In a previous post I alluded to an incident that occurred on Friday night and promised to write about it here. Well, here we go. On Friday, Sean had gotten some free tickets through work to a Durham Bulls baseball game. Remember the movie, “Bull Durham”? It was about this team. Anyway, we were all excited to go and a bunch of people that Sean works with were going to be there as well, including Sean’s boss. Everything was fine on the way there. Ryan was a little nervous, thinking it might rain, but we assured him that there wasn’t one iota of a chance of that happening and he calmed down. He seemed to really be looking forward to the game. When we got there, both boys were enthralled by the sights and sounds of the stadium and it didn’t take long for them to ask us for cotton candy and sno-cones, which we happily provided. Then we sat and waited for the game to begin:
All was well for quite a while. Sean took Ryan over to the playground that was in the stadium and Iain and I hung out with each other, watching the game. It was great! Then, when Ryan and Sean came back, Sean mentioned that Ryan was upset because of the impending fireworks show that was going to take place after the game. They had been going back and forth about it for quite some time apparently but Sean said Ryan was back to being excited about seeing them. Let me backtrack a bit and give you some historical knowledge about my youngest. He has always been afraid of loud noise. He has never liked fireworks, motorcycles, thunder, or seeing movies in the theater. It overwhelms him and normally, we just avoid these activities or separate so some can partake and someone else hangs out with Ryan. This situation was a bit of a conundrum for us because, Ryan lately had been interested in seeing fireworks which is why we didn’t hesitate to drive an hour away from home to enjoy the game and the show afterwards. But now, Ryan was telling us something different, and we weren’t happy about it. Ok, back to the game. Sean left Ryan with me and gave Iain a turn at the playground and I could tell he was anxious. He was up and down in his seat, and was talking about the fireworks. A lot. He was looking forward to them one minute and then totally dreading them the next. I tried very hard to comfort him and assure him that he would think they were cool, and if he didn’t like them, we’d leave right after the first one. That seemed to assuage his fears for the moment but all of a sudden he completely flipped and started getting hysterical. “I want to go home, Momma. I WANT TO GO HOME RIGHT NOW!!!!” He was loud, screaming, and getting physical with me about it and I was like a deer in headlights. Sean was at the playground and I didn’t want to leave our seats because I was afraid we’d miss each other in the crowd. He wasn’t answering his cellphone so I felt stuck. The people that Sean worked with were beginning to stare and I have never felt so many eyes on me at once. I was trying to quiety tell Ryan that as soon as Sean came back with Iain, we would leave but that wasn’t good enough for him. “I WANT TO GO NOW! NOW! NOW!” Some people behind me were laughing, not in a mean spirited way, more of an empathetic, “Oh I’ve been there” way but it let me know people were aware and I felt on the spot. Sean just got a promotion at work and I felt completely self conscious about how to handle the situation. Thankfully, Sean and Iain came back from the playground and Sean, being the wonderfully intuitive person that he is, could see form the look on my face that something was up. We gathered up our belongings and began to head out from the stands when suddenly Ryan takes off running. Sean followed close behind but the crowd was thick and I got scared. When I finally caught up with Sean and Iain, Ryan was nowhere in sight and I started saying, “Where did he go? Where is he??” Here we were, in a town an hour away form home and Ryan had run off. It was unbelievable. Thankfully a policeman was standing right there and he saw Ryan hiding behind a garbage can. Well, I don’t have to tell you that between me and Sean, the adrenaline was pumping and it was a very long, stressful car ride home.
When we got home, we put Ryan to bed and told him we’d talk about this in the morning. It was almost 11pm and we were all exhausted. Except Ryan didn’t want to go to bed and his tantrum continued. He was on his loft bed, kicking the ceiling with all his might and despite our repeated attempts and pleas for him to stop, he refused. Finally, we felt we had no other alternative and Ryan got a spanking. It wasn’t anything that brought us any joy. The only thing it did do was calm him down. We brought him downstairs and had him sit with us for a while and then we all went to bed.
I guess I’m writing all this out because Ryan’s outbursts are almost impossible to deal with. When he’s in that state, he can’t hear reason and he becomes very physical. He throws things, kicks walls, he has broken many toys this way, and the list goes on. I feel like he can’t come places with us because he may get into this state and run away again. It’s moments like these when I feel completely helpless and don’t know what to do. I imagine it’s exactly how he’s feeling, too, but I don’t know the RIGHT way to deal with it. Spanking is not the answer. Neither Sean nor I want to spank because it doesn’t feel right to discipline that way but I don’t know what our other options were/are.
I’m looking for other perspectives here, if anyone has something to offer. What would you have done perhaps differently at the stadium when he began to get upset? What would have done at home when he was on the verge of destroying his room? I really want to know because this is one thing I have been struggling with and if we don’t learn how to deal with it now, it’s only going to get worse as he gets older and bigger.
Please! Anyone with advice out there?