One of my favorite movies is How To Train Your Dragon. Xander likes it too - it's one of those movies I can crank up and he'll stay and watch. There's a scene where Hiccup, the kid, is flying Toothless the dragon for the first time. Toothless is injured after being shot down by Hiccup, losing part of his tail. Hiccup, feeling guilty, has made a synthetic replacement but he has to control it with a foot lever. Getting used to it, he has a cheat sheet of different positions. He sends Toothless straight in the air, flying high. But he loses his cheat sheet, reaches back and comes undone from his saddle. He falls. Toothless also falls, since his new fake tail collapses.
They fall. You can't tell how far they've gone, until after a few seconds, a mountain appears behind Hiccup and quickly grows and rises off screen. It's an effective shot; you see it and think 'the ground's getting closer'. No matter how tall it is, it's still connected to the earth. A warning.
In real life, Xan has his own mountains. This weekend has been full of them. We have no idea what is going on with him; not being able to tell us leaves us in a guessing game. Does he feel sick? Is he mad we told him no to something? Is he upset he's not getting what he wants? Does he want more attention, less attention? Overexicted? Bored? Cranky? Tired? On and on.
It's been one of those days that seems to stretch on and on. Every parent has them, when the child you would walk through fire barefoot for has you wistfully remembering the times of peace before you had them. I wouldn't trade him for anything...but there are some times I'd come closer to entertaining offers.
So we have to watch carefully and see what signs we get. Does he have a fever? One of the more clear and easy to climb mountains. Is he chanting something over and over? That's what we've called looping, where he seems to get stuck on something he can't stop until he's all wound up and heading for a meltdown. Is he saying "and by contributions"? That means he's frustrated, more than likely because he can't have what he wants. And if he's not doing any of these more obvious than other signs? That means this mountain's a little harder to climb.
It's not easy. It's a hard climb. And sometimes it feels like that ground's getting closer and closer.