Today, Austin, Kaleigh, my father in-law and I all went to the annual preschool field trip to the pumpkin patch. Last year was extremely hectic with both kids, so I decided this year, I was going to bring someone along to help. Now, it went much better than last year but it still had its moments.
We drove up and met the class at the pumpkin patch. When we first arrived Austin was very excited, jumping and spinning around. He stops if you tell him to and I have to go over and explain to him that he must calm down. He has been told if he gets too excited, we must leave, it works and he settles quite quickly. We all gathered and had snack before heading out on the wagon ride to get our pumpkins. Austin and Kaleigh sat quietly and ate their snack with children running and jumping around them and they didn't even leave their seats! WOO HOO! One hurdle down without incident! YAY! (Last year, snack time at this event was a disaster!)
Next, time to leave to get our pumpkins. I would say at least 30 people (parents and children combined) were on the wagon pulled by a tractor that does 5 km/hr ... :D (if I don't laugh, I'll cry!) Now, all the children are anxiously awaiting the arrival at the pumpkin patch. It takes a few minutes to ride out there. Once we arrive, we are all in line to get off the wagon. Keeping the kids in a orderly line is difficult to say the least with all the parents and commotion. We head towards the front and we are next to get off when I notice a woman with two children standing beside the opening and no one has let her off yet. I figured we would let her out since she has been waiting so patiently and it is the polite thing to do. Before I can say "please go ahead" my father in-law tells Austin to wait and let the lady out with the kids. No way Austin was willing to wait. Good Lord ... here we go! My father in-law tells him to stop again but he won't, I think he tried get him but he was not within reach. I got a hold of Austin's arm and told him to "wait"! "LET GO OF MY ARM! LET GO OF MY ARM! LET GO OF MY ARM!" I responded, "I am not letting go." The woman who we were letting out, just stood there staring at this display as did the entire wagon of people behind me. I motioned her to go when Austin had stopped screaming ... she said "thank you". We all filed behind and on our way we went to "happily" (well, some of us) get pumpkins.
Now, I would like to elaborate on the "perception" part of this post. Not my perception or even yours (because I am sure many of you have been where I was standing just a few hours ago) but the people on the wagon, their perception of Austin screaming. I have told him over and over not to react like this because someone could misperceive the situation. I do not like to have to hold onto him or carry him anywhere if he is protesting because I am afraid someone will get the wrong impression. I do not want someone to think he is being harmed when he is not. It is really a scary thing to me. These people behind me (except the teachers, they know because they have to deal with Austin like this too ... thank God someone understands what is going on) all stopped. If my son is melting down and I am standing over him or cuddling him, no problem, he is not reactive. The same cannot be said if I have to hold him when he is trying to get away, like today. It affects me because I have no idea what people are thinking. Do you get it? I am sure you get it ...
The rest of the trip went very well and Austin had a blast ... he painted his pumpkin without mixing all the paint colours together! YAY! (Last year he made a little guy cry because he wouldn't stop mixing until all the colours were one and he had black ... he painted his whole pumpkin black ... oh my! I stood there apologizing to this little boy's mother, who was very understanding, thank God!) So this was a huge achievement for Austin. He did GREAT! He also ran through the corn maze (which I may add, made me a little nervous, so I tried to keep up to make sure he is okay) and found his way out all on his own ... he was so proud, so was I! He was so happy! :)
I guess I know that if 9 out of 10 things go well, I should be happy and usually I am but sometimes how other people perceive something really hits me where it hurts. It is really heartbreaking when your son is yelling at you to let go and all you want to do is let him go but you can't ... what else are you to do, really? I had to drop off Austin at school after the trip and the teacher patted my on the back, smiled at me (she "gets it") and held my arm as I walked away, just to reassure me ... "it's all good".
There is a lot of positives that came out of today though ... Austin had so much fun and he even picked out a pumpkin for me (what a sweetie). He came in and out of that maze like he had run it a 100 times, he responded when I started to count "1, 2 ..." and left without protest. I like to focus on the good but we need to acknowledge our challenges too ...
I would like to thank someone dear to me (she knows who she is) for she picks me up when I need it and helps me along on this journey more than she will ever know ... thanks hon, what would I do without you? You have helped pave the road I walk now, thank you ... I LOVE YOU! *HUGS* everyone!