Six months ago I had a really bad day with DD at our homelearner’s drop-in and the playground we all go to afterwards when the weather is nice. She was being very antisocial and I was taking it all very personally. We left the playground in tears, all of us.
This past Thursday we went to our first homelearner’s drop-in of the school year (funny how we refer to that calendar even though we aren’t in school) and since it was a lovely day we all headed to that same playground afterwards. What a totally different experience.
DD had a great time at the drop-in, painting and making friends with a new girl who was also 5. At the playground she and her new buddy were playing with the other kids and all seemed to be having a great time.
Just over six months ago I had a really bad day with DS, as he began to lash out violently at little kids, making our drop-in experience pretty miserable. I was reduced to tears by his constant attacks on this one sweet little boy in particular, whose mother was so kind to me despite the fact that her child had been badly scratched two or three times that day.
This past Thursday it was a very different experience. We’re not out of the woods yet, but DS is showing such wonderful signs of improvement. He didn’t try to attack anybody. He did side-check a couple of smaller kids (none were hurt) but it was clearly an attempt to engage them in play, as he’d just been wrestling happily with some bigger kids and had a big smile on his face the whole time.
At one point he wanted a go on the ride-on car and another kid was in it. The same kid he used to viciously target. He started to fuss and yell, but he didn’t touch the kid! I went over there right away and offered him words to use, which he eagerly and immediately used. There were other situations where things weren’t going the way he wished and again he did not resort to physical means. And although I suspect eventually he would have had I not gotten to his side in time, those moments of hesitation represent a huge milestone for him. I swear I could see the wheels turning in his mind as he struggled with what he was feeling, and what he seems to now understand is not an acceptable outlet for those feelings. That long-awaited impulse control is finally starting to make an appearance.
As we stood in the glorious sunshine at the playground and I watched my kids happily playing with the other children I couldn’t help but be reminded of those tough days, and marvel at how far we’d come. This is the lesson I wish I could pass on to every new mother: it does pass, it truly does! It’s amazing the difference that only six months can make.