even NORMAL people are wacky) he bit her so hard that she had a welt that looked like half a walnut, painted blue and red. That Bennett was banging his head and hitting himself and strangers.
I saw this mark when she came home, and let me tell you, it was the nastiest injury I have ever seen on my wife with the exception of the time she severely sprained her ankle in a fall.
It's unsettling, and I am scared.
Bennett once whacked me in the shin so hard with a very solid toy that I crumpled to the floor and tears were streaming out of my eyes as I tried to focus through the pain and actually see straight.
He had not thrown the toy AT me...I was just in the way of the toy. But he threw it because he was pissed and my shin happened to be in the path of that anger. I turned to Jen and through watery eyes asked her a question.
What will we do if he ever REALLY hurts Carter?
What will we DO?
But things calm down, things settle. Bennett becomes the beautiful, sweet, wonderful boy again. You forget. You move on. You have strings of good days. You want to believe that maybe he is 'growing up' or 'growing out of it'.
And then, he does something else, or I read articles like that one, and I ask myself the question again.
The fear returns.