There is no denying it, life is busy. After a hectic week or hectic number of weeks, that one day on the calendar shines like a beacon in the dark. That one day is of course, the illustrious, lazy day. That one day where for one reason or another, no plans have been made, no family are visiting, we aren’t visiting any family and there are no big jobs to be done around the house. PYJAMA DAY!!!!!
This Sunday just gone, we had one, unfortunately it did not turn out to be as relaxing as we had planned…
Now of course we know that there are two things that O cannot process very well; a change in routine or there being no routine, these are things we try to avoid in day to day life but through a combination of circumstance and possibly taking our eyes off the ball, we hit him with both and boy, we paid for it.
The change in routine was totally down to circumstance. On Thursday I got a call just as I was leaving work (thank goodness I have Bluetooth connectivity in my car now, I always used to miss calls at this time with my phone on silent and me being in the car). It was my wife asking where I was and explaining that O had come off his bike, hurt his knee really badly and that he refused to move from where he was. I said it would take me half an hour to get there and they said they would wait.
When I eventually got there, they were all on the grass at the side of the road; my wife, O, C and a boy that my wife was picking up from school for his mother who hadn’t finished work yet. We checked over his knee together, couldn’t see anything obviously wrong with it. He had trapped it between the bike pedal and the frame then hit the ground, he was clearly in some pain because if he was playing on it he would have become bored after 10 minutes and would have gone home anyway before I got there. I loaded O and his bike into my car and took him home while my wife completed the 5 minute walk with the other 2 boys.
We kept an eye on it and gave him a support bandage as he was struggling to put weight on it. The following day he had his school summer fair which of course included a performance. Watching him he still had quite an obvious limp and it was at that point I realised I had to tell him that at football training the next day he would not be able to take part or if he did, it would be in a very limited capacity. As you can imagine telling a child that they can’t take part in their favourite activity, never goes down well. He pleaded that he would be careful but I know him and I know he gives 100% all the time, he just can’t help himself and I didn’t want him making a minor injury into a major injury. As a parent it’s the obvious answer, save them from themselves, they don’t know how bad it could get, but also selfishly as his manager next season, I didn’t want to lose him, as I’ve written in a blog before, I love the way he plays so for me it was clear, he wouldn’t take part.
When Saturday came, he joined me as an assistant coach and was very helpful, my reasons for not having him play an active role were justified when with us just playing the ball to each other he really went for power and stretched his knee, I winced every time and I could see it did hurt, if he played a game he would have done serious damage. There was only one wobble and I was called an unkind dad because I stopped him from going in for a tackle when the kids were blowing off some steam, but that was short lived and almost instantly forgotten about.
The rest of the day was OK, we could tell he was a bit thrown out by not being able to play football that morning but there were no signs of proper anti behaviour. Later that day we had our ‘Simon Says’ group which is a bereavement group he has been attending since the loss of his Grandmother in 2013 which was good for getting his mind back on track as we tend to have a ritual of having a McDonalds before the group so it makes him feel safe that once a month we have a McDonalds and then visit group. The rest of the day then passed with only the most minor of blips. It’s worth noting that the whole time he had the bandage on he was showing it to whomever he could, bringing it into conversation at any available opportunity, he loved the attention.
Then, Sunday, the relaxing pyjama day arrived. O woke up at somewhere around 6 and declared that he was hungry, we were quite tired because we had gone to bed late, we had the last few episodes of ’13 reasons why’ on Netflix to watch the night before and it was just one of those “One more episode” nights (Great series BTW, I would highly recommend it).We flopped about in bed like grounded fish looking for the brioche we keep to fend off the early morning demands.
The brioche sated him for all of 10 minutes before he started whining again, which of course woke up C, tired and grumpy he was very wingy, which carried on for the rest of the day. I took them downstairs as they were antagonising each other and if I didn’t the whole house would have been a hotbed of angry tired people. I gave them both a small amount of cereal because it was a Sunday and we’ve started to have a fry up on Sunday mornings as a treat, so just a little something to tide them over (poor starving children that they are).
My wife came down at 8 to find me on the sofa, the boys either side of me drifting in and out, fighting the sleep that my body obviously needed. She started the fry up and I helped, then the fun and games started. Before each day we have a set of cards, depicting various activities, so O knows what is going on the following day so for example on Tuesdays he could have the following cards; Walking to school, School, Walking home from school, Swimming, Mum working. This visual representation for the day puts his mind at rest and gives him the structure he requires to quell his anxiety. We have been using these cards for about 6 months now but this is the first time we have been able to use the Pyjama day card, so we proudly put it up on the board, all on its own, that was going to be our Sunday.
When the boys weren’t getting attention as we were preparing their breakfast they just couldn’t help but do what boys do, fight. Between the cooking and breaking up the boys, the day hadn’t gotten off to the relaxing start we envisioned. Breakfast was served; bacon, sausage and mushrooms for O, Sausage, beans, and toast for C, everything for my Wife and I. C was being his usual chirpy self, singing at the table, O decided to take offence to this, we told him to leave his brother alone, he mimicked and mocked us. That was his first trip to Time out, fighting and screaming as we took him upstairs because he was hungry, we didn’t care about him and we were starving him. This was how our day went; he would antagonise his brother, we would step in, he would mock us, time out and screaming. He wanted to do what he wanted to do, when he wanted to, with no suggestions from anyone else being taken into consideration, crushing the family dynamic and making one day that was meant to be relaxing, become the polar opposite. Bed time was stressful because he decided he wanted tucking in and at that point with his behaviour we had had enough. He is quite capable of pulling a blanket over himself, but he decided he wasn’t going to and we had to, we stood our ground of course as his controlling behaviour has to be kept in check, but in doing so he was bellowing through the house for us to do it, waking his brother several times and turning the house into an oven as we had to shut all the windows as to not disturb the neighbours, it was a very stuffy night. Eventually he finally went to sleep at some time after 9 o clock, where we finally breathed a sigh of relief and crashed.
Why did all this happen? One reason was he was thrown off by the change in routine, there was nothing we could have done about this, it was one of those things, something we just have to deal with. The problem was, this was compounded with a lack of structure for the day, with no definitive plan as to what we would be doing when and going with the “let’s see what the day brings” approach was our downfall. His anxiety levels were through the roof and he fought every little thing that day, with the heat we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be and made mistakes ourselves. It’s days like this that reminds us to be on our game at all times, tired or not. It also teaches us that even on lazy days, there needs to be a solid plan, lazy days as we know them are gone… at least for now.