I had an hour with my thoughts yesterday afternoon as I drove Bear to his therapy appointment. Technically, I wasn't alone, but Bear was wrapped up in his movie, so I had time to think. In my mind, I wrote a great blog. I had it all worked out -- what I would write and how I would write it. (You look surprised. What, did you think the blog fairy appears and writes them for me?)
Then yesterday afternoon happened, and suddenly I had a whole new blog to share with you. Out with the old, in with the new.
For whatever reason, Bear was just wild yesterday. I knew it before we arrived at therapy and it was pretty obvious when we were there. Despite this, I caved to his whining and took him to McDonald's after our session. We always do something special after therapy, despite the fact that he loves going there. Why am I rewarding him for doing something he already enjoys doing? No clue, but at least we get to spend some one-on-one time together. Normally we go somewhere and play checkers, but yesterday he was dying for McDonald's playland.
No problem, I thought. He'd play for a while, burn off some energy, and all would be hunky-dory. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! (For the record, yes, that is maniacal laughter.) When it came time to leave, Bear went into complete ODD mode, which is something we haven't seen in a while. Despite my reasoning, threatening, and pleading, Bear remained in the play structure, knowing full well I couldn't get him in there. Of course, that isn't enough for a child with ODD. His refusal to comply with my reasoning/threatening/pleading was punctuated by name calling that reverberated around the room and by faces made at me through the plexiglass windows of the structure. Someone asked me how old he was, probably figuring I'd say 4 or 5. Her face dropped when I said 7, so I had to launch into the whole ADHD/ODD/mental health explanation.
I eventually walked away from the structure and hid myself by the door, where Bear couldn't see me. As soon as I disengaged, he snapped out of it. Now came the remorse and the panic, and he came flying around the corner with tears streaming down his face. Just as I would a toddler, I wiped the tears, gave him a snuggle, put on his shoes, helped him into his jacket and mitts, and we walked out of there hand-in-hand, chit-chatting away.
I'd love to say that was the last of that particular behaviour, but that would be a lie. The name calling came and went all the way home, as did the tears. I even had to pull off the road at one point to comfort him. It continued at Stitch's daycare where, despite knowing better, he ran around the parking lot, dodging cars. With Stitch in my arms, there wasn't a whole lot I could do except holler at him, which only egged him on. Home saw me carrying him into the house, with his arms and legs wrapped around me, as he sobbed on my shoulder.
I have no idea what the problem was yesterday, but I do know this -- it was bigger than him.
I know something else, too. We won't be going to McDonald's when Bear's having a bad day ever again. Mommy learned her lesson the hard way.