We had a tough time at a family event. Niece’s birthday party. The difficulty started before we even left the house. Christian didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to swim. He didn’t want to party.

Brian tried to talk to him calmly. Christian’s panic left. For a second. Until I tried to slip his sandals on his feet. Panic returned.

So, I picked him up while he fought me with all of his might, grabbing onto each doorway as we made our way out to the car. We reassured him that he didn’t have to swim. He seemed OK as he started frantically typing out credits on his iPad again.

OK, until we pulled up to the house and parked the car. My heart sank. I knew that we were not in for an easy afternoon. Yet breathlessly prayed that things would calm down.

Unfortunately, they only escalated. We tried any calming measures that we could think of, but nothing seemed to help. Everything we tried actually seemed to make it worse.

At a loss, I resorted to leaving with Christian. Does our niece really want a screaming, crying, angry 7-old at her “happy” birthday party???

Sigh.

I walked out to the car with Christian and Brian came out to grab a bag of swimming stuff that we had packed. Christian was livid that we were leaving Brian and Olivia behind. He threw his iPad and sandals at me. He clawed and cried and screamed. I cranked up the music and drove.

(Thankfully we weren’t too far from home!)

Eventually, Christian realized that he could unbuckle (since Liv wasn’t in the backseat policing his every move). Since we have the child-proof locks activated in the backseat, he decided that his escape route would be the windows. He started to roll them down and tried to climb out while I was trying to get us home as quickly (and safely) as possible.  I grabbed his leg with one hand while I clung to the wheel with the other and prayed that no wild animal would dare cross our speeding path.

Christian fought me more as we pulled into the garage, not wanting the door to close, really proving that Brian and Liv would not be home with us.

But they want to party, I said. They are at the party and will be home when it is done.

So, we wrestled about the garage door remote. I wrestled him into the house. He continued to claw and scream and cry and kick for the next (at least) half-hour. I just wanted to cry.

Once I calmed down, I found myself wish that Christian could TELL me what has going on. Why he was so angry and sad and mad. Did he hurt? Is it the teeth that are trying to make their final push through his gums? Is it the full moon? The weather changes? Is it the tag on his shorts? His sore finger? A belly ache? Is it the smells of a different house? The sounds? The textures?

I just wish that I knew. I want to understand. I long for the words coming out of his mouth telling me what IT is.

Because how can I really help without understanding the root(s) of the issue at hand???

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