Really? I should know better by now.
Yesterday at school, Howie fell down at recess and tore up his knee. According to the school nurse (and his aide who carried him off the playground, to the nurse’s office, to lunch and back to the nurse), it was bleeding pretty heavily, and understandably Howie was very upset. Every time they tried to come near him, he let out blood curdling screams (no pun intended). I picked him up just before noon and brought him home. To scream here.
Thanks to some incredible TLC from Tim, we were able to remove the band-aid to determine that it didn’t need stitches. Tim wrapped it up with gauze and tape to make a better feeling – and less sticky – bandage to protect it. Howie called it his “cast”.
He seemed in good spirits this morning, so we continued with our plans to attend our town’s “Day in the Park” celebration. It’s an annual event in our town park with music, food, games, crafts and lots of activities for the kids. This year, our town was having a birthday parade as well.
And again I say to myself: Really? I should know better by now.
The five of us trooped to the park and within minutes I realized I’d made a mistake. Three bounce houses. A playground full of kids. All things that Howie couldn’t do with his bad knee.
Cue meltdown in 3…2…1…
The first one came as we walked past the bounce house. We’d managed to do one quick tractor ride and a game before we walked by it.
The explanation of “you could hurt your knee again” was met with “but it doesn’t hurt now.” Howie just does not get the cause and effect relationship, especially when it comes to pain. If it is not happening in the moment, it can’t happen. It just doesn’t compute to him. I led him away as he was shrieking and hitting me.
The only way we moved on was by me telling him that if a kid fell on him in the bounce house, he could start bleeding again like at recess. I basically scared the crap out of him.
I tried to redirect him to activities we could do. When we stopped to talk with one of his new kindergarten aides, he spied the playground.
I let him go on some of the equipment, but tried to keep him off anything he had to climb or run on. You know, about 90% of the things there. Once I saw him attempt the rope ladder and shimmy his way across the platform to the monkey bars, I knew he had to come down or risk more injuries.
Cue meltdown #2 in 3…2…1.
With him yelling and kicking and jumping, we made our way over to a shady tree so we could watch the parade. He couldn’t sit, he wouldn’t stand, he wouldn’t leave.
The parade came in three waves down the street, starting with the fire trucks and police motorcycles. Howie couldn’t understand why some kids were in the fire trucks and he couldn’t.
I was trying to talk to the mom of one of Gerry’s best friends. Howie head-butted me in the stomach.
Then the marching band came and he was upset that there was no tuba.
Howie whined that he was thirsty and wanted juice. I offered lemonade. He didn’t like the smell. I started to talk to one of Howie’s former teachers. He turned around and tried to poke me in the eye.
Finally, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts came by. When he recognized some kids from his school walking by, he asked why he couldn’t march as well. When I explained that the scouts were part of the parade, he completely fell apart.
Punching me. Kicking me.
Gerry went off with his friend. I turned to Tim and said we had to go.
I carried Howie from the shady tree around the park and back to the car. I’m sure half the town heard him scream “I HATE YOU MOM!” while he hit me on the shoulders. If the Beatles revival band hadn’t been singing “She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah” at the time, every eye in the park would have been on us.
Thing is, I’m sure he just looked like a spoiled kid who was mad that we were leaving the park before he was ready.
I knew he was in full sensory meltdown mode. There was no punishment necessary. His body was punishing him enough.
Once we were home, in the comfort of his green chair, with juice and “Rio” on the TV, he was calm. He sat sideways on the chair with his leg up. He asked for more juice about 4 times. And about 30 hugs.
He’s resting comfortably now.
Again, I ask myself : really? I should know better by now. I forget sometimes because we have come so far. The things – like Day in the Park – that we used to avoid, we can do now.
But not today.
If I could, I’d rewrite today’s plan. I would have sent just Gerry to the park with Tim or maybe called a friend. I would have stayed home with Howie or gone for a ride to a place where he didn’t have to use his leg. I would have ignored the voice in my head saying “everyone in town will be there, we can’t miss it” and gone with “it’s just not right for us today.”
But I can’t go change it.
Instead, I’ll go with next time I’ll know better.
“Yeah I’m workin’ on my rewrite, all right
Gonna change my ending
Throw away the title
Toss it in the trash
Every minute after midnight
All the Time I’m spending
Is just for workin’on my rewrite.
Gonna turn it into cash ” – Rewrite by Paul Simon