On Friday I managed to convince J to wear long pants. It was colder and rainier than it had been in a while, and he was game for it because they were his “movie theater pants.”
Yes, J has a pair of long pants that are purely and exclusively for movie-theater outings. Like Sheldon Cooper’s bus pants, these signal a specific outing, and will be accepted as replacements for shorts. A definite turn away from long cargo pants has been duly noted; the fact that J pushed them so far to the left in a barely-visible corner of his closet (six pairs of pants look like one!) is a clear indication that “school pants” are no longer a thing for him.
Going to the movies, in J’s mind, is either prefaced or followed by a trip to Old Navy. We are easily recognizable there now. J goes straight for the t-shirts and lounge pants. I look for viable long-pant alternatives. The pair he currently accepts as movie-theater wear is similar to a jogging pant, but it has a mock-tweed texture. We have found a pair of actual jogging pants that he doesn’t yet want to wear out of the house, and a pair of sweatpants that he has already broken in. With colder weather fast approaching, we will need to add some alacrity to this quest.
I took J to watch Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and I fully expected him to want to leave halfway. J sat happily watching the movie. It is at moments like that one when I remember that he loves The Nightmare Before Christmas, and I make note of getting him his own copies of the Harry Potter movies…the copies we had were TGG’s and, of course, he has them.
We continue with the daily meltdown. It is, as I mentioned, brief, but it is there nonetheless. The cycle is usually the same, and now I am even more vigilant about the possible onset. We have tried explaining to J that he has to talk to us, but I am figuring that this is a self-stimulation issue and I am trying to be patient while offering alternatives. Churning butter has come to mind…we lack the equipment.
There is, of course, very little we can do to get J to understand the more complex feelings that come attached to his hitting himself. He knows it’s wrong, but he seems incapable of reasoning that he should stop. It lasts very briefly, as I said, but I make sure to explain that it’s harmful, it’s scary, and there’s no need for it. It seems to be somehow related to his desire for brief pockets of concentrated attention: hugs, kisses, I love yous that are followed by a happy but firm BYE. He is satisfied with the results of his tantrum, and we are emotionally exhausted.
That’s where we are in our adaptation to life as it is now. We might be changing venues again soon…we are pondering another move if Dada can find employment elsewhere. It is not that his job is in danger so much as his job is too stressful and he’s wondering if it’s worth the hassle. At our age, with our built-in stress, we need to exert some control over these decisions before life forces them on us.
Does that make sense?
Another start to another week in a colder frame of weather…on we plod with as much enthusiasm as the fog will allow…