After two months of behavior difficulties with Liev, it was time for a meeting with Dr. Bolick.
Dr. Bolick is an autism/Asperger specialist who published several insightful books on children with autism. A well read copy of her book Asperger Syndrome and Young Children: Building Skills for the Real World, sits on my bookshelf. I trust and respect her. She set aside an hour and a half to talk with me and was tremendously helpful and supportive.
Despite the circumstances, my parenting has been spot-on. What a relief to be showered with validation! Further, she explained that Liev is experiencing a period of intense cognitive growth as he learns to socialize and develop friends. She said there will be intense stress on him until well into February, but that much of his stress came from our recent family changes.
She also said that she does not advise on an extended Russian family stay simply because it is too stressful for both Liev and me. This was sweet music! I won’t get into the specific interventions, but she did say, give it time. I feel myself struggling to recover from the whole debacle. To be fair, I must consider the past two months from Fontessa’s viewpoint.
How excruciating it must have been to stay here with no one to talk to. Her grandson can’t spend over ten minutes with her without a meltdown. Her daughter in law is stressed and unable to give the companionship she craves, and her own son is working extra hours and has grown far beyond his former role as a child.
The hardest part of the whole visit was my lack of resources. I had just enough energy to cope with Liev and Papa and keep myself balanced. Although she meant well, trying to convince me that Liev was normal, stressed me. Our conversations invariably became heated and stressful, draining the life out of me. Once, I needed to work Liev’s autism diagnosis and I did so by reading, thinking, and journaling. She must need to talk it out. It felt more like arguing, however. Denial. Yeah, I did that. But I ask at which point of his two-month-long screaming festival did Liev seem “normal?” Sigh.