Sometimes, I forget that my kid is…unique. I make plans for special days and holidays and still expect that they will go as planned. If you’re the parent of a 2e child, you know that the days that you have the highest expectations…can sometimes go the craziest. Take Halloween for instance.
If you read my blog, you know that I had already tackled the costume and trick-or-treating issue with my TBP. He gave a list of convincing reasons why he did not want to dress up. Although I had hoped that he would change his mind and transform into a zombie or a pirate, he stuck to his guns. The morning of Halloween, he decided that he did want to go trick-or-treating, but he still did not want to wear a costume. My first instinct was to suggest no costume meant no trick-or -treating and then I thought…Who cares? The weather was so wet, most people wouldn’t notice that there wasn’t a costume under his puffy coat and hood.
So after an early dinner, we started out. He had no reservations about walking up to houses without a costume. He seemed very secure in his decision, even when other kids took a second look at him trying to figure out what “he was.”
At some houses, he surveyed the selections that were being offered and would then say, “No, thank you. I’ll pass.” I am pretty sure that was a first for most of these homeowners. At first, I felt the need to shout from the sidewalk the reason for his careful scrutiny. I think next year, I should have him wear a sign or hand out little business-type cards that says…”I might dig through your bowl because I am looking for dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free choices.”
After a dozen houses, my son looked in his bag and said, ” Wow! Look at all of this!” We asked if he wanted to keep going and he said that he was done. I thought to myself…”What kid would want to go home now?” It was just dark and there were streets and streets of houses lined up, just waiting for us. I kept my thoughts to myself and agreed that we could go back.
For the rest of the evening, he played videos and passed out candy. There was a lot more noise than normal. The video games, the doorbell, the dogs barking, and the sounds of kids outside all added to a chaotic feel despite our attempt to wind down the night. At his normal bedtime, he was shocked and upset at how quickly it had arrived. He got more and more aggitated and kept shouting, “It’s Halloween! Come on!” In his mind, he must have thought that Halloween meant a free-for-all. Since it was a school night, we could not allow continued gaming.
This news was not well received and a tantrum began. He is often encouraged to use his words and boy…he used words alright. Just not the “right” kind of words. Because he was angry, it seemed his goal was to hurt us with his sharp tongue. I knew that the few pieces of candy that he was allowed and all of the sensory aspects of the night, added to the outburst. I knew this intellectually, but the tantrum was still exhausting and disappointing. Good news was, the tantrum was done and over in 20 minutes. Last year, this tantrum would have been an hour minimum.
After he got in bed, it was hard for him to calm his body and his mind. As he got closer to sleep, he repeatedly apologized. He was sorry and cried about the things that he had said in anger. I knew that he was remorseful. This is when the self-doubt starts and his own disappointment in himself is more than I could ever put upon him. At this point, I accepted his apology and tell him the things that he did well. He went to his bedroom instead of continuing to shout insults. His recovery time was much shorter than in the past.
When I look back at the night, I still consider it to be a pretty good night. Yes…I could have lived without the end of the night tantrum, but I saw a happy, secure kid doing Halloween the way that made him the most comfortable. For that, I am grateful. Speaking of grateful…I’m sure there will be a Thanksgiving tantrum in the upcoming weeks!