Monday, December 9, 2013

... and then a yellow belt

Things did not start out well on Sunday. In fact things had not started out well for several days. Kiddo has gotten increasingly bouncy and has had some issues at or after lunch -- though frankly I think being in a crowded cafeteria for any length of time is going to ping his hyperactivity/hypersensitivity to surroundings/sensory issues. He loves being with his buds, but it sends him into this giddy, goofy frenzy in which he does everything they do, except more so, and gets in trouble. The school has been pretty understanding and they're looking for ways to help him, not threatening to suspend him (have I mentioned the official who did that last year has been reassigned? I don't know why, but I'm frankly glad of it). But still. So his pediatric psychiatrist changed up his medication slightly. The result so far: It's nearly impossible to get him out of the house in the morning or in bed at night because he melts down and collapses on the floor whenever you ask him to do something he doesn't want to do, like say, wash his hands for dinner or brush his teeth. I've been researching ADHD for a year and a half and such things are still maddening. I don't think they ever stop being maddening.

No word on school behavior yet, but no news is good news?

Anyway. The shiai -- that would be a karate exhibition, involving several of the area dojos -- was on Sunday, and kiddo's sensei, who's quite a nice guy, always has his students and families back to the dojo afterward for a big party. Kiddo was looking forward to it. At least he was until we told him it was bathtime, and we made him get dressed, and we made him quit looking at the book to finish getting ready, etc., etc. There were so many blowups and meltdowns I finally started taking my coat off and telling him we would stay home. That got him moving.

Here was the problem. When kiddo first started karate, we already knew a few of the families there, so he had buddies in class. They've since moved on to other sports. So when we walked into the high school gym, and he was supposed to join his school on the floor, he didn't know anyone and he flipped out. I had to walk him over to his sensei, who cheerily waved him in the right direction (and tipped me off which side of the gym to sit on for a better view), but as kiddette and I turned to walk back to the stands, I felt a tug on my other hand. Kiddo refused to go. I stood there in a sea of white-uniformed people, keeping kiddette in tow, trying to convince him to rejoin his group, finally resorting to "then I'll go get my money back and we'll go home right now!" Which I'm not proud of. I'm even less proud of what I did next: I left. I said, "You need to go over there," and guided kiddette toward the stands, not looking back.

I have no idea what I was supposed to do in this situation. Relaxation exercise? Taken my place next to him and done some front-leg kicks? (Says the person who just got a steroid shot for her herniated disc.) Gotten my money back and gone home?

Somehow, what I did worked; by the time the shiai started, he was sitting with the other kids, exactly where he was supposed to be. He got up when he was supposed to, he went through the routine of kick-punch-kick, side-front-side just like all the others. And he looked pretty good. The only downside? He spotted me in the stands and kept waving, grinning widely. This was fine the first two or three times. By the 10th or 11th time, other people in the stands were starting to turn around to see who he was waving to, and the official serving as MC genially said into the mike, "You don't need to keep waving, they know you're here!"

I want to note here how goshdarn nice everyone is in karate. No angry competitive people. No screaming parents. Everyone in the stands claps for everyone. The moment that got just about the biggest applause was when the MC stopped everything to run over and retie a little boy's belt, which had fallen off. (I can empathize. It took a few tries before I got the hang of kiddo's belt.)

By way of contrast, one of my mom friends recently pulled her kid out of football because, in part, of the angry parents cursing out the kids for screwing up. And people wonder why I don't like football.

There was no sparring this time around, but the various schools offered short performance pieces instead. For instance, the karate routine choreographed to "Wind Beneath My Wings." Or the mock fight between Snow Miser and Heat Miser, broken up by a surprisingly spry (and thin) Santa. I'm aware how all this sounds, but it was rather charming. Also, the kids on the gym floor found the Santa thing pretty hilarious.

And after all that, kiddo was promoted from yellow novice to yellow belt. Hooray!

So I think it's good that he's stuck with the classes, and that he stuck it out at the shiai. Success breeds further success, or something like that. Do I expect him to practice karate for the rest of his life? Who knows, but probably not. We'll see how far he takes it.

The one problem? I can't get "Wind Beneath My Wings" out of my head.

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