Monday, March 12, 2012

Stress and tantrums

So I hit the garage door with my car the other day. That may not be the most embarrassing thing I've ever done in my life (riding halfway down a hill on my friend's bike before realizing I didn't know where the brakes were -- that still wins), but it's at least top five. As they say on "Thomas the Tank Engine," "Luckily, no one was hurt." Except, you know, the garage door. A little bit.

It had been, let's say, not the best week. Work stress. Kiddo stress. Hearing nothing from the OT's office. Feeling like I was getting funny looks from people every single time I brought him out in public and he ran around, or acted up, or blatantly blew off something I said to him, or got in some kid's face. I've been thinking I should have a T-shirt made that says, "I'm Not a Rotten Little Brat, I Have ADHD" and that way I can just point to the T-shirt and shrug.

Which is a stupid idea, of course. That's way too long to fit on a T-shirt.

On top of it all, I was exhausted for some reason -- neither caffeine nor Snickers bars were waking me up. So on the morning of kiddo's next therapy session, I got him into the car, told DH I'd see him there, backed the car up and smack hit the closed door.

This, obviously, caused confusion and delay. As in, we were way late for the appointment. But the therapist to her credit was unruffled, and did as much with us as she could in the time she had.

She did have a good suggestion for the running in the parking lot: Give him something to hang on to that clips on to DH's belt, something he'd want to hold on to, so that he'll walk next to DH. Like a voluntary leash, so to speak. I went through an entire toy store and this is what I came up with:

Isn't he just the cutest little Wookiee you ever saw? (Hey, it was either Chewie, Darth Vader, Darth Maul or Yoda. And kiddo would've found all of the others scary. Including Yoda, who he still doesn't believe is a good guy. Geek fail.) And yes, he does the Wookiee growl.

Kiddo and I tested Chewie out over the weekend, as we went to the movies ("Arrietty," liked it), to the playground and to various stores. It works more often than not, although occasionally I had to remind kiddo to keep holding Chewie. I'm sure this looks a little ridiculous, but so does running after him yelling "Get back here now!"

We've continued doing time outs in the chair in the dining room, although we had to switch corners, since he decided it would be fun to hit the framed Ansel Adams print on the wall next to him. I had visions of glass everywhere. A couple of times, he's gotten so worked up he's flat out refused to even sit on the chair, at which point I haul him up to his room so he can cool off, then bring him back down for a time out. I did that today, after he'd whacked his sister in the back of the head with a Nerf football, and then when I went upstairs to retrieve him, I found him on the floor, nestled in the blankets from his bed, sound asleep. I guess the time change wasn't easy on him.

Because that had only been the latest in a long line of tantrums today. He threw a fit this morning when I made him use the bathroom before getting dressed, instead of after breakfast. He threw another fit when I made eggs for breakfast. He threw another one when I told them TV time was over.

I've learned the thing to do when he throws a fit is to wait him out. When he stood in the bathroom sulking, furiously declaring "I am NOT going potty, I am NOT," I said, "OK, then I guess we'll just keep standing here." And after a few minutes, he did his business.

When he utterly flipped out about the idea of eggs -- "I don't like eggs, they're not good for me, I am NOT eating eggs, I am NOT, I am NOT" -- I shrugged and said, "OK, kiddette and I will eat them. But you have to try them before I make you cereal."

"Nooo! I am NOT."

"Uh-huh." I continued scrambling the eggs.

"I want cereal!"

"Well, you're going to have to wait until I make the eggs."

"I am NOT eating eggs!"

"Hey, remember the man in 'Green Eggs and Ham' and how he didn't want eggs, but then he tried them and he liked them?"

"Yes ..."

"Well, maybe if you try the eggs, you'll like them."

"I am NOT!"


So I put the eggs down in front of kiddette, who immediately started to inhale them (bless her, she eats everything except falafel and mushrooms), and kiddo, who stared at them in utter despair. And then he sadly picked up his fork and ate some. He paused. "I like it," he said grumpily. "Can I have more?"

Yeah, Dr. Seuss and I have your number, kid.

So I can handle one or two of those scenes a day. But some days there are more than that, and then my patience runs out. I'd love to know how other people stay patient through all this, and is the secret martinis?

Anyway, the important thing is, the garage door is only a little dented on the inside, and now we have Chewie to guide us. So maybe things will be better this week.

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