Sometimes when we have to take The Don out for long days or activities he doesn't like, he gets the promise of a milkshake if he works really hard at doing the things requested of him and staying on task.
One example from the beginning of the year was OT. OT was at the hospital, and he *hated* all things hospital.
So a bribe was in order.
With the promise of the milkshake, he entered the intimidating building where his trauma had first occurred. He played with the nice ladies and followed directions. At the end, we'd swing by Micky D's on the way home, load up on Happy Meals and milkshakes and be on our way home. (I know that sounds horrible, but it was only once a week for 5 weeks).
During one of those post-OT Mc D visits, a kind elderly employee approached us and asked if my children would like a balloon?
So off we went, happy as clowns. I was really careful with the kids balloons, since neither wanted me to ruin their experience by, say, tying up said balloon for safe keeping.
We got on the bus home and were on our way. The Don let go of his blue balloon in the bus, and the lady sitting behind us gave it back.
A precedent was set.
He started letting go of the balloon more and more, and each time he was able to get it back. I made a mental note to be *really* careful as we got off the bus, so I would be able to catch the balloon when he would inevitably want to continue this game outside.
Our stroller is old. And creaky. The brakes stopped working. I had to push Betty off the bus with the wheels locked and while I was standing on the sidewalk trying my best to kick the stupid brakes off the wheels, I heard The Don's stimmy laugh next to me.
I looked up and sure enough the balloon was already well out of reach, confidently turning into a tiny speck in the sky.
I think that was our last serious public meltdown. Probably our last serious meltdown, period.
Fortunately we were pretty close to home, so it wasn't too difficult to manage the stroller and his screaming, flailing body. That meltdown lasted all afternoon and for days later he'd tear up talking about his "blue balloon". We have balloons at home, just not hydrogen:
Non-floaty balloons = FAIL
To be fair, Betty's yellow balloon wasn't up to scratch either.
Of course, Mc Donald's consistency applies only to food and decor - not, as luck would have it, balloons.
The next few times we went in, he kept expecting balloons. But then our OT cycle was up and we didn't have Mc Donald's for a while. Every few weeks though, he'd give me a cheeky smile and say "blue balloon"!
I was relieved when he was finally able to smile about it though, it was so sad when he was pining for his blue balloon!!
Anyway, we all had to go into London today so I could get some papers notarized for my upcoming move to the States. It was all a bit last minute, since I only found out we needed the papers last Friday, and I can't get registered at the university or start the ball rolling with our visas until they've received these papers.
We spent half the day doing that, and by the time we'd FedEx-ed them, it was already way past lunch. I didn't mind stopping off at Mc D's on the way home since it was quick and The Don had been *really* good the whole day:
He sat happily on the train, listened to me when I asked him to catch up or slow down when walking, waited patiently at the solicitor's office and everything.
|Sitting on a stump outside the house neighbouring the train station. He sat on it on the way there and again on the way back.|
Actually, he'd already spotted the Mc Donald's when we'd left the train station and were walking towards our appointment. He pointed at it and said "milkshake!" I figured that could be his little treat for being so good.
I was a-freaking-mazed that nearly four months after the "blue balloon" incident, he still remembered it!! He asked for his balloon today, but unfortunately they didn't have any. He was happy with his milkshake though, and all was good.
I just can't believe how much he has come on since the beginning of the year!
I'm sure many of you can empathize with our need to limit his access to computer games since he gets quite obsessive about them.
Focusing on play-time with Betty these last few months has really paid off. I almost couldn't believe it when they snuggled up to share his LeapPad time!!
I'm excited. Excited for the future.
For his future.