Friday, August 12, 2016

The Secret Life Of KiKi

     This is one of those days where you're really glad it's Friday (payday). Today's shopping list just got expanded with one expensive item, lexan. For those of you that have never had the pleasure of a kid that breaks out windows and are thus not acquainted with this wonderful thing, consider yourself lucky. Our last house was a rental. As KiKi broke out windows, we would replace them with glass. Cheap glass... But, since we're buying this house, that's not a long term solution.
     He has two windows in his room. Each window has an upper pane and a lower pane. The first pane got broken out within a week of us moving in. The second pane was shattered a few months later. We've now been living here for 11 months, and the third pane just said farewell.

     For those of you who are not experts at distinguishing broken glass in crummy cell phone pics, the black curved line to the right of the wooden post, extended all the way to the bottom of the window. The right side of that line is open space, the left side is glass (minus the bottom left corner which is also broken out).
     How does this happen? Mostly from him playing with his toys. His stuffed animals love to be thrown around and tend to bounce off walls (and windows) frequently. We've worked hard to train him to limit most of the damage to his bedroom. This is the sort of thing that happens overnight when he's playing instead of sleeping. He doesn't sleep much.
     Thankfully, he's never hurt himself while breaking a window or during the time between when he does it and when we find it in the morning. Enter the lexan. Lexan is plexiglass. It comes in different thicknesses, and the good stuff is thick enough it won't bend but clear enough it looks like glass. You can still push the pane out if there's an emergency, but it doesn't shatter and risk cutting KiKi up if a stuffed critter or ball goes flying and hits it.

     Returning to the concept of damage control. KiKi digs through boxes and scatters things. He shreds paper and cardboard and leaves it everywhere. We've gotten him to stop shredding books, for the most part. If they're his and get left in his room overnight, then they'll be meeting the trash can by morning. He used to scatter his toys all over the house, but now it's mostly limited to his bedroom and beads on my dining room floor.
     Another quirk of his is to get rid of things that don't fit in. So if there's a piece of loose paint, he's going to peel it. If there's a slight hole in a wall, he'll dig at the sheetrock to try to remove the are so it can be fixed... These are not good traits in a fixer-upper house where half of the walls have imperfections of some sort. We now have boards screwed in over some holes, bookshelves are strategically placed to block others, and pictures tend to be hung in very specific places as well. If he can't see it, he leaves it alone.
     But, as stated, this only works in areas that are not his personal bedroom. His bedroom is his safe space. It's the only place he can be himself 24/7. It's his retreat when we have company. It's the place that all of his stuffed animals and paper shreds and beads can stay all over the floor until mommy comes through to clean it every other day. And within a few minutes, it's a wreck again. But it's his wreck. His bedroom used to have a light, it doesn't anymore because he tried removing it. We took it out before he hurt himself. Especially since pain doesn't slow him down unless there's an audience he can play too. Frustration at things not cooperating will make him scream, but pain doesn't. Most people that don't know him don't understand this difference. The outlets in his room are all disconnected from wiring for the same reason. They're still physically there, but there's no juice going to them.
     Here's the thing, whoever painted his room last used their easy peel off paint. So some was a little loose when he moved in. A little loose turned into this very quickly...

     The walls were green. With pink under the green. Most of the areas he can reach are now down to bare sheetrock. We plan on replacing his walls with wood eventually, since he seems less aggravated by it. But until then, he's leaving the sheetrock alone, and repainting it would just cause him to peel it again, possibly damaging the sheetrock in the process. Damaged sheetrock would then lead to him picking at the sheetrock. Again. Sheetrock dust is not something you want your kid playing in. I wish I didn't know that first hand.

     As stated, his bedroom is his safe retreat area. No one outside of our house goes in there. I'm not ashamed of it (although I am terrified of what the wrong person might think), but it's not something you brag about when having a friend over for coffee.

     This post is a reality check, dedicated to the people I know who scramble to patch sheetrock in their living rooms, sweep cardboard shreds into the closet, and don't have quite the right number of bookshelves to strategically hide life's imperfections. This is life. Whether you pin it on autism or other neurological problems, or just a kid prone to meltdowns on bad days. It doesn't matter. You love them, hold them close, and do the best you can to let them have their own little piece of this world.

     Because in the end, you still find them in the hallway, shredding yet another piece of paper. Peace.

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