special needs parenting

Sometimes All You Need is a Spiffy Pair of Rain Boots

It was one of those mornings. Hit or miss, where I’m dancing across eggshells hoping to get Ben to the bus without a total derailment.

I’m not as good this as my husband who enjoys SuperParent status, so I’m over my head from the get go.

It goes like this:  Ben didn’t want to take his meds so I pretended to give them to Meg so he’d take them. Ben didn’t want to do his flush so I pretended to put his catheter into my belly button so he would say, “No, me!” Then I tried on his harness for the bus and flopped. He didn’t want to play the game any more. With the stakes maxed out and the bus chugging up the street toward our house we were at an impasse.

I feel for him. Before 8 am there are at least a dozen unpleasant things he has to endure. What a rotten start to a day?! Add to that his inability to understand it all. His meds control and treat several minor to major conditions, none of which make any sense to him. It’s just stuff we try to squirt into his mouth that tastes nasty, and more often than not makes him gag or vomit. And his flush and catherization are a huge quality of life improvement from having accidents and retaining urine, but again, it makes zero sense to him, and it’s an unpleasant hour of his day. I could go on and on. Every day, numerous necessary and unpleasant things he’s forced to do for reasons that he can’t begin to comprehend. Add to that some significant pyshiatric conditions the decrease his ability to regulate his emotional response.

Then after being bombarded all morning with crummy tasks he’s zipped into a harness and escorted to a bus.

And by then he’s had it.

Many days I wrestle him into his harness and shoes and wrangle him down to the bus.

But today was different. As I wracked my brain to find one more way to entice him instead of fight, I remembered a “new” pair of rain boots handed down from his cousins that had been stored in the garage. Boots he hadn’t worn before. Rain boots for a gloomy spring day. 

Those rain boots did the trick. Ben was just dazzled enough by his boots that I snuck his harness on while he admired them.  Then I convinced him that his bus driver would be super impressed by those boots, and he trotted right down the driveway, excited to show off his spiffy new look.

Today it worked. Today he hopped right on that bus, and my sigh of relief was just as huge as the tears I couldn’t head off last week when the outcome was the opposite.

Sometimes the mental gymnastics work, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I can pull it off, sometimes I flop. Some days we succeed in the final moments, some days we go down in flames. Every time it’s exhausting  for Ben and for me.   


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