I've written about his head-banging before, but haven't mentioned it in a really long time. That's because he wasn't doing it anymore. I'm not even sure exactly how we got him to stop or even exactly when it did stop, but it did. It had been several (six or more) months since I'd seen (or heard) Elijah hit his head on the floor (or wall or other hard object. We'd adjusted to a new normal, a normal that was calmer and happier, one that had very few self-injurious behaviors (all of which were hand-biting). The head banging was gone - completely.
And then it started again. A couple of weeks ago, we were woken by the sound of thud-thud-thud-thud-thud, the heart-wrenching sound of our child hitting his head on his bedroom floor.
"No, not again," I whispered in the darkness.
It brings me back to a hard time in my parenting life, when I would have to prevent Elijah from hurting himself many times a day, when I would sit next to my child and cry and wonder how I could live with so much heartbreak.
I don't get why this is happening again, why Elijah is resorting to his old ways instead of using the communication skills that have opened up his world.
But, I remember that we've been through this before and came out on the other side. This time isn't as bad as before. He's not doing it daily, multiple times a day. I have to believe that we will be able to get him to stop this behavior again, hopefully never to return.
In the meantime, I hold onto the good moments. Those precious seconds of dancing with my son, those times that he grabs my hand and pulls it toward himself asking me to tickle him again. I hold onto our laughter, the happy times we have together.
I hold onto that special moment Monday morning. Elijah, walking towards me, his arms reaching to find my hand to ask me to turn on our ceiling fan. His squinty eyes looking to me, his voice saying, "Moooooom," the m sound clearly book-ending the o. It's a rare moment that I get to hear our son say my name and I hold onto it. I clutch it to me like a prized possession, holding it to my chest, never to let it go.
I wait until I get to hear my name again. I wait until I won't ever hear thud again. I know both will happen.