Posts Tagged ‘special needs poll’

New Poll on The Foorce

See the right sidebar for my new poll. I’m interested in your opinion while I work on my latest rant against health insurance, waiting rooms and “special needs” practitioners. Recently it seems like anyone who has seen a disabled patient before dubs themselves a specialist – until they meet James, that is.

PS, the results from the last poll are below – now I’m interested to see how much more waiting you are willing to do once you’ve taken the time off and made the trek to the office.

How Long Do You Think Is Appropriate To “Hold, Please” After The Receptionist Answers The Phone?

Answer Votes Percent
up to 5 minutes 19 40%
1-2 minutes 14 29%
5-10 minutes 11 23%
10-20 minutes 4 8%
over 20 minutes 0 0%

Another Post About Balloons – What Would You Do?

July 13, 2011 3 comments

After reading this post make sure that you weigh in on the newest poll, posted in the right sidebar. I’m really curious about this one because even though I feel okay about how we handled it, I thought through several different scenarios and still feel like there was more than one “right answer” here.

Last weekend at the Natural History Museum sprinkler meetup we were busy having a good time splashing about when other people showed up. The nerve. Not just other people, but other people with balloons. Seriously, can we escape the freaking balloons for one day? One woman, whom I shall refer to from here on out as The Ringleader, brought a pump-your-own-and-let-it-squeal-through-the-air-deflating balloon kit, and was sharing it with any interested child. Including my 2 yr old. At first James didn’t notice – I thought, maybe this will be okay; these balloons look a little different and they are sailing through the sky, no chance of popping. Then one popped.

All hell broke loose, James started screaming and ran out of the sprinkler area. I corralled him onto our towel and offered him books, snacks, cash, but all he wanted was for me to “tell that lady to put her balloons away!” Though he was 20-30 feet away from the action, he was impossible to calm down and continued screaming loudly with his hands over his ears. Damn, people were starting to stare at us. I started having Central Park Zoo flashbacks (see Balloon Vendors post). I offered for James to sit on a nearby bench, about 20 feet further away, and read a book. He tearfully complied but another %$#@ing balloon popped and he went crazy on the bench, still perfectly audible to the growing crowd of curious onlookers.

At this point my 2 yr old daughter raced down from the sprinkler area with her hands over her ears to comfort James. Watching them both “sit out” on the bench with their hands over their ears, one voluntarily and one empathetically, I felt like I should be doing something. I watch The Ringleader gleefully leading children around like the Pied Piper. I said irritably to my husband, “What is she thinking bringing balloons to the sprinklers? Couldn’t she be a little considerate of other people’s situations?,” to which he said something about balloons outside and it being a free country and blah, blah, blah. I didn’t have time for reason – my kids were missing out on sprinkler time! We were having a meetup for special needs children, for crying out loud! Come to think of it, where were all of the other balloon phobes?

I thought about explaining our situation to The Ringleader and asking her to put the balloon pump away for a bit. Though many other parents were openly staring at my blubbering 10 yr old, she had not so much as glanced in our direction – too focused on her balloon magic, I guess. But then I looked at the crowd of excited children she had racing around behind her and I felt my indignation deflate (pardon the pun). My husband hustled James over to another bench, about 50 feet further away and out of sight of the balloons. I mean, why should everyone else’s fun be ruined so that James could play in the sprinklers balloon-free, right?

Then I watched my 2 yr old chasing the balloons, her hands still clamped firmly over her ears in silent support of her brother. I could tell she was torn between sharing in the same carefree exhilaration as all of the other children and comforting her very upset brother, who was far, far away from the balloons.

All joking aside, this is not an easy thing to watch your toddler struggle with. In fact, it makes my heart ache a little that she is learning this kind of empathy at such a young age. I don’t want her to see balloons  and feel a sense of panic, anxiety, unhappiness, worry or tension. I don’t want her to step on a sheet of bubble wrap at home and be chastised as James runs into his room hysterical. At 2 years old she should be able to see Curious George floating in the air with 50 balloons and not think he is scared because the balloons might pop!

We are not “soft” on James’s phobias – just last week I was bragging about how many he was able to overcome on our beach vacation, with a little coaching (and some neat props!). But balloons, popping, potential popping, things that sound like popping – this phobia has only gotten worse over the years and there seems to be no stopping it. It’s right up there with blood pressure cuffs and taking the elevator alone. Does it affect our daily life? Not really. Did my 2 yr old accidentally pop a plastic bag today and send James into a panic for the rest of the afternoon, in which he hid under the covers and cried every time he heard a noise (a book dropping, broom handle hitting the wall, toys crashing into a box, door closing too loudly)? You betcha.

So I’m passing the buck this time. What would you do if it was your child at the sprinklers? I know, you’ll need to use your imagination in a big way. But seriously, I’d like your opinion. Vote for what you think is the best answer in the poll to your right, or check Other and leave your potential solution in the Comments section.

A Glance At The Past Week and A Look At The Week Ahead: 7/10/11

I have meant to post something about James’s behavior at least half a dozen times this week but by evening I lose my focus. What is it about bedtime that allows me to forget all the stressful parts of the day? Probably the glass of wine, you’re thinking. But seriously, as soon as I tuck everyone in they suddenly look like little angels, nestled peacefully in their (or my) bed. You know the look: arms up around the head, mouth partially open, soft little snore? How could it have been that bad – they’re just so precious, and harmless, and sweet. Yep, it must be the wine.

So for now I’ll just say this – transition periods are hard for James. I was so worried about how he would do on our beach vacation that I didn’t even think about how it would be once we got back and he no longer had a regular schedule each day. This week’s calendar will be a bit disorganized again but next week we should be settling into more of a rhythm, so it’s just 7 more days of random tantrums, complaining, anxiety, boredom, panic attacks, fighting with his sister and waking up at night to handle before leaving the dark, windy Tunnel O’ Fun. That and the constant requests for TV, movies, video games and computer time. What’s up with that? When school is in James doesn’t even bother to ask – he gets very little plug-in time during the week and has to earn it for the weekend. All of a sudden board games, coloring, legos (even the Harry Potter ones) – they are so last school year.

Here is a look at the week ahead – I am pretty excited about some new opportunities coming up:

The First Foorce Contest! Yep, I feel that I have enough readers now to not embarrass myself by holding a little contest. With prizes! Check back for details soon.

What Would You Do? At our otherwise fun meetup at the AMNH sprinklers over the weekend James had a complete panic attack/ meltdown over, you guessed it, balloons. The next Foorce poll will ask your opinion about what you would’ve done if it was your child causing the scene. The old poll will be taken down in the next day or two so if you haven’t voted yet  now’s your chance!

Review of CMOM. I have received several emails asking me where this post is. Sorry about that – it’s almost done! I will make it a priority this week to tell you about our experiences at the Curious George exhibit, my email to CMOM afterward, and their response.

My Children the ABA Therapists. My husband gently popped a plastic bag in the kitchen this evening and I jumped like a gun had gone off. I said it before and I’ll say it again, who’s training who?

As The Grinch Always Says. Oh the noise, noise, noise, noise! A look at what James talks about. All day long.

Also be sure to check out the Water Cooler and Websites and Resources pages, which have been updated in the past week. Websites and Resources in particular is still a work in progress – sorry if your favorite site isn’t listed yet, but as always feel free to leave your two cents in the Comments section (or my inbox).

There is more (oh so much more), but if the past is any predictor I will be extremely lucky to get the above list done this week. Or even 4 out of 5. Definitely feeling good about 3.

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