Panic

September 14, 2010

I’m having a hard time shaking the sad today.

Pretty much every morning going to school and church Hamhock says he doesn’t want to go and resists in all sorts of creative and various ways.  We deal with it by planning the mornings as best we can to accommodate the length of time it takes to get him fed, dressed, shoes on, and locked & loaded in the car to go.  Most of the time we’re late, sometimes we’re there on time, and sometimes we skip it all together.  But usually once he is wherever we are, he is fine and gets excited by all the stimulation and has a good time (even church. . .!!!).

This morning. . . not so much.  Ugh.

He.  Did.  Not.  Want.  To.  Go.  To.  School.

He had a 3-day weekend.  Tomorrow’s a field trip.  He made a new buddy last week. Lots of fun to look forward to.

Nothing.

I suspect that Moms of kids who are not strong-willed (no matter the cause – ASD, ADD, ODD, etc) often don’t seem to comprehend why you can’t just *make* your child go.  (At least that’s what it feels like when they tell me how *they* would do such-and-such).  Well, here’s how it goes when I try that approach:

I got Hamhock fed & clothed, with backpack ready.  He climbed on top of the roof of the car and said he wouldn’t go.  Normally he’s been responding to my 1-2-3 and time-out approach, but he ignored that this morning.  I kept trying to assuage his concerns, or answer his counter-arguments, and he kept digging in his heels.

It’s at this point that I get panicky.  It’s a feeling of complete panic, that I have no idea how to “make” my child get himself to school.  None.  It’s a feeling of complete out-of-control-ness.  And I hate it.

So. . . I said that if he didn’t start scootering/walking/biking to school that I would carry him there.  So I physically pulled him from off the top of the roof, carried him down the driveway to show him I meant business.

WRONG APPROACH, MAMA!

He simply started hitting and scratching and kicking me.  Just like a toddler.  I set him down and he started bawling and tried to run away.  So I chased him down to the corner and led him back to the car.  Then I just start ordering everyone around while raising my voice.  Remember out-of-control?  Panicky?  Yeah, that’s what it sounds like.

Finally he’s in the car and we’re driving.  He tells me he doesn’t want to get a “Think Time” (a time-out) for breaking a rule.  I reassure him that his teacher likes him and hasn’t given him one at all because he’s been following the rules every day.  He got one from different first-grade teacher (from the first grade pod) the first week for laughing at some other boys goofing around in bathroom (at least that’s *his* version of the story).  He doesn’t like the teacher who gave it to him.

Aha!  He’s feeling anxiety about an unresolved issue!  (Why can’t people just tell you what they’re *really* worried about?)  Makes sense. . . we had a few incidents last year where he’d get into a fight/misunderstanding/power struggle with another kid and if I went to ask both kids to say sorry and I forgive you, Hamhock would be good & could move on.  He needed to have some closure about this.

Duh.  I didn’t think about it.  Man, parenthood is tough.

Luckily, this teacher happened to be standing right by the door when I walked Hamhock to class, and he saw me start to talk to her.  She was very nice and understanding and wants kids to learn and follow the rules, but doesn’t want kids to be scared of her.  She said she would try to talk to him to clear the air about it.

Every day so far he has been very happy to see me when I pick him up after school and says:  “Mom, I didn’t get in trouble today!”  I hope today will be no different.

I just hate when it takes me a while to figure things out, when I don’t handle power struggles better, and when I feel sad the rest of the day. . .think I’m going to go get in a run, watch some Arrested Development, and clear my head before school is out. . .

________________

UPDATE:

Hamhock came home very happy.  He said the teacher talked to him and:  “She likes me Mom!”

I thanked her the next day, and all seems to have returned to right in his cute little brain.

Whew.

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2 Responses to “Panic”

  1. LadyM said

    I don’t know your struggle exactly but I am reminded of my own run-ins with stubbornness. I see a small child have near panic attacks because his earliest memories are of his parent melting into pain and psychological oblivion.
    There is a small victory in finding the root of the particular problem that day and dealing with it directly rather than the symptom (un-able-to-cope-ness).
    Definitely makes moments of peace sweet and golden.

  2. Juliet said

    Wow. I know the feeling of not being able to make L do something, and then to think that feeling is escalated times 100 for you re: Hamhock–that is tough tough tough stuff. You’re so persistent and wise in trying to find the answers to a given situation that it makes me think how blessed Hamhock is to have you as his mommy. Even if those answers are often extremely hard to find. Although it makes things more complicated, it is sweet in some way how he always needs closure. But that does make a lot more detective work for you and a nearly impossible wishing you could read his brain directly. I don’t know how you do it all.

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