This week on the #WASO – weekly adoption shout out – the theme is Moments to Treasure. In amongst the germs and innumerable sick days, there have certainly been some of those. Here are my top three:
A successful supermarket trip
It is fair to say that when we first got Little Bear, he was not at his best in the supermarket or in fact, any shop. I know this is not an unusual story, I think many parents feel challenged by shopping with their little people but Little Bear did take it to the max. Even on a relatively calm day, it wasn’t a good idea. It was as though on crossing the threshold, some sort of spell was cast upon him, turning him into a wild creature with extra-specially-grabby hands.
I can remember one particularly stressful trip in the very early days when I thought it would be nice to have an easy lunch in the café first. We were all frazzled before we’d even got there due to Little Bear refusing to get into his car seat and a ‘scene’ ensuing as Grizzly lost his temper. This had evidently set the tone for the day as on arrival in the café, Little Bear didn’t take kindly to having to pay for his food first and launched his dummy at an old man’s head with the strength of a professional bowler. He continued by refusing to eat any of his food and throwing anything in sight onto the floor. The shopping part wasn’t exactly fun either. Thinking he would be more contained in the trolley, I hadn’t really factored in the long arms with the grabby hands on the end. He would literally touch and pick up anything within reach and most times it would seem, want to eat it. One of the first items he tried this with was raw chicken goujons. Strangely, I couldn’t let him eat them. He didn’t take kindly to my ruling, threw more things to the floor and started head banging the trolley. Grizzly and Big Bear couldn’t stand the screaming and wandered off, leaving me to it.
After that, I decided a better plan was to leave Little Bear at home while I did the shopping alone! For several months that has been my approach. However, I knew I couldn’t avoid it forever and that the real solution would be to teach him how to behave in shops. More recently I have popped in somewhere with him to get a few bits but never a full shop. On these occasions I have had to steer him away from the security man’s seat with all its buttons and cameras, prevent him from reaching round to fiddle with the till, constantly nag him to stay where I can see him.
It was a glorious day therefore that we managed a really successful shop and I didn’t have to tell him off at all. I made a deal with him that if he was sensible and stayed next to me he could walk around the shop. Any messing and he would need to sit in the trolley. He was straight into grabby hand mode, putting anything and everything into the trolley. I decided to be very clear about what we didn’t want and to send him off on little missions (within the same aisle) to get the things we did. He coped brilliantly and really tried hard to listen and to follow my agenda, not his own. He didn’t wander beyond the end of an aisle and only rolled around on the floor a few times. By the time we got to the tills, he knew he was tired and voluntarily sat in the trolley so I could unload and pack bags. A little well-earned treat for him to nibble helped him to stay there. I may have been sweating and feeling like I’d run a marathon but we were both so pleased with ourselves. Little Bear got truckloads of praise, from me and everyone else I told about it so hopefully next time will go ok too…
A lovely trip to the park
Little Bear and I frequently go the park on our own and we do usually have a nice time. However, on this particular March day, we had an extra lovely time. The sun was out and the promise of spring was dancing on the air. We had the whole park to ourselves to start with. We played Little Bears favourite game which involves me holding him while he grabs hold of the zip wire. Then he lets go and we spin around looking for it and I pretend I’m annoyed that we can’t find it and he laughs and laughs. Although I’m not a huge fan of the actual game because he’s getting heavy and the spinning makes me dizzy, I love how relaxed he is when we play. How carefree his giggle his. How much eye contact I get. How I can easily sneak my hand up his top and tickle his warm back. How I can plant kisses all over his face and make him squirm and laugh more. We were having a moment of feeling really well bonded. Or in the “love bubble” as Grizzly and I like to say.
A few minutes later, another little boy and his parents arrived at the park. Usually Little Bear is entirely disinterested in children he doesn’t know but on this occasion, Little Bear strode right over and started to play football with the boy. The other boy was younger and a bit hesitant with the ball. Little Bear tried to encourage him by saying “good one” when he did kick it. Later he put his arm round him to help him up the climbing frame. I could feel tears welling in my eyes watching him because it is only a few short months ago that I was wary of taking him to places with other children for fear of what he might do to them. And here he was, interacting beautifully, not only playing with somebody but being kind and encouraging too.
I know this is a random point to end on but usually when I cut Little Bear’s nails he screams the house down. I think it must be a sensory thing. He is very brave and lets me do it but screams all the while. However, on this occasion, he didn’t. I cut every single nail and there were no screams. Not even a whimper. I definitely prefer it that way.
I have enjoyed this week’s theme. I think it’s therapeutic to keep a record of all the little positives and to take the time to reflect upon them. I might do it at the end of every month.