My little boy had a school mate over this afternoon for what we in Sydney seem to be calling ‘play dates’. The little boy who came over is from my son’s ‘special needs’ school and is one year older than my Son. He attends the special school for similar behavioural issues to my son and his Father came to our house with him. He is a single Dad and tries to make sure that his son has stuff to do every afternoon after school so I thought I’d invite them around.
We were so delighted to find that the boys played really well together. They are so similar in their reactions and their verbal intelligence that they actually got on really well for a very long time. Towards the end of the time as it was starting to get dark outside and dinner preparations needed to be made, both parents began the warning and ‘prepartion’ system we have learned that you need to use with these children. First we call them in and calm them down so that they can listen to us. Then we say something like, “It will be time for the play date to finish in 10 minutes. OK.” The boys gave the expected responses of arguing for more time and starting to think of ways to make themselves scarce.
As it turned out they had decided to make a ‘surprise’ for us by cleaning up all the toys and mess around my garden. Some of that mess belonged to the Giant Puppy who was following them around by this stage in the proceedings. As the boys each took a vehicle, the visitor a red wagon and my Son a yellow Tonka Truck, they divided the objects for collection between them and were having such a wonderful time running around the garden that we decided to leave them to it for a little while longer. The Tonka Truck driver (my Son) was on ‘toy’ picking up duty, and the red wagon driver (the visitor) was picking up all the dogs stuff like bones, chew toys etc. This was causing the giant puppy to continually approach the wagon and steal the things back out again.. which was quite funny to the adults, but excessively frustrating for the boys!
I had seen that they had collected up all the toys from the garden and put them in the toy bucket and back onto the verandah so I decided to give them each a little lolly pop when they had finished to show my appreciation. When I returned into the house to get the lolly pops, all hell had suddenly broken loose! The amusing part was how incredibly similar these two boys were in their behaviour and reactions! The ensuing battle went like this.
S = My Son, V = Visiting child, M = Me
S – runs into the house – “He hit my truck!”
M “Whoa! Calm down! Who hit your truck?”
S “Him!” Pointing to V
M “OK, Why did he hit your truck?”
S “I don’t know!”
V – from outside, with head down but firm voice “You DO know why!”
S – at a million miles an hour “Because I was chasing Moppett with my truck!”
V – still outside and now shouting “You were CRASHING him with your truck!”
S – beginning to bounce and flap his arms around with eyes widening “I didn’t! HE TOLD me to chase Moppett to get him away from the wagon! Then when I did it he hit my truck! And it was so confusing!” Hands on his cheeks and head in desperation
V – “You shouldn’t have animals! You don’t know how to be nice to them!”
S – Voice getting higher, anger starting to escalate, runs outside into the garden and up his favourite tree.
M – “OK. It sounds like there might have been a bit of a misunderstanding here.” I walk outside and stand under the tree, where V has now gone and started crying. In an attempt to try and diffuse the situation and get them back to all the good they had done. I said, “Right, well lets all calm down because you know what? I was just going to give you each a lolly pop for all the hard work you did cleaning up the garden!” I held out the two lolly pops. All the while, the two boys were actually still hurling insults at each other.
V – ” I will throw this stick at you!”
S – ” If you throw that at me you will never be allowed here again!”
V – with tears of anger “This was the worst play date EVER! You shouldn’t be allowed to be here anymore!” ( I am very familiar with this as this is how most of my Son’s play dates end. He says that same phrase at least twice every time something goes against him at a play date!)
S – Escalates his crying to heart broken sobbing. ” You are MEAN! I am NEVER going to that school ever again!”
V – “Good! I don’t want you to!”
M – all the while trying to get them just to stop talking! I am still holding the lolly pops out. V finally looks at them and says
V – ” I want the strawberry one” and he takes it out of my hand.
S – still sobbing ” I wanted that one!”
V – “Too bad!”
S – Cries even harder if that’s possible.
M -“Ok. Thanks for coming V, I think your Dad is wanting to get home and start making dinner now. I want you to try and remember how much fun you were having before the misunderstanding OK?”
V – “Thank you for the lolly pop and for the play date…. I am going to make a bomb and put it on him so you won’t have him for much longer”
M – Trying to pretend I didn’t hear that! Mine has said things like that before too so I’m not overly concerned about it, they just try to think of something to shock you into joining them in their little world of arguments! “Right, well see you then!”
V – ” I would like to come back, but only if he’s not here anymore!”
S – descends the tree in utter disgust and runs around to the front of our house where he climbs into the big otto recycling bin, closes the lid and refuses to come out!
M – to V “Right, well I’m afraid that’s not possible because I love him and he lives here! Now off you go!” – Meanwhile V’s Dad is desperately trying to walk up the garden path to make a graceful exit while calmly saying to his son “C’mon. We have to go now. It’s nearly dinner time!”
That was pretty much the end of it thank goodness! It took me quite a while to coax my son out of the bin but eventually I did, and was able to explain to him that V was mistaken in thinking that he was trying to hurt Moppett because he has never seen how fast S is able to stop and turn the truck and how much Moppett enjoys being chased by it! (This is actually true, but to the casual viewer, can seem a little uncontrolled and scary I guess!)
Now I just have to hope that they have both forgotten the drama when they get to school tomorrow! Well actually I know that neither will ‘forget’ it as they are both exactly the same in temperament that way. The best I can hope for is that they got over it! Now I’m tired from all this drama 🙂