I didn't brace myself for the hit this time. I felt myself flinch a little, involuntarily, but I couldn't help it. He's been doing this for months now, and as much as it hurts me to watch him bang his head on the floor, I can't always stop it. He can't tell me what's wrong.
He leaves bruises sometimes, right in the middle of his forehead. I try to remain calm, force down the tears and a sob that constricts my throat. I hold him tight as he fights to bang his head on the wall, tries to head butt me. Sometimes I sing to him, sometimes I pray. Mostly I just beg him to stop.
"I don't think you beat him enough."
Thanks, bystander, that was no help at all.
Yes, I've been told things like this. Old-school parents and folks who are 'just trying to help' want to tell me that I'm not tough enough with discipline, that a good swift spanking would 'shut him up'.
I'm not proud to say that I've tried that, spanking him, smacking him in the face to snap him out of his tirades. It only elevates his anxiety.
So I go back to the things I know . . . sing, sway, spin. Never mind that the teakettle is whistling ("Does it hurt your ears?"), ignore the scared baby and the kid who needs help sounding out her reading. Sit, sing, rock, spin.
I'll carry you until my back goes out again.
The Great Debate?
Do we have him evaluated for Autism?
Would there even be a point, with symptoms like these?
Because this isn't about my oldest boy, the one who HAS been diagnosed. This is his little brother.
My brown-eyed boy.
We've been 'treating' the whole family with the same part-AI Paleo guidelines--meat, veggies, fruit for dessert--and we've seen GREAT improvements with everyone's health. Most dramatic has been our oldest boy, for sure.
But the next oldest boy. My middle boy. Mr. Brown Eyes. Brown eyes, quick smile, lopsided dimple like mine.
Middle brother. He's showing a sense of humor, is much more social than his big brother was at this age, but the self-injury . . . oh, my heart is weary.
I love them so, Lord. Help me fix this.