Sometimes it's the things we want most that end up being the worst for us.
Junk food can be like that for a lot of people. For Bud, it's the video camera. He loves working the camera, and he loves watching home movies of himself. But there are few things I can think of that are more dysregulating for him.
When Bud watches movies of himself, two things happen. First, he is reminded of obsessions that have passed, toys that have long been broken that he must have right now, and scripts that were hard to lose but are easily found. Second, the movies themselves become sources of echolalic scripts - he begins quoting a younger, less verbal self.
So, this weekend when Bud pleaded with me to let him watch home videos, I hesitated. He was persistent, and ultimately my resolve wore down and I compromised. I told him I would get a blank video so that he could make a new movie, then watch it. He was thrilled, and he focused his attention exclusively on the upcoming activity until I was able to get a new video so that he could get to work.
It was all downhill from there. In a very short time, Bud became distracted, short-tempered, dissatisfied, and anxious. I've been trying to figure out what happens for Bud when he uses the video camera, and what I've come up with is this: he reacts to the video camera the way an addict reacts to a drug.
Initially, it's just about having a good time. So he uses, and it feels good.
Then it doesn't feel right. It feels bad.
It feels really bad. And he wants to feel good again.
So he uses.
And he feels better, but not good. He wants to feel good.
So he uses more. Or he uses differently.
And he feels good.
Then he feels bad.
Then he feels worse.
And so he uses.
By the end of the day, Bud seemed strung out. He seemed miserable. He wanted more, different, again, back, other, bigger, slower, faster, closer, away, near, stop, go, moviemoviemovie.
I cut him off cold turkey, and he actually seemed relieved. He hasn't asked for it since.
I need to continue to keep the video camera out of sight. Unfortunately, this means that I have very little footage of my adorable, talented boy. It's okay, though; I still have a front-row seat to a terrific live performance.