Monday, June 01, 2009

Hold on, folks. It's always a wild ride 'round here. I remember reading a post from Living with RAD about not scheduling anything for the week after school for Brenda's radlets, because the transition is difficult. I thought to myself, "Well, good. She knows and follows her children's needs." Here's what I should have thought, "Hmmmm. This wise woman has been parenting RAD kids for years. She knows what's around the corner, and I should take note and learn from her. Hell is gonna break loose here too the day school is over."

But I didn't.

I was caught unawares. Mostly, because my radish hasn't been to school in six years. He came home the Friday after school concluded, and wigged out for three days straight. He balked at any every day pleasantry and piled on insult to injury with every family member. He immediately went from thirteen to three when "the school's out" bell rang. At one point, he produced a screaming fit and kicked a hole in the dry wall in his room, because we simply asked him to go to bed.

And I, being naive, had made a zillion fun plans for the next day and the next week. Much to everyone's disappointment including my own, I started canceling plans (yet again) for Tater and myself knowing we'd taken ten giant steps backward for no apparent reason. Who wants to hang around a five foot four angry toddler?

Somewhere around Sunday, when the rest of my family returned from fun weekend plans sans Tater and I, the lights flew on inside my head about Brenda's post, and the puzzle pieces fell into place. I understood Tater's anger came from having to be away from his school friends for the long stretch of summer, and that he doesn't have the ability to compute the opportunities of swim team, trips to visit with old friends and family, football practice, sleeping in, biking, hiking, ice cream outings, and the like for the lazy days of summer. To Buck I explained all this and the fact that Tater probably wouldn't be ready for our big trip to out-of-town family get togethers in two days time. Buck literally cried and wished for a family "who could just do fun things together." At that point, there was not fun to be had with Tater- just arguments, disregard and disdain for parents and siblings alike. I couldn't imagine subjecting any of us to five hours trapped in a van with the raging bull, and much to Buck's chagrin, we constructed a new plan for Tater and I to stay home from the graduation gala and birthday parties altogether, and for Buck to take the others for fewer days. Buck became somber while I tried to stay positive for Buck's sake. Tater instantly sniffed the shift of events in the air and suddenly began to ask questions about packing. When we replied, "We'll let you know if and when we need you to do that." He retorted, "I'd hate to have Mom miss going on our trip because of me."

It's so true that words don't work with RAD, and these children can and do make connections themselves if we'll let them.

Then his behavior turned around on a dime. He went from complaining and demanding his every whim to "Can I help you do anything, Mom? What do you need Dad?" and "Though I'm missing my friends from school, I don't need to take it out on you guys" for the next the next three days. When we hit a bump on the day before our trip, I asked, "Do you think having your way is worth missing summer activities?", and he skipped merrily back to the yellow brick road of the Big Six. In fact, he's miraculously managed the Road to Oz for a week now on our trip and back home.

Man, I wish I had this all figured out. My crystal ball reads a cloudy future. It could go any way. However, when Brenda posts what to expect in the future, I'll be more ready to take it to heart.


almostgotit said...

Transitioning to summer can be surprisingly difficult for kids -- we had a similar-sounding melt-down with one of ours a couple years ago that actually required some pharmaceuticals.

Expectations vs. realities; structure and companionship vs. chaos and loneliness! Enough to mess ANYONE up.

My dh was just telling me about his own difficulty recently in making the summer transition: he'd worked SO HARD to finish the academic year, looking forward to having LOTS OF TIME at the end of it... but suddenly a million and a half things are raising their heads and needing his attention. It happens every year! To me, too (moms don't GET summer vacations... they just get more noise and more laundry!!)

truevyne said...

It's nice to hear this from you. More noise and laundry is right!
I think I'll be much more conscious of transition next year.

Rob Scott said...

That brought tears to my eyes, Truevyne. I will be praying harder for you and Buck.

truevyne said...

Thank you, Rob!

John said...

I've been reading a little bit about attachment theory, but I had never heard of RAD.