Second time unlucky
There are times when you think you are managing things well and getting along brilliantly. When the future looks full of optimism and hope, where dreams can come true. Then there are those occasions when you realise maybe life will be more of a struggle, when there are things beyond your control or capabilities.
That's quite an opener for a post on this blog I realise, but sometimes you can't help but feeling like every moment and reaction is destined to be repeated forever, ad infinitum. I felt this way a couple of times this week.
In our experience thus far, L's behaviour has followed quite a cyclical route, peaks and troughs. There are clearly times when L is relaxed and happy and things don't tend to disturb him at all, when you can ask him to put his DS away or get dressed without any reaction. These periods tend to last a few weeks and you begin to feel optimistic. We realise that these are the good moments and that things won't stay this way, but you can't help but hope that maybe this will be it and all will be well. Then there are times when you know he won't cope well and there is little you can do about it. Moshi Making Party was just such an occasion.
7 friends came around and the plan was to spend 2 and a half hours holding the party. I knew that this would be a stretch for L. His temperature has always gone up during parties and when he is physically hot, he also reacts with fire sometimes. So we spent a delightful hour or so making Moshi's from Fimo. An activity L would always love due to his creative mind and slightly obsessive nature. But you can only spend so long doing this before the kids get bored and go off to run around the garden. We didn't really have any other plans and were happy to let them go off, but after another half an hour of running around the cracks began to appear in L's demeanour. First it was that no one wanted to play the games L wanted to. I refer you to my previous post about how L plays with his brother in a dominant directorial manner. The other kids got fed up of this I reason and decided to play their own games. L began getting upset very quickly so we tried to intervene by helping him negotiate with the other children about what to play. But L was in no mood to compromise and ended up having a tantrum about nobody wanting to play with him.
L spent the remainder of the party either taking himself off into a corner somewhere and sulking or shouting and having a tantrum. The other children carried on playing as we tried to encourage them not to worry, but it was a very stressful moment for us all.
It is times like this when L often finds solitude to be therapeutic and left to his own devices often calms down quite quickly, but trying to be good hosts to the other children I don't think that I was willing to let him spend the rest of the party on his own. I realise now that I shouldn't have pestered him or tried to convince him to join the party again, that he should join the others for dinner or risk not getting anything. Unfortunately what I perceive as doses of reality he thinks are threats and suffice it to say does not comply accordingly.
In the end I lost my own temper and stormed off to play with the other children and it is this I find most difficult. I can deal with L when society allows, in my own home, in the car, in our own space. But when there are other social rules to follow, in my haste to teach L how to cope with them I try and force things onto him too quickly.
I see what I have done but my own desire to be a good host or do the right thing often conflicts with allowing L his own space. So it is difficult to know when to push and when to ease off. When to allow it and when not to, if indeed there is really any choice in the matter.
So these are the bad times, sometimes bought on by some external event as in this case, other times difficult to predict.
It has also been the last week of school and no doubt a little unsettling as they all prepare to move on to the next year, and whilst we certainly anticipated the difficulties, when they happen we still have a lot to learn about how to cope.