I think I’ve mentioned more than once recently that Nik seems to be making really wonderful strides in the two weeks since we’ve taken him out of school. (See here, here, or here.)
While, technically, there is still much to be resolved around services such as PT, OT, Speech therapy, Niksdad and I are at very much at peace in our hearts with whatever comes. And it seems with each passing day there is some new affirmation of the rightness of our decision. Today’s came in an unusual and unexpected medium —a temper tantrum. Note, I did not say a “meltdown” or “coping challenge” though, in truth, the latter is exactly what it was.
The scene was my parent’s house. My parents live a mere six doors down the street and it is not an unusual occurrence for us to walk down to visit with Nanny and Granddaddy. In fact, when asked if he wants to go see Nanny and Granddaddy, Nik will usually drop whatever toy he is holding at the moment, squeal, and make a bee-line for the gate in anticipation of the journey. To put it mildly, Nik adores his grandparents; they have a lovely mutual admiration society going.
When we venture off to see Nanny and Granddaddy, we almost always go through their garage and into the house, where Nik makes the rounds of every door on the first floor. The layout of my parent’s home is such that Nik is able to make a path around the hallway and practice going up and down single steps unassisted. He loves the sense of freedom and autonomy, I am sure; I loathe having to chase him from door to door telling him “No door” over and over.
Today, however, my parents were outside working in the yard when we arrived. Nik greeted them with his usual affectionate zeal which involves clapping Nanny’s hands and rubbing his forehead against Grandaddy’s chin. A little unorthodox, true, but no less joyful and affectionate than hugs and kisses. Greetings over, Nik marched himself right over to the garage door and waited to be let inside. When he realized that wasn’t going to happen, well, he lost it.
And he didn’t.
In the past, Nik has —as many of you are very familiar with from your own child’s meltdowns —simply willed the bones in his legs to turn to liquid and hit the floor or ground with alarming force as he screams and cries. Nik would usually get so worked up that often Niksdad or I would simply have to pick him up and either carry him or put him in the stroller and leave.
Today, however, Nik screamed and cried and carried on so that the neighbors must surely have thought that wicked old man (Granddaddy) must have hurt the poor little boy! Poor Dad; he stood looking at his beloved grandson and was helpless. I’ve never seen a man look poleaxed like that before. But Nik kept his legs under him. In fact, once he realized that Granddaddy wasn’t going to let him inside —and he tried desperately to get Mommy and Nanny to acquiesce, to no avail —Nik simply grabbed Grandaddy’s hand and began to drag him away.
Mom and I thought he was going to try the front door. Nope. Nik proceeded to drag his Granddaddy down the driveway and out to the street —straight home to his own front door! Nik cried and fussed and fumed the entire way home as I trailed along behind pushing the stroller. God bless my father; he knew exactly how huge a development this was and he went along with Nik willingly.
Once we got Nik inside, he let go of my hand and marched, I swear he marched, through the dining room, turning right into the kitchen and proceeding on into the family room —”his” room — and threw himself onto the floor for a good hissy fit. I must have drawn blood biting the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing out loud.
Not missing a beat, I grabbed one of Nik’s new books which plays music (of course, would he have any other kind?) and sat down on the sofa to play with it. Nik’s curiosity won out quickly and he came to sit in my lap. In. My. Lap. He sat, leaning against me, playing with his book for a good ten minutes. He’d press a button and I’d sing along with the song and point to the pictures for him. Every once in a while he just sighed and turned to look at me with a sweet smile. I’m sure I sighed a few times, too.
I can’t help but wonder how differently this would have all played out had Nik still been in school.