Alive, and Well, Perfectly Content!

Last month we had another "naked" incident involving pillows. As we sat down with him to speak about the incident he was clearly agitated. The agitation coming from his awareness that what had happened was against the rules.

We tried everything we could think of to diffuse the situation and calm him. This was to no avail. He was agitated, but this was a fight we needed to fight, and so we proceeded with our direct yet calm discussion. Nevertheless, as we continued, Ethan's inner springs of anxiety wound tighter and tighter until he began to break.

I started off providing some deep pressure hugs from behind as we sat on the floor, he sitting in front of me, my wife engaging him in the discussion.

We tried deep breathing.

No help.

I continued to hug him, spoke gently into his ear, and asked him to relax. It seemed to work, only slightly.

As our discussion continued - which really only took five minutes, not counting our breaks and distractions - I could tell that we were heading for a meltdown, and that our trip there was picking up speed.

Faster than you can say lickety-split, we suddenly arrived at the meltdown. Luckily we were on the ground already, so I simply turned him over on his side and continued to hug him, giving his body something to press against, in an effort to burn off the tension which grows from his ebbing, wayward emotions.

As we hugged, I continued speaking gently into his ears.The exchange went something like this:

"I love you."

"I love you too, d@#!-it."

"Are you okay?"

"Yes, S.O.B!"

"Ethan, I love you!"

"I love you too, you S#!%!..."

It was the routine exchange, except I've started ensuring I say, "I love you," as we exchange pleasantries; it was the typical ascent up the mountain of forbidden words, through the valley of fain excuses, and eventually we came to rest in the green pasture of release. 
I am certain many of you read of this exchange aghast with disapproval. Believe me, I feel as much like the choice names which fall from his mouth, as he and I engage in such behavior. Be that what it is, deep pressure therapy is presently our best option in providing him with an escape route for his uncheckable emotions - a drain through which the eddy of tension can escape.
We continued to exchange hugs, even after I could physically feel the tension leave his body. I hugged him one last time, and wiped his eyes. He reminded me I forgot his kiss. I kissed him gently on the head, and he returned the favor by kissing me even more gently on the temple.

I let him up, we hugged again, he hugged his mom, and off he went.

No less than five minutes later, MoKo came into the room crying. She motioned us to look in the loft.

There was Ethan, wrapped in a blanket, sitting on the couch watching The Land Before Time. He was sobbing, and with the remote in hand, kept rewinding the scene where Little Foot nods off to sleep at the feet of his grand-parents, after learning the news of his mother's death at the jaws of a Sharp Tooth.

In the span of twenty minutes we heard words that might make a 60-year-old sailor blush (not really), while we addressed the hormones of a 16-year-old young man, all to finally witness the innocence of a 6-year-old mind.

There in the loft we vitally arrived full circle.
Life can be like a roller coaster...And just when you think you've had enough, and your ready to get off the ride and take the calm, easy merry-go round...You change your mind, throw you hands in the air and ride the roller coaster all over again. That's exhilaration...that's living a bit on the edge...that's being ALIVE.           Stacey Charter


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