Saturday had all the makings of a perfect storm of parenting challenges. Bill had made plans long ago to see a 13 hour movie event at a local theater of all Lord of the Rings movies back to back. I told him before he left that I would not contact him unless it involved going to ER.
Ben was invited to a birthday party Friday night that became a sleep over. His first, and after careful consider, talking to the host family agreed to let him stay the night. We talked to Ben about expectations for behavior knowing that adding Ben cycling off his meds added to 5 other 1st grade boys had the potential for a midnight run to pick him up. Perfect Storm ingredient 1.
Bill and I took advantage of the time and wrapped up every single gift and assembled Santa toys. The host of the party reported at am pick up the next morning that the boys were still going strong with a pillow fight at midnight and some were awake at 6 am in the morning. We expected that Ben would be tired, but a child on 5-6 hours of sleep? Saturday was shaping up to be difficult. Perfect Storm ingredient 2.
I had forgotten that Ben had a final Sat am art class and asked him if he wanted to still go given he was tired. Ben said yes with the agreement that he would lay down for at least an hour once home. In all the moving from the party to the class I forgot to give him his medication. I debated giving it late, but wanted him to sleep more than anything. Perfect Storm ingredient 3.
When I went back to get Ben the Cary Christmas parade traffic was starting to clog the road so with a now tired, very hungry Ben and a very whiny Ian we got stuck in serious traffic trying to get home. Perfect Storm ingredient 4.
Once home Ben refused to eat lunch and threw a mother of a tantrum. The kind where I carried up kicking and screaming up the stairs and left him throwing things at me walking out the door.
The storm has hit and the duration to be determined.
I went back downstairs made lunch for Ian and read a book to him and put him down for his nap. Ian has hit a very hard 2 1/2 toddler transition that frankly leaves Bill and I saying in private that this too shall pass and to hang in there. We are already tired with Ben and adding Ian's antics just adds fuel to the fire.
I check on Ben who is now sobbing and hiding under his sheets. I get into bed with him and start to stroke his hair and ask him to tell me about the party. He does and within 30 mins of talking he agrees to eat something for lunch and agreed to lay down and look at books after an agreed single game of Uno.
Storm is receding.
The rest of the afternoon involved going to the park, feeding ducks, walking the dog, getting haircuts, making a batch of cookies and watching a couple of Christmas shows before bath and bed. I'm physically and emotionally drained. I forgo a massive stack of grading and read a book until I fall asleep.
The storm has calmed.
When Bill got home after midnight and woke me up he asked how the day went. My answer, "the storm was downgraded once it came on shore."
I'll tell you in the morning.
While getting into the specifics of our recent meeting with the director of Lucy Daniels Center is too personal and raw to make public yet. It was a good meeting, but we heard some very difficult things about his treatment in the process.
I'm beginning to see how to move forward with Ben as a very, very long trip. Nothing about this process seems quick, painless, or easy. A trip that is going to require even more patience than I had helping caretake for my parents over a decade plus.
Simply getting in bed with him was not the key, nor was the agreement to the game of Uno, or the promise of making cookies. It was hanging in there, knowing the day had the potential for so much worse behavior than it did between Ben's tantrum and the usual fighting between the boys. At one point I mysteriously just went and sat outside on the front steps of the house until they found me.
One of the things said at the meeting with the director is that you have to look at success with Ben measured smallest of steps. I'm so tired in almost every way right now and want to know that I have the patience to persevere whatever is ahead. I know I do, it's just the process to get there seems unbelievably daunting.
One measured by success in baby steps and an appreciation when the perfect storm is downgraded.
Photo Credit- Laura Case Photography