There are often times that I am reminded that being Tanner can not be easy for Tanner. Most days, Steve and I are caught up in the daily trials of what it is like to live with Tanner. I don’t always think about what it is like for Tanner to live. But last night, I was reminded that his life must be frustrating at some times. Over the past week or so, we have been battling with a finger wound. It started out as a simple scratch on the middle finger of his right hand. Tanner has some type of super sensitivity in his hands and fingers. He WILL not wear a bandaid unless you sit right next to him and hold the hand that the bandaid is on! In a similar sense, the healing process of a finger wound causes some issues for him also. Just when that wound has the perfect scab…..there must be something about it that drives Tanner so crazy that he has to pick it off. And then we are back to square one. So…..as we have battled with this wound that becomes fresh every couple of days because he has picked off the scab again, we have become frustrated with him. As a result of his finger picking, he does not get to play with his iPad. This royally ticks him off. And so there is the cycle……and as it progresses, we all get frustrated and I get angry because I cannot understand why he can’t just leave the finger alone. Sunday night and yesterday, Tanner was pretty agitated. He was talking non-stop and was slightly aggressive with both me and Steve. Last night I put him to bed at his usual time. Forty minutes later, despite all of his “make him sleepy” medications, he was still jibber jabbering non stop. I was ready to go to bed, but don’t like going to sleep if I know he is still awake. I decided to lay down with him until he went to sleep. So, you know that time when you are drifting off to sleep and you can feel your body relax…..it does that twitching thing occasionally…..sometimes startling you as you fall asleep if the twitch is sever enough? Well, last night, as he finally started to slow his mouth down and relax a little bit, Tanner’s body began to twitch. Snuggled up to him, I could feel him finally relaxing as the twitching went on for about 5 minutes. It was then that I realized how stressed he must be sometimes. He gets so wound up and obsessed about a certain thing and the longer his frustration lasts, the tighter he is wound. And I am sure that having an “at our wit’s end” set of parents that are frustrated with him is not easy. He loves us and I know he doesn’t understand when we are angry with him sometimes. We are his constant companions and best buddies. I know he knows when he is doing something that he is not supposed to, but he just can’t help himself. I feel that way about cookies!
So this morning, I tried to be extra patient with him, even when he was up before he should have been and appeared to be wound just as tight as before he went to sleep. I gave him a lot of extra hugs before he got on the bus and reminded him of my expectations for the day. DO NOT PICK YOUR FINGER!
I’m thankful for God’s reminder that it isn’t easy to be Tanner. So even while guiding him and trying to teach him appropriate behavior, I need to remember to be patient and loving. Not always easy. But I’ll try my best.
Post by: Beth Gotwalt (mom of Tanner)
Tanner is a rider at Blue Sky Therapeutic Riding & Respite