Wondering about the title, right?! Let me explain…
4th of July (Explosion Day)
Every Fourth of July, my parents, sister, and sister’s family come to our house. We have snacks & dessert and catch up with each other’s lives and share opinions about current news stories. “News stories” really means details about “Katie and Tom” and selecting certain bachelors for the finale show. When evening changes to night, we are prepared with lawn chairs and sweatshirts for our own “Safe and Sane” show on the sidewalk. They are fun, but the true finale of the evening is an impressive firework extravaganza. I say “extravaganza” because surrounding neighbors seem to compete with their expensive displays. The purpose of the day is the firework show, but the time that we spend together is the valuable part.
Although I love this tradition, there are parts that are challenging. My son continues to struggle with friendship skills…even with his cousins. Sharing is hard and making compromises is even harder. The day is complicated by the fact that he has just had a lot of excitement with his birthday. It starts out okay. Our TBP seems to enjoy our small firework show and is involved with the smoke bombs and crackers that you toss on the ground for a pop. I watch and wonder how long he will be able to manage himself. Spontaneously, he jumps into my lap and hugs me tightly…overly tight.
Shortly after the “real” fireworks started, my TBP went into the house to escape to Mine Craft. It is hard for some to understand why he wants to be in the house, when there is a fantastic show that comes only once a year going on outside. When the family guests leave at 10:15, he can’t hold it together any longer. Not only is he exhausted because it is past his bedtime, but the sensory overload has him at his breaking point! All of a sudden, he begins to cry and holds his head saying it is too loud. It is loud! Some of the beautiful sprays of colors have been exchanged for booming exlosions! We sit by helplessly as he begs us to make it stop. At this very moment, I’m sorry that we don’t have a panic room or an underground shelter! Finally, at 11:45, the war is over! I don’t know who won, but I can tell you that I will lose tomorrow when my son is tired and on edge.
Note to self…buy multiple pairs of earplugs for next year’s 4th of July.
July 5th (Clean Up Day)
Despite the very late bedtime, he wakes up at his regular time. When I describe this day as “Clean Up Day” it means both clean up the house and clean up of emotions. I purposely plan for a “slounging” day and he watches more morning tv than normal. We have breakfast and get dressed, but everything is moving at a slower pace and I am choosing my words carefully. So far so good. I allow for more down time, less demands from me, and compromises about the usual reading & math requirements. I’m thinking that this slow paced day is the trick and that I might get through the day without any scratches.
And then it happens…
About 4:00 pm the tiredness sets in and so does the complaining, debating, and challenging. The really unfortunate thing is that I am tired too and this combination can be trouble. Thankfully, before I open my mouth to deliver a harsh response, I remember the circumstances. Under the best condtions, we aren’t getting this attitude and constant badgering and I remind myself that if I am tired, that he must be exhausted. Instead of a lecture, I ask him if he would like a snack. As I say this, I am taking a risk that he will be angry that I am changing the subject or not hearing his current complaints. He accepts the offer and we share a rasberry smoothie and both have a chance to regroup.
Bottom line is this…If you have a child like mine, celebrations come with a price. It doesn’t mean that we won’t continue to participate, it just means that we need to prepare for “Clean Up Day.” I’m sure we all do this differently. In our house we have a slower-paced day. What do you do on your “Clean Up Day”?