Ben Banned Again

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post.

Last night we got the call that the gym no longer wants me to bring Ben in. Actually it was the option that, after yesterday’s incident, we don’t bring him in for at least a month. Ironicaly this is two days after I told one of the staff members that she would only have him for one more month, then we’d be busy with summer (I’ll have all four kids with little help and I plan to focus entirely on fun in the sun for them), then Ben starts school.

Yesterday I was summoned from my treadmill about 20 minutes into my run. This is the incident as it was explained to me….

Ben was playing with the only computer they have in the play room when another kid tried to join him. Ben pushed him away. The kid came back. Ben pushed him away again, but this time he was more aggressive. He did something to his throat that no one is really sure of, maybe it was a bite or a scratch but either way the kid was marked red in the throat area.

That evening I got the call.

I’d like to say I was angry but the truth is this has happened to me enough times that I can almost see the writing on the wall. The signs are always the same…

The staff stops wanted to make eye contact with you. The complaints about behavior get more frequent. By the time this phone call came I was getting a talking to at pick up almost every day. I wondered, as I often do when this happens, is Ben getting worse, or was the staff just worn down by him? Maybe he was just more comfortable with him and therefore felt he could let loose a bit more?

Ben is such a normal, every day part of my life that I have no idea what it would be like to be in a roomful of kids who keep their hands to themselves, don’t bite, are able to follow instructions and can play well with others. Do normal kids really do that? Actually none of mine do these things all the time, but Ben never does them.

When you have a sensory kid, the reprimands are constant. You have to ask him a ton of times every day to keep his hands to himself. Now it has gotten to the point that I just yell, “HANDS!” and Ben knows he should stop. He doesn’t always do it, but the reprimand is so familiar it has been abbreviated to one word.

There are good days and bad days. On the good days he is occupied with his iPad, chalk drawings, playing tickle torture together, or following Jack around and laughing. On the bad days it sometimes gets to the point where I just have to send him to his room for a while. No amount of punishment or explanation can help, only isolation can keep the peace and save my other kids from the constant touching, pushing, kicking and yelling he liberally spews out.

It is a very odd mix, because Ben is a very deep thinker. Which confuses me because I wonder how he can ponder such complex thoughts but can’t do the simplest tasks. This week he spent an abnormal amount of time asking about death. When you die, how you die, what happens when you die. He also grappled with the concept of infinity. Can you live to infinity? What is the number after infinity? Amazing questions that he asks with his fingers in his mouth, or in your mouth or while half walking and half tripping down the street next to you. It’s a very curious paradox.

When we first got the diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder it was so exciting. Finally a label for this behavior! Finally we can consult the internet and therapists and fix him. But a few months after the diagnosis is a very depressing place. We now realize that there is no easy, quick fix. It is just a long, hard road they may not even lead anywhere good, but you have to trudge down it full force immediately anyway, because if you don’t then it might be too late. Reorganizing a sensory system is a young person’s game.

When Adam came home I told him about Ben’s newest dismissal. He mulled it over while putting the older kids to bed.

When he came downstairs he asked, “What are we going to do with Ben?”

I answered, “We are going to love him though this. And we are not going to give up on him even if everyone else does.”

“I’m also going to drink this very large tequila sunrise.” I added. “Because it is like a summery drink and now that I am no longer taking any time for myself to work out in the mornings, summer has officially started and I’m going to celebrate it with a lot of tequila and a scant amount of mixer.”

Here is to a happy summer everyone!

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