Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reality Check with Arolf

I reminded him this morning that today is "no technology day" again... and he went into his whining fits.  He still does have them.  He still shouts.  He roams around.  Jumps around. Hums.  Even with therapy (he's been on behavior modification therapy for a more than a couple of months now), he still acts out.  He even fights with his therapist, pulls her hair, for example.

He also achieved some of his goals, though.  He now has eye contact (but has to be reminded or he forgets), and he says "excuse me..." before he bothers you and talks to you... he puts his trash in the bin... he's more responsible now like turning off appliances and such.

We still have loads of goals to achieve, and it will take years for him to achieve half, if not all. It's an expensive mean feat.  And as he grows older, additional goals add up.  Like nowadays, he's learned how to lie.  Tsk, tsk.

I set every other day to be "no technology day" meaning the kids cannot touch the PC, the DVD. and their DS Lites.  I gave them options like board games, I bring out art materials for them to play with.  Sometimes, I allow them TV time, though.  Since there really was nothing to do this summer.  They were supposed to take lessons like art or sports, but that all changed when I got sick.

Anyway, when he started, I made him stop right there and then, complete with menacing eyes and voice.  I talked to him about these key points:

-- he's 11 and turning 12, meaning he's old enough and he should stop acting out, and start acting his age
-- that we hired a therapist for him to get better and not worse
-- that although he got passing grades, they were low
-- that he needs to speak in Taglish (or else...)
-- that even though he talks in English, he is often grammatically wrong that's why his English grade is not that good, and that is just shameful, and every time he does it, people will laugh at him (to which he replied, he wishes he was born an American)
-- that he needs a religion, and not go to church because we make him go
-- that he needs to get good grades for him to graduate, go to college, get a job, and have a family of his own (to which he exclaimed "what???! I need a job to live???!)
-- that we will not be here for him forever, to care for and protect him

There were a lot of things that we have discussed, and some of them led to nasty threats and whining.  Yes, I know, but somebody's got to do it.  Somebody's got to treat him like any other.  Somebody's got to tell him the awful truth about life.

I saw it was difficult for him to grasp everything.  I saw how he sometimes turned a deaf ear and looked somewhere else but me.  I heard how he hummed to tune me out.  I saw his dimples appear when he's starting to cry.

I often think why we were given these trials in life.  Why me, why him, why now.... Isn't one situation enough?  Isn't Arolf's condition enough of a problem for a family to go through?  Should my being sick (again and again) pile on top of everything else?

There really was no definite answer.  All I do nowadays is sigh, and then talk to God... I tell him "Ikaw naman, pinapahirapan mo hindi lang ako, alam mo ba yun?  Sana kung ako lang.  Eh kung ganyan gusto mo, bigyan mo kaming maraming moolah, ok?  Alam mo naman panahon ngayon, puro gastos.  Therapy ni Arolf.  Gamot ko.  Kaw naman eh... hinay-hinay lang.  Uuwi din ako... wag lang ngayon.  Istokwa muna ako dito, k?  Pick me up in about 35 more years, it's a date."

I imagine him answering me... "hay.  ok, fine.  whatevs."

And I wake up refreshed, ready to drink my meds, eat my oatmeal, bread, and whatever is on the table.  I get to live life one breath at a time, and I'm okay with it.  i just hope that Arolf gets better and better everyday, and this morning did not go to waste... that some of it he retained and understood.

Well, if not, I already told him that since I'm no longer working, I'll be at home watching him like a hawk and I will be a force of nature on him.  To which he replied....

"Oh, brother....."  and slapped his forehead.

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