Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Challenges Faded

About the time Ed and I think that Alex will never get past some phase, his behavior changes, and whatever challenge we’ve been facing fades away. Earlier this summer, Alex suddenly developed an aversion to going places. To get him to go someplace, we’d have to encourage him to get in the car and assure him that he’d have fun. Maybe we were a little too enthusiastic in our promoting the rides in the car; he would look at us askance as we clapped, talked in overly cheerful voices, and motioned him toward the door, saying, “C’mon, let’s go!” Despite our best efforts, Alex wasn’t about to budge from his comfortable seat on the couch. Thankfully, he’s gotten past that phase and now will eagerly go anyplace anytime. He doesn’t even need to know where we’re going; he jumps up and heads for the door. A few days ago, I mentioned to Ed that I was going to make a quick run to the grocery store, and Alex immediately came running to go with me when he overheard us talking. Although I had planned to go alone, he was so happy to be going I wasn’t about to deny him the trip to the store.

While Alex had issues about going places this summer, a couple of summers ago, he had an obsession with going to the bathroom with ridiculous frequency. He would run to use the bathroom every commercial break, which meant that he was going several times an hour. Because he had been so difficult to toilet train, we weren’t about to stop him from going, but his frantic runs for the bathroom and subsequent toilet flushing throughout the day did become tiresome. Although we can’t always trace the source of Alex’s obsessions, I had a pretty good idea what had started this one. He had been playing a video game called Bosconian and had become amazingly good. Unfortunately, this game could not be paused, and Alex was skilled enough to play for more than an hour or so. One evening, he had his record high game, which took more than four hours to play. Once he was finished, he came running to use the bathroom, and we wondered how long he’d felt the urge to go but waited until his outstanding game was done. After that, we noticed his frequent trips to the bathroom, which I think was related to that instance of having to wait until he finished his record game. For nearly the entire summer, he went to the bathroom before he would do anything: go places, eat, play a game, watch a show, etc. Apparently, he didn’t want to interrupt any activity to stop and use the toilet. Fortunately, that phase, too, faded with time, and now he uses the bathroom only when necessary, which I’m sure, helped our water bill decrease significantly.

Another challenge Alex has overcome has been his fear of thunderstorms. When he was little, he was terrified of storms, and if he were awakened by thunder during the night, he would have a meltdown. Somehow, he gradually overcame this fear, which came as a great relief to us. A few nights ago, we had a very loud thunderstorm around three in the morning that awakened Ed and me. We listened for Alex, thinking surely that he had to be awake, as well. Ed decided to check on Alex to see if the storm had upset him, and we planned to take him down to the basement if needed, where he couldn’t hear the thunder or see the lightning. After creeping into Alex’s room, Ed discovered that Alex wasn’t a bit upset; in fact, he was sound asleep. Clearly, his sound sensitivity has lessened over the years. Even when Alex does hear thunder now during the daytime, he seems never to be fazed by it anymore. We can’t pinpoint when this change in his behavior occurred, but we’re pleased that his fear of storms seems to have faded away at some point. Whenever we fret about some current challenge Alex has, we try to remember the issues he’s overcome in the past and feel blessed to know that eventually every phase fades with time.

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19


K. C. said...

Yay for Alex! (And for you and Ed as well!) As the mom to younger kids, I feel like every phase is permanent. It's nice to know that things can and do change and progress. There IS hope! ;)

Pam Byrne said...

Hi K.C.,
Phases just feel permanent while you're going through them. It's fun to look back and say, "Remember when he/she used to..." and feel relief that everyone survived that time. :) As I often say, however, every annoying phase will eventually pass, only to be replaced by an equally annoying one.