It feels like Ethan is tired of being 3 or 4.

I think he's getting bored of hanging around the house and watching shows or drawing and coloring. I mean, he knows that world very well.  It's easy and he's comfortable in it.  I feel like he's tired of it and he's ready to get out and explore and make some friends and play with them.  

I see this in his play.  It's changed over the last few months. Ethan's play has evolved into plans and maps and intricacies.  He'll sketch his plan on a piece of paper or a white board and then put it into practice around the house.   Often his plans involve Rube Goldberg-esque  booby traps executed in skeins and skeins of yarn. (I now know what it's like to live in a spider web.)

How do we break negative routines built over years?  How do we push him and pull him into unfamiliar and, so, scary environments where he can develop the skills and interests that are shaded and stilted in this well worn home burrow?

The ideas, "I can do [it]" and "all by myself" have been a constant theme over the last year.  Whether it's sneaking out of the house to walk up to the grocery store (a neighbor I'd never seen before brought him home after he found him trying to cross the arterial a block from our house) or starting to walk over to his friend's house (who is really Caleb's friend) who lives 20 miles away?

How do we channel that strength and determination and energy in a positive direction?   The Running of the Bulls has nothing on Ethan.  Is it even possible to build a course that he can run through without goring people or injuring himself?

Sarah and I think that school is the best place for him to spread his wings.   And we are.....  optimistic.

It feels like all of the pieces are in place.  Ethan's cognitive development is progressing steadily. Monthly, we see improvements in his language abilities and his play.  After a lot of hard work over the last year, Ethan's school team knows him now.  They know his strengths and his challenges and they've got a solid range of supports developed for him. And we've got a good psychiatrist in place. She's new to Ethan's team, but she seems to be learning Ethan's needs.

It may be that all of the pieces are in place but one. Me. I feel like I'm in a race to get Ethan more settled and more successful in school before I screw things up for him.    'Cause I'm fried.  My parental creativity, what little I had of it, is burned to a cinder.  

Working with Ethan requires creativity and positive energy and the ability to think outside the box and pivot Ethan, rechanneling his Energy away from the china shop door and into an acceptable path. It's not particularly difficult, but requires a flexibility that seems more and more difficult to find. 

I want to say that if we support him right, this could be a transformative year for Ethan.  I want to say that with the proper supports, we can help Ethan develop some positive associations to school.  I want to say that the fun, engaging, happy kid peering around the corner will emerge and that he will thrive in school.

That may be dangerously over reaching. It  may be better to understand that helping Ethan heal will take years.

But hope springs eternal.