About 10 of us went out for breakfast yesterday morning before the local boat and RV show. Erik did amazingly well, sitting between us for an extended period of time while we sipped coffee, talked, and laughed. It was incredibly relaxing. We shared our omelet, slabs of toast, and cinnamon roll with him. I eventually walked him down to the video arcade at the other end of the restaurant to get our pinball fix, and then we loaded in our cars to drive to the next town for the show.
The remainder of the day was a different flavor. At first, things were great. Brian and I briefly got to explore the massive collection of travel trailers parked in a field under the blazing sun. These ranged from the ridiculously expensive, including models with gas log fireplaces, flat screen televisions, ATV garages, and bars, to a bathroomless, lemon yellow, tear-shaped model that could be towed behind almost any vehicle. When we got to the lineup of more reasonable models, it was difficult for me not to think about the government trailers that materialized after Hurricane Katrina. Packs of salesmen roamed the grounds, popping up out of nowhere and frightening me from time to time as I examined cooktops and commodes.
Erik became increasingly difficult to control. I was horrified when he completely ignored my shouts to stop before he ran over an expanse of parking lot after spotting a forklift. The beginning of the end was when he discovered an open space studded with gleaming all-terrain vehicles of different sorts -- bucks, and quads, and motorcycles. Oh my. He sprinted toward them without a second thought. He then flitted from vehicle to vehicle at a ridiculously frantic pace. I tried to snap a decent photo of him, but he was in constant motion, making it impossible. Brian and I had to laugh at his obvious delight. For some reason, he would lie down on the grass and insert the top of his head into each recessed hubcap. He bent at the waist to inspect each tire. He talked to them as if they could understand him. I even overheard him mumble, "What a beautiful quad."
He was in absolute heaven.
I love to do special things for my son. Knowing there would be vehicles he would enjoy at the event was the major reason we attended this show. Lately we have put a lot of thought into things we can do with him to get him out and about. The problem is, however, we have to cease doing these things at some point and go home. This always results in a major Erik malfunction, and we were about to experience the worst one in history. Activities as simple as taking him outside in the yard always seem to end with one of us carrying or pushing a kicking, screaming boy through the front door, making me wonder if even our insignificant outings are really worth it. It may seem like a small price to pay, but after this occurs about three thousand times in a row, it gets really frustrating. You can't kneel down to his level and reason with him when he's this upset. I guess that all I can really do is ask the folks who don't wear our shoes to hesitate before they cluck their tongues and shake their heads in judgment seeing a parent carrying a kicking, screaming child to the car. They just might be doing the very best they can. There are some days I am just not up for his rage, and we remain inside the house. I fully admit it.
As Erik was forced to ride on Brian's shoulders away from his beloved ATVs, he bawled and screamed. When that didn't work, he tried manipulation, begging Brian, "Let go of me, please." When that failed, he went back to screaming and crying, making the remainder of our time browsing impossible to enjoy. Our voices both took on a raised, barking tone, which only seemed to upset Erik more. We were officially fresh out of reasonable ideas, and Erik was miles beyond reasoning at all. Brian carried Erik back to the Jeep, and I went to inform my friend that we were leaving. As we drove out of the fairgrounds, Brian and I calmly explained to Erik why we had to go home, but I can never determine if he really comprehends what we're saying or not. I would think that if he did, his behavior might change, but it doesn't seem to make any difference at all so far. However, we faithfully continue our explanations, hoping some of it will eventually sink in.
The rest of the day was slightly better, but Erik remained "off," screaming "NO" at us both with great gusto and refusing to do anything we asked him to do. He spent time alone in his room with each outburst. The whole outing just seemed to rock his world for the rest of the day. After Erik took a good nap, Brian decided to take him to the store for furnace filters in the evening. Erik did well, even without the confines of a shopping cart around him.
He was back to his old, Erik-y self.
I love doing special things for Erik and will continue planning them, but there is definitely a price we end up paying. We just make sure we're up for our punishment afterwards, which hurts my heart more than a little.
On some days, it's just simply not worth sacrificing my sanity.
Labels: behavior, impulsiveness, Williams syndrome