Saturday, March 18, 2017

Pokémon, the Symphony, and a Good Week

Kai's cousin was playing at Symphony Center in downtown Chicago this past Wednesday evening so my wife and Kai took the train into the city and I met them after work.

We had just a little bit of extra time so Kai and I walked over to Millennium Park to play Pokémon Go while my wife had coffee at a cafe. Kai was happy getting to catch some more new Pokémon.

At least he was happy until his phone suddenly died. The battery went from nearly 70% to 30% in about ten minutes, and then the phone completely shut off a few minutes later. Kai was very distraught.

I told him that I could understand his frustration, but when using technology there will be times when things like this happen and if he could not deal with it, then perhaps he shouldn't have a phone to begin with.

He did not like that explanation.

He demanded that we go to the Apple store to get the phone fixed right that instant. I told him that even if we went there, they wouldn't be able to see us anyway as we did not have reservations for the Genius Bar.

But we did have reservations for dinner and it was time to go to the restaurant. I was regretting that we had decided on a somewhat upscale Italian restaurant; it was not the place for a bad meltdown.

Fortunately Kai held it together, somewhat at least. He was partially eased when I told him that we could get a new phone if his current one could not be fixed. At the restaurant, he did some research on Mom's phone and saw some articles that said that batteries can drain quickly in cold weather. Hopefully that is the case here as I don't want to buy a new phone for him just yet; hopefully we can wait until next winter.

In terms of the dinner itself, the food was disappointing, but I was relieved just to get through the meal.

And then it was time to go to the symphony. Symphony Center is where the renowned Chicago Symphony plays. But on this day three local high school bands were invited to play at an annual event. It was quite an honor for the chosen schools.

None of us had been here before and were impressed with the beauty of the hall.

Kai was happy while we waited for the first orchestra to come out.

And then it was time for the first school to come out. We were lucky that Kai's cousin's school got to go first.

Lucy plays flute, and she is on the far left of the front row in this photo.

My wife and I were very impressed with the performance. I'm certainly not an expert, but I thought they sounded great! Certainly much better than what you might imagine a high school orchestra to sound like. They performed four pieces in all, and we agreed that the first and last ones were especially entertaining. Kai really enjoyed it, too.

We would like to have stayed for all three schools, but as it was a school night and we had a long drive back home, we decided to leave.

Despite the bump with the phone earlier, it was a good evening.

And it was part of a good week overall.

After several awful weeks with Kai feeling depressed and having terrible days at school, we consulted with his psychiatrist and had his medication changed. It was likely not a coincidence that he had a great week at school.

The dreaded emails from school were not so dreaded this week. His math teacher sent us this message:
I wanted to email you guys and share with you what an amazing week Kai has had in math. He has been flexible, patient, and arriving to class on time and quietly. He is up to date on all of his class notes and is ready for tomorrow's work day. He also shared with me that he is feeling less anxious about math. I hope this brightens your day a little bit.

We wrapped up the week with a little St. Patrick's Day celebration last night. My wife got shamrock coloured and shaped ravioli from Costco and made corned beef and cabbage for dinner.

And Kai found a recipe for shamrock milkshakes and had Mom help him make some.

Everything was yummy and it was a nice way to cap off a good week.

And so we hope that this is just the start of him being back on track, and not just a blip on a downward spiral.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Respite into the City

It has been a rough several weeks for Kai at school with him increasingly frequently making serious remarks indicating despair and depression. But he mostly seems fine on the weekends and at home.

Today we went into the city to do one of his favorite activities, looking for Pokémon. We went to Chicago's Magnificent Mile. My wife took the opportunity to go shopping while Kai and I walked up and down Michigan Avenue.

Here we are near the Chicago River, with Trump Tower in the background.

From there, we walked over to Millennium Park.

Kai was delighted as we found many new Pokémon or ones that were stronger than those he already had.

After a couple hours of walking, we met back up with Mom for lunch. Kai enjoyed his Brown Cow - root beer with vanilla ice cream. He also had some pizza. My wife and I had the short rib beef sandwich.

After lunch we stopped in at the Lego store. Here are my wife and Kai standing in front of a Lego model of Trump Tower.

And inside, Kai with a Lego lightsaber.

Afterward he and I walked around and caught more Pokémon before we finally drove home. Kai enjoyed the entire excursion into the city.

When Kai is in despair, he tends to forget all the good things in his life. We will have to remember to remind him of these good times when he is feeling depressed. Hopefully it will help him realize that his life has more good than bad and that it would be a huge mistake to think otherwise.

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