Saturday, January 24, 2009

ah, temper tantrums

my bff's new thing is to tell me to relax. i can't tell you how much this has the opposite influence on me.

i tell him to start reading at the beginning of the book instead of his favorite page-
he says 'just relax, man',
i say, 'turn to the front of the b-'
he says in a much louder voice, 'relax, ok!! just let me do it! ok? calm down',
which leads me to absolutely NOT relax the way he hoped.

yesterday i followed him to the cafeteria to remind him that he is not allowed to bring himself in from recess whenever he wants to, but has to wait for an adult (this has become a problem and we find him wandering the halls because he doesn't like the cold). in the midst of this reminder he went into his "just relax" speech.

i could feel all the eyes of the school on me. here i was, trying to talk to him and he's throwing his arms up, telling me to relax, making me look like a lunatic trying to get him to stand still and listen. a cafeteria worker came up to me and gave me a look like, "man, you're tightly wound". my next worry was that my bff would yell i had bad breath, which is another of his tricks to get whoever's telling him something he doesn't like to back off and stay away. (as a coping mechanism it works surprisingly well- it may get him through high school. i imagine even the worst bullies will pull away when being told their breath stinks).

i had a flash back to when i was interning at a special education center in downtown dc. the school was spread out through different row houses in a residential block just off of dupont circle so a transition to pe or art meant walking children with significant disabilities down a sidewalk. one of our kiddos with autism was a beautiful white boy obsessed with calvin and hobbs. he'd quote calvin and hobbs as his way of making conversation. one day he was particularly upset about going to pe and was throwing a pretty big fit in the middle of the sidewalk. his teacher happened to be african american and was doing all the right things to handle his fit as he screamed random calvin and hobbs quotes at her in public.

the police showed up. someone in the neighborhood had called the police assuming that the teacher, because she was african american, was kidnapping the beautiful white boy (we were all furious, as you can imagine). the police, quickly realizing this was not the case and that all their experience with dc crime had not prepared them to assist with a temper-tantrum bill-waterson-on-crack style, looked terrified, apologized and left.

deep breaths
i can take being yelled at by a 6 year old in the cafeteria of my own school... it's not downtown dc.
**i've heard of parents getting business cards made up that say, "please ignore my child's behavior. he has been diagnosed with ______ and we are following _________ plan' to hand out when people in grocery stores look judgemental or try to offer their own advice. i've always thought that was brilliant.

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