Today was the day for our annual meeting with Aaron’s case manager, Carissa, and with Barb from Paradigm. We meet at Applebee’s in order to make the meeting more fun for Aaron, because if a meeting involves food then it is automatically more tolerable than just a boring meeting sitting around a table and signing forms. It’s amazing how quickly these meetings roll around………..how fast time goes by from year to year. So far things are well set for Aaron, and so these meetings aren’t really a huge deal. We have to correct some things on his paperwork like new meds or meds that he’s no longer taking; new doctor info; and of course this year put a brand new, much lower weight down for Aaron. Carissa was shocked to see the new, slimmed down Aaron……and Aaron was happy about that, although he was too busy looking at the huge Halloween spider stuck on the front of the counter near the entrance, and so he didn’t comment.
We’ve learned over the years to have our own plan of action concerning the post-meeting issue of getting Aaron to return to Paradigm. In other words, if Aaron is with Mom for even a small fraction of the day, then he thinks that it’s his right to return home with Mom and not to go to his day group. Between Barb and me, we’ve learned to cover all the bases………telling Aaron that yes, he is riding to Applebee’s with Mom for the meeting; and yes, after the meeting he gets to ride with Barb back to Paradigm; and yes, you and Barb will stop at Quik Trip on the way to Paradigm. Notice how positive we are?
I also use some strategies at home, such as……….yes, you can have the computer keyboard put in before we leave if you are nice (or at least moderately nice, but I don’t say that to Aaron.); yes, you can have some money for getting a snack today (but do not buy Rosie crayons or give your money away to anyone); and yes, you have time to watch the old movie version of The Thing before we leave.
Still, Aaron went through some spurts of hatefulness as he tried to process this day in which he has a change in routine…….a change which to him means that he should be able to come home and spend the entire rest of the day on the computer. I went in his room this morning and found him with his headphones on, watching The Thing. Well, he was actually finished with the movie. As he heard me enter his room, he impolitely said, “Get lost. I’m trying to finish the credits!” Yes, there he sat with his eyes glued to the monitor as the movie credits scrolled by. Yes, he watches the credits and reads every single word. They ARE part of the movie, after all! So I just left the room after chiding him for being rude, and I let him finish the all-important credits. Soon he came in my room and his day began with, “Mom? Are you sure I have to go back to Paradigm after Applebee’s?”
He pushed a bit against our plan and was on the verge of losing his privileges, when he finally went in his room again and shut his door. Thankfully, he calmed down and the rest of the morning was mostly pleasant. He said he showered, but his hair didn’t look great so I’m not sure. However, he smelled of deodorant…….although a different smell than his usual. Barb cleared that up later by asking Aaron if he still had the deodorant that he put in his pocket at Paradigm and brought home…………and which is the community deodorant. Oh my! This was the different odor I noticed. Community deodorant………and Aaron smiled proudly as he said that he did indeed put on his “new” deodorant today. It is now in the trash.
At Applebee’s, as Aaron waited for his house salad and his chicken strips to come, he put a whole pack of sweetener in his mouth. He loves sweetener, and if left alone he would swallow paper and sweetener both. Yuck! I told him how bad this was for him and how sick he could become, so up he hopped as he spit the package into his hand and headed for a trash can……….a trash can that was in an area where there were little beverage napkins stacked. He proudly returned with a stack of small napkins………and it wasn’t long before he got up again and with purpose returned to the napkins and walked back with another hand full. His need for napkins was satisfied……..as was his need for toothpicks, I learned later, as he emptied his pockets and dumped his toothpicks on the table. Between these today, and the ones he got at TGI Friday’s last Wednesday, he shouldn’t need new toothpicks before Christmas.
Aaron left Applebee’s happily with Barb. He called me later from her cell phone and told me that at Quik Trip he got some coffee, and some Good And Plenty’s …….and that Barb used some of her money. “See Mom?” he said. “I told you to give me more money!”
No, Aaron, you need to do less spending! But this fact never computes with Aaron, although I will keep trying.
I was texting my friend Atha later after she asked how our meeting went. I told her that the meeting went smoothly and that Aaron was Aaron. She understands exactly what that means. She replied, “He can’t be anyone but Aaron.” And then she continued, “You should be thankful.”
And as I think of it, she’s so right. There are times that Aaron pushes every button that we have, and then somehow finds even more to push. But really, there are many reasons to be thankful for our Aaron……….and a big one is for how he makes us laugh, even sometimes between our gritted teeth and rolling eyes. We have one more meeting next week, and then we’re done for another year.
Done with meetings, that is. I don’t think we’ll be done with Aaron……….not by a long shot.