My other car is a pterodactyl…

Or- How playful parenting unsticks an insistent 5 yo. And how it doesn’t.

 I have to laugh when people ask me for advice on parenting. I mean- some are my friends- so maybe they just love me and don’t see my failures because of that- but some people aren’t reallyreally close to me and ask advice anyway.

I’m flattered- really. But so much of my parenting success is accidental!!! Maximus gets stuck. He gets stuck a LOT. Totally and completely fixated on something that is NEVER going to happen the way he wants it to, or cannot happen right NOW, even though he firmly believes it MUST. Knowing that 5’s are still working on the whole fantasy/reality separation helps a little. But I’m also dealing with a little boy who is developmentally Atypical- so he’s doing the 3 year old ‘words as magic’ phase AND the 5 year old ‘everything I perceive or imagine is real-but I can decide real things should be different and they are’ phase… at the same time. (gah!!) This is a typical trait of Autistic kids- the stuck-ness, I mean- but it’s gotten much more intense lately. :\

 One day, we had a change of plans- involving Dear Husband needing to take the car into work instead of his bicycle. We’re a one car family-and that’s a VERY long story- and some days Momma and the kiddos have the vehicle and some days, Daddy does. On this particular day WE were supposed to have the vehicle. We were supposed to go to the library. Very often we walk to the library. It’s about 6 ‘blocks’ but it’s a pleasant walk and we take our time. This is also an EXCELLENT way to get Maximus grounded (ok, AND a little tired) and makes for a better library experience. Normally this would have been no problem EXCEPT for the fact that it was raining. L

 Maximus could NOT be made to understand why we were not walking to the library in the drenching rain. Sigh… “Mommy, WHEN are we going to the library?” J {Crap! I was hoping he’d forgotten :} “Baby we are not going to the library today. We can do xyz instead.” There followed a LONG interlude whilst Maximus pondered the implications of what he’d just heard. ……………………………………………………….

“But Mommy, we NEED to go to the Library!!” “Max honey it is raining horribly and Daddy needed the car for work.” “But Mommy, PLEASE!!! We HAVE to go!!!” “Max, we are not walking to the library in 40 degrees and rain.” {The tears started- no, on Max’s end, silly!} Endless variations on the above themes followed.

 “Mooooooommmmyyyyyy!!!!! We NEEEEEEED to GOOO!!!!! We need to call Daddy on his cell phone and he will come home and give us the car back!!” {reason #562 children should not know about cell phones} “No- daddy’s not allowed to have his phone ring at work- he turns it off.” {score one for Momma, right?} “WE just have to go get the caaaarrrr!!!!” {ok- that would be no} Finally, I had an idea (took me long enough, too). “Hmmmm, well how would we go get the car? Maybe we can take the zebra? Shall we ride the Zebra to Daddy’s work and get the car?” J

 “WE don’t HAVE a Zebra!!!!!” “We don’t?” “No! We don’t have a zebra, Mommy, you KNOW that!!” “Oh dear! Well…. Hrm…….” (Now I put on my very best matter-of-fact-this is the best idea ever voice) “I know!! I know what we can do!!!” Tears stopped momentarily… How was Mommy going to fix this? “We can take the Pterodactyl!!!” 😀

 Stunned silence. Then- the barest crack of a smile. “Mommy!” (now Max is trying not to smile and is not quite done crying) “What??!!! Don’t you think it would be fun to ride our pterodactyl in the rain?” “We don’t have a Pterodactyl!!” “Oh.” “We have to go to K-Mart and BUYYYY one!!!!” By then the tears were ending and the giggles were starting. Success.

What I want to know is- how can I claim something as a success when I was a. grasping at claws :p and b. only succeeded by accident? I really can’t, because it could just as likely have ended like the extended episode (we’re talking DAYS folks) wherein Maximus insisted that his stuffed cat needed to go to the chiropractor because he had ‘stepped on Meow and broke her spine’. There are many many many reasons why we could not visit the chiropractor this past week. No tactic was successful. I offered to help Max play chiropractor. I offered to take Meow along to therapy on Wednesday so Miss K could help her. I tried to playfully remind/convince Max that his stuffed kitty didn’t have a spine… all to no avail. His fixation had to run its course, and it did. Eventually. :}

 These are good examples of why we need a parenting toolbox chock full of tools. Nothing works for everything. Effectiveness of tried and true discipline techniques wear off. Life contains far too many variables for one person to claim he has the inside corner on child rearing! Sometimes- life gets ridiculous, and so must we! So for occasions such as these, it helps to remember that my OTHER car… Is a Pterodactyl. :p


About greenegem

Wielder of the Pen of Deep Wit.
This entry was posted in Figuring it out, Grace-Based Discipline and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My other car is a pterodactyl…

  1. Katy-Anne says:

    This is good but I’d have bundled him up in some warm all weather clothes, got out our rainboots and umbrella and walked to the library. That’s one thing I don’t understand here in America…why everything stops just because it’s raining.

    • greenegem says:

      When Max is like that- all of his sensory issues are magnified. getting him wet in any way would have ended in me trying to carry a squalling 3 y.o. and Maximus’ combative 50 lb body home whilst juggling umbrellas and 30 lbs of books… If we had had rainboots, and umbrellas for everyone I may have tried it anyway. But I know my limits and his.


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