If you’ve met Smiles in person you’ve likely been charmed by him. (That is, unless you work in the medical community). He’s personable and friendly, outgoing and engaging. He’s at his best when he’s around a bunch of people; he knows no strangers.
At home it’s a different story. It’s probably a healthy sign of adjustment that he no longer feels the need to win us over, but it can sure make everyday tasks like running errands or taking him to a baseball game that’s at a different field than normal eventful. The first few weeks home we thought it would be important to let him know what was coming up. Each night we would look at a calendar and talk about what was coming up in the next few days, as well as further off events like his birthday or cold time (the kids REALLY REALLY REALLY want it to snow).
This approach backfired. What ended up happening was one of two things:
- If it was an event he was looking forward to but it wasn’t happening right this second- He would whine and cry about it until it was time to leave. His whine does not sound like a normal whine. It is kind of like a cow dying.
- If it was an event he wasn’t looking forward to- He would whine and cry about it until the event happened, even if the event was hours or days away.
So, we stopped talking to him about what was coming up.
Which leads us into situations like this:
This is Smile’s third week of school. He loves it and his teachers have told us how his smile warms their hearts. On Smile’s second day of school, he rode the bus home. He did not love this. He came home saying “mommy car” so since then, I have been bringing him and picking him up. I’m on leave so it’s not a big deal. But I’ll be going back to work soon and that will no longer be an option, so yesterday we started the transition to being a bus rider. I knew he was not going to be happy about this so I devised a plan.
I got Smiles around, shoes on, tummy full, the whole shebang. We went outside just like normal, only this time I made sure the front door was locked, the garage doors were closed, and the van doors were locked. I told the kids we could play outside for a little bit and Smiles started riding Wiggle’s tricycle around. I supervised, rubbing my fingers together and laughing sinisterly*. The bus comes at 8:47 am.
At 8:44 am I told him he would be riding the bus. The cow murder started.
At 8:46 am the bus appeared at the top of the hill; his stop is at the bottom of the hill.
At 8:46:02 I started pushing him on the tricycle down the hill as fast as I could.
At 8:46:10 I realized my baby, 2 year old, and 5 year old were sitting/playing in the driveway while I paid zero attention to them. Crossed my fingers and continued to push.
At 8:46:30 Smiles put his feet down and I could no longer push him.
At 8:46:31 I picked Smiles up- he weighs half of what I do- and carried him while running the rest of the way down the hill while he was screaming, kicking, and slapping me.
At 8:46:35 I checked the other kids to make sure they weren’t playing Frogger.
At 8:46:50 I introduced myself to Bob**, the other kid at the bus stop. I quickly tried to explain the situation and Bob was great. He told Smiles the bus was fun and that he would be his friend.
At 8:47 I put screaming, kicking, slapping Smiles on the bus. Literally walked up the steps and sat him in the seat. Explained ourselves to the bus driver who said she’d keep an eye on him.
Then I went home and collected my other kids who were playing nicely and were thankfully not trying to commit suicide.
At 8:55 I realized I must have looked like a psycho to Bob’s dad. My remaining 3 sidekicks and I walked back to Bob’s house to make friends, but Bob’s dad was nowhere to be found, probably busy calling DFS.
Luckily, Smiles came home saying “bus good” and today was much easier.
*Not really. Also, either “sinisterly” is not a real word or I am a horrible speller.
**Not his real name