Evil Extremo has been defeated! It's only been a few days, but I think it's safe to say that, for now, Perrin has decided to honor his commitment to transform the villain to the superhero. We have had a few hiccups where Extremo has emerged during times of extreme frustration, but those times have decreased more and more with each passing day. Yesterday, he reared his ugly head during tutoring for just a few minutes, and he immediately apologized and renewed his promise to work harder at being good. There was another moment when Perrin started to scrunch his face up in villain mode, and then excused himself to his room for five minutes to rage it out. He emerged fully refreshed and cheerful. I feel that Extremo has been Perrin's way of compartmentalizing his anger and keeping it contained within this character, so I don't yet want to discourage him from expressing those negative emotions in a way that he can deal with. It's a hard line to straddle - we want him to be able to work out his anger and frustration in appropriate ways while not feeling that he has to isolate himself to do so, but for now, I think it's best to contain it until he can express that without exploding or becoming physically aggressive.
He is also no longer retreating as far into the fantasy world as he had been. I'm seeing more and more moments of clarity where he can stay engaged in conversation or appropriate play with friends, resulting in some very successful playdates. The mania is subsiding, and he's able to quiet his mind and body long enough to be truly present in life.
I'm optimistic that this is the beginning of a good period for him. We have had great success with the medication that he's been on for the last 2 years, and I know that someday we'll no longer be able to use it, but I'm hopeful that with the addition of the trileptal, we will see longer periods of stability. But, honestly, for now, I'm just gonna live in this moment and cherish the calm for as long as it lasts.