Basketball, it seems, is a bad idea. Twice this week, Bean has come utterly unglued, and both times were over playing basketball. Team sports in general are not a good idea for PDD kids- and he is no exception. His frustration levels rise, and he doesn’t seem to understand that the other guys are supposed to try and take the ball- they are not being mean- it’s part of the game. The same thing happened when he wanted to play soccer. He lasted one game before his soccer career was over.
He is rambling down the court, concentrating with all his might on dribbling the ball. This is a big deal, that he can actually coordinate his feet with his hands with his eyes and bounce a ball at the same time. But the other kids playing with him in the gym at the Y don’t get this. His disability is invisible. He looks like any other kid. No one knows it’s taken him two years of therapy to be able to hold a pencil correctly and make it move in the direction he wants it to move. Other kids with visible disabilities automatically get cut slack by society. I’m not saying I want my kids to be visibly disabled, but sometimes it sure would be nice if I could just put a sign around his neck: “Handle with Care”
So another boy innocently took the ball from him. And he came unglued. He began to honk, which is a noise he makes when he’s stressed. It the worst sound in the world, and Mo can back me up on that. He runs after the boy who took the ball, and begins to flail and yell. And then everyone stops and looks at him, and I can see all this happening in slow motion, and I am powerless to stop it. My legs are shaky from the workout I just did, but I ran across the court and grab his arm- to which he responds like a wild animal. We are waaaaaay past the tipping point now, and the only option is leaving.
Only he’s getting bigger and stronger and it’s not possible for me to sweep him up like I would have when he was younger. Also, behavior that the public writes off to age gets harder to deal with when your kid gets older. I have to literally drag him, honking and screaming, from the basketball court, trying to keep my cool and find Jeffrey and Abby at the same time. I kneel down to talk to Bean, but there is no talking at this point either. Calling for Jeffrey to grab Abby’s hand, I start for the exit, a firm grip on Bean’s wrist. Now the whole lobby is stopped and looking at us. It’s surreal.
Bean starts to flail and scream and is punching me with all his might as I drag him towards the door. This continues to the car, with Jeff holding onto Abby and obediently following the rolling disaster. At this point, I am still fairly under control of my own emotions, and get him in the car. To whit he immediately flings the door open, screaming and kicking, and tries to get out and run away. I put him back. He does it again. I put him back, sternly.
When we got home, he was sort of calmer, which is like saying the forest is only sort of on fire.
I am the mother, and my heart breaks for all of my children. I can empathize with Jeffrey and his frustration at always having to be understanding. I can empathize with Bean, for what he struggles with and that I AM his mediator with the world. I feel terrible that Abby’s easy-going personality usually has her languishing as last on the list.
Bean spent the next hour in his room under his weighted blanket, until he could come out and apologize. He did, and now you’d never know anything happened. He’s laughing and happy and playing downstairs with Jeffrey. And I’m waiting for the Y to call and cancel my membership.
Some days take everything we’ve got.