You ever have one of those days that culminates in the "perfect storm" of child meltdowns? This has been brewing ever since Timothy's friend "Dar" left Tues. Like pouring salt in a wound, Dan left Wed morning, and by Thurs night Timothy couldn't handle anything that I said to him. Friday was awful, but doesn't even compare to today. Timothy has been wanting a scooter ever since we met up with Dar & his mom a couple of weeks ago at a park. Dar had 2 scooters so he brought one for Timothy to use. Timothy has been slow in the coordination department, and since he gets frustrated easily he usually gives up quickly on new things like that. Even though he never actually "rode" the scooter that day, he did "scoot" on it with one foot the whole 2 hours. I was amazed. Fast forward to this week...
More than half of the women at my MOPS table live in my military housing, and we have a great time chatting at the playground while our kids play. This can happen throughout the week, but always tends to happen on MOPS day. Wed, the day after Timothy had to say good-bye to Dar, my friend was there with her 2 kids and 2 scooters. They of course let Timothy ride, and because these kids are even younger than Timothy they have the 3-wheeled scooter which was much less work for Timothy. By the end of our time there he was even putting both feet up every once in a while for a couple of seconds. Well, now he's obsessed. And besides the fact that he enjoys this particular activity, the fact that he did this for 2 hours WITH Dar has to be part of why his emotions are completely wrapped up in it.
Through email yesterday, Dan I decided I would buy T a scooter. I had several things to get at Walmart, so we made our way this morning. They had no 3-wheeled boy scooters. I had actually thought that could happen and talked about it all the way there. I thought Timothy understood it, but he was inconsolable. I had every intention of going to another store, but right then I had lunch and nap to deal with. I explained all of this as well, but T got worse as the afternoon drug on. [Note: Dan and I did discuss not getting the scooter because of T's attitude today, but the original reason we told him he was getting it was because we love him. We don't want Timothy to think that our love is dependent on his behavior and I think this is the only time that we've specifically said, "we're buying this because we love you". Obviously, though, his ability to get to ride the scooter will be based on his future behavior.]
When Sam woke up we went to Target, and I prayed with Timothy before we went in that there would be a scooter. The last thing I wanted was to go to another store. There was 1 left. Then came the part I didn't consider: putting it together. I prepped Timothy that mommy may not be able to do it (tools, arm strength, etc). I would try, but that he would have to be patient, not get mad, etc. Right before I started work on it, I laid out the rule. If he yelled one time, we wouldn't go to the playground today.
I finished his and said we would have to test it out first, so I let him start moving it around while I started work on Sam's. [And let me say, I've put several cheap pieces of furniture together in my time and never had worse directions than I was given for these 2 scooters.] It didn't take long before his handle bars fell off (yes, I'm an idiot, but it was this square shaped thing the screw was supposed to fit down into). I calmly told him to bring it to me, and I would fix it. Well, that was all he could take-he started a horrible screaming fit. No playground tonight for him. That made it worse and worse and worse. Thankfully, my hands (and mind) were busy building 2 scooters (did I mention I really hated doing it). Every 2-3 minutes Timothy would think his current "calm" state would allow him to go to the playground (actually, he probably thought MY calm state could mean he could still go). I finally convinced him when I said, "Mommy is not going to change my mind." He would get another chance tomorrow. Then he started a 10 minute screaming fit, "I want mommy to change your mind."
These scenes used to happen 10-20 times a day. The fact that the last really bad one of these I can remember was when we lived in Dallas is a good thing, but today is a reminder of how any change, any sadness, any disappointment just sends my poor boy over the edge. Today I moved the "low mattress" out of his room, and put an indoor tent made for twin beds in that space. My hope was he would play all day in that area (and he and Sam had lots of fun there) and then sleep on his bed tonight. When bedtime came, I just put the tent on top of the bed so he would think it was cool. When I left him he was content, but after about an hour in bed he came to me and said the tent was bothering him. I moved it to the floor, and he immediately started collecting his things to go sleep in the tent ON THE FLOOR. I said, "Timothy, why don't you sleep in your bed?" He said, "Dar's bed?" I explained that it's still his bed even though Dar slept in it two nights. He calmly said he wanted to sleep on the floor, so that's where he's sleeping soundly right now.