Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Hate McDonald's Playland

I had an hour with my thoughts yesterday afternoon as I drove Bear to his therapy appointment. Technically, I wasn't alone, but Bear was wrapped up in his movie, so I had time to think. In my mind, I wrote a great blog. I had it all worked out -- what I would write and how I would write it. (You look surprised. What, did you think the blog fairy appears and writes them for me?)

Then yesterday afternoon happened, and suddenly I had a whole new blog to share with you. Out with the old, in with the new.

For whatever reason, Bear was just wild yesterday. I knew it before we arrived at therapy and it was pretty obvious when we were there. Despite this, I caved to his whining and took him to McDonald's after our session. We always do something special after therapy, despite the fact that he loves going there. Why am I rewarding him for doing something he already enjoys doing? No clue, but at least we get to spend some one-on-one time together. Normally we go somewhere and play checkers, but yesterday he was dying for McDonald's playland.

No problem, I thought. He'd play for a while, burn off some energy, and all would be hunky-dory. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! (For the record, yes, that is maniacal laughter.) When it came time to leave, Bear went into complete ODD mode, which is something we haven't seen in a while. Despite my reasoning, threatening, and pleading, Bear remained in the play structure, knowing full well I couldn't get him in there. Of course, that isn't enough for a child with ODD. His refusal to comply with my reasoning/threatening/pleading was punctuated by name calling that reverberated around the room and by faces made at me through the plexiglass windows of the structure. Someone asked me how old he was, probably figuring I'd say 4 or 5. Her face dropped when I said 7, so I had to launch into the whole ADHD/ODD/mental health explanation.

I eventually walked away from the structure and hid myself by the door, where Bear couldn't see me. As soon as I disengaged, he snapped out of it. Now came the remorse and the panic, and he came flying around the corner with tears streaming down his face. Just as I would a toddler, I wiped the tears, gave him a snuggle, put on his shoes, helped him into his jacket and mitts, and we walked out of there hand-in-hand, chit-chatting away.

I'd love to say that was the last of that particular behaviour, but that would be a lie. The name calling came and went all the way home, as did the tears. I even had to pull off the road at one point to comfort him. It continued at Stitch's daycare where, despite knowing better, he ran around the parking lot, dodging cars. With Stitch in my arms, there wasn't a whole lot I could do except holler at him, which only egged him on. Home saw me carrying him into the house, with his arms and legs wrapped around me, as he sobbed on my shoulder.

I have no idea what the problem was yesterday, but I do know this -- it was bigger than him.

I know something else, too. We won't be going to McDonald's when Bear's having a bad day ever again. Mommy learned her lesson the hard way.


  1. Oh man... what a time you had! I once had to haul my 5 foot 8 inch, 260 pound frame up into the MacDonald's play structure to fetch my non-compliant kid. Luckily no one else was there to witness this incredible feat of physics!

  2. Oh Laura what a remarkable parent you are! Bear is so so lucky to have you on his team. Your quirky sense of humour and view of the world will allow you to prevail intact over the despair. I hope you and Bear had a better day today!

  3. Deep breaths Mom tomorrow is another day another challenge. Maybe tomorrow he can talk about what was the problem or draw a picture of the beast that had him.

    I often wonder what child we'll have in the morning will it be the "spazz" that's literally bouncing off the walls at 5am or will it be the child that smiles at me while pretending to ignore me.

    I wish they came with an indicator so I could be better prepared.


  4. Oh friend...I honestly don't know how you do it. You are a fanastic mother and don't ever doubt yourself about that. You handled it as best as you could. xo

  5. He is a very lucky Bear to have a Momma like you :)

  6. i can so relate to how exhausting it is to ride a roller coaster like that with your child. and the stress of handling a melt down in public is so hard. ugh. it sounds like you did a great job with Bear. he is lucky for your patience and understanding!