Alas, I had rather a dramatic end to what was essentially a great day. My plan for the day was to take my son to school, run my dog around the garden a bit, then meet my friend for a day of gossip, lunch and to give her a lift to the Dr. It didn’t quite turn out the way I had expected.
First, the morning started out in a mad rush as we all got out of bed too late. We had less time to complete the same amount of stuff. We got it done and we were only going to be five minutes behind schedule. My husband had left his motorbike at work last night and come home in a taxi due to going out to a work related dinner, and I suddenly realised that my husband had no way to get to work. I had to text my friend and ask if we could meet a little later than planned so that I could drop him off at work first. So that was the first problem. We were late for school, but only a little. I had now run out of time to run the dog around the garden and so we tied him to the side board and that was where he had to remain for the entire day unfortunately.
I met my friend, and we had a lovely time together as usual. All good there. I brought her back to my house as it’s a short walk from there to pick her son up from school, and I grabbed at my dog’s new giant walking harness, only to find that he had actually chewed a part completely off it and it no longer held him!
Then as I opened the gate to get him in the car, he had clearly had enough and decided to bolt across the busy road!! Eeeeek! Heart pounding, I gave chase, but calmly, as he tends to run faster and further if you try to approach him. I yelled, I cajoled, I called ‘come’ in my most expert ‘dog training’ voice. Sigh.
The next 10-12 minutes saw a wild chase half way up the road, back and forth across the main road a few times, with traffic having to stop for him. luckily he’s giant and white so people could see him easily because the stupid dog just stood in the middle of the road while cars had to stop all around him! He then proceeded to just stare at the drivers even when they honked! I gave chase multiple times in my high heeled boots. I even caught him once. With short hair and no collar or harness to drag him with, I had to kind of wrestle him back towards my house. Unfortunately, he saw where I was going and twisted free and it was on again!
The second time I ran inside and grabbed some food to try and tempt him, but he was a bit too smart and still wouldn’t come. Every time I approached, he dashed across the road again! I almost got to the point where I thought, “you can bloody well get hit by a car and then see how much you can run away from me!” mean, I know, but I was really mad! I caught him again and thankfully my friend, who had been watching all this in horror, was able to run inside my house and grab his collar and bring it to me. This allowed me to drag him home and almost throw all 30kg of him in the back of my car as now I was 15 mintues late to pick up my son from school! Arrggg! So frustrating! I was hot, annoyed, sweaty and tired from running!
I got to the school and apologised profusely to both my son and the teachers. I explained what had happened and tried to leave. My son was talking to one of his friends, and I started listening to the conversation because he was clearly distressed. The friend was trying not to listen to him, and was saying things like,
“You know, I’m not your friend anymore.”
My son was getting very upset and started saying, “OK! I will hate Fred again! I will! So you can be my friend again!”
Myself and the teachers were trying to say things like, “Hey! It’s OK to be mad, but not to be mean! We don’t need to hate anyone. If someone is annoying us, we don’t have to be friends with them, but we do have to be calm and not mean.”
A small scuffle of tears commenced. The other little boy was unmoved by my son’s tears and confusion about the seemingly fickle nature of his friendship. I also think my son was quite upset at the thought that he had to hate Fred again (name changed to protect the innocent). He does find Fred extremely annoying. It’s not surprising, since all the kids at the school have a reason to be there. Just like my son, they all have ‘issues’ of one kind or another, and some of them can be quite full on. Poor little Fred is a darling of a child, but he is REALLY LOUD!!! HE SHOUTS AT YOU ALL THE TIME and he’s incredibly ‘in your face’. He just loves my son to bits and follows him everywhere and keeps wanting him to play with him and look at him, and so on. My son does try hard to tolerate it for a short while, but it doesn’t take long before he gets so frustrated that he starts saying mean things to Fred. We’ve had lots of talks to our son about this. We will be continuing to have lots of talks to him I believe, but today seemed to be especially difficult.
I do have a concern about the friendship with my son and the other little boy though, because my son always seems willing to break rules or do things that he isn’t quite comfortable doing so that the little boy will continue to be his friend. He gets heartbroken and doesn’t really understand what’s going on when the other boy starts being mean with him and won’t be his friend anymore. That, unfortunately is one of that little boy’s issues. He manipulates. We know this, and are keeping a close eye on it.
So I took him home in tears, and commenced all the emotional support and coaching we’ve been learning. He got lots of understanding and hugs and I listened to him for a long time. At one point I suggested that I thought he might have been so upset because he felt bad that he had said he would “hate Fred again”. I thought maybe that didn’t make him feel good because he knew that wasn’t the right thing to do. Well, that clearly hit some kind of nerve because he dove off my lap, shot under his bed, and wailed,
“I am just stupid! I will NEVER have any friends! It’s too hard! I should just be locked in my room and I don’t even deserve to have a house or any food or anything at all! I wish I would rather be dead than have to make new friends!”
Poor little poppet. I followed all my new rules and just quietly and calmly, sat ‘with him’ in his emotional state. I said things like,
“Oh sweetie, I can see this is all really confusing for you. It’s making you feel so incredibly sad, and frustrated, and also angry. I can see how you have so many emotions just boiling and bubbling in you and you feel like you want to just get away from it right now.”
I chose not to acknowledge the things he was saying but to be with him in the emotions. Eventually he came out, with dust all over his head ( I really need to move his bed and vacuum under there again!). He sat on my lap again for a little while and had a cry. Then all of a sudden, he got angry again and kneed me in the jaw in his angry thrashing about to be off me! He crawled under his sheet and in a very angry voice told me to get out! Damn! Thought I was getting somewhere too! Sigh again.
I very calmly said,
“I can see you are still really struggling with all those emotions again, and that anger is the one you have right now. I will go out of the room to give you space, and when you are ready, come and get me. I hope that you will apologise to Mummy for hitting her in the face when you come out too.”
He did come out eventually, and we ended up having a lovely afternoon where he did listen to me, and pack things away when asked and did the right things. We did drawings together, which he never wants to do, and passed on into evening with no further mishaps! Man I’m tired now though! I feel like I might need to do rather a lot of loud angry singing, or frenetic dancing to get it all out of me!
So all that is what I get for trying to steal a little too much time for myself in the day! A dog that is destroying and chewing everything out of boredom and trying to get himself killed for kicks, and a kid who needs so much extra patience and attention that I end up frayed at the ends!
Tomorrow, I am meeting another friend, but only for coffee, and only after I’ve walked the dog. Fingers crossed that the afternoon goes well!