I’m mad, I’m sad, I’m despondent, I’m confused.
Took C & J to their favourite park today to burn off some energy. While J ran around like a maniac in his fireman rain boots, C headed off to try to make friends to play with. He zeroed in on 2 boys that were likely brothers, approximately 6 and 8. He pursued them relentlessly. I could tell the older boy didn’t feel comfortable and didn’t want to play at first. C persevered and the younger one began chasing him. Eventually the older brother joined in. There was C., his motor tics going like crazy (he has one right now where he puts his head off to the side and almost touches his ear to his should while he contorts the rest of his body). Difficulty was, C really didn’t clarify what game they were playing or how to play and he was much faster than the other 2 boys. And I’ll be honest, he does look a little “weird” with all his motor tics. The boys eventually gave up and went off on their own again. I tried to distract C, to no avail.
He pursued the boys again and I overheard a girl (possibly the boys sister) tell them to “just don’t talk to him”. I couldn’t help it – I said in a loud voice right to her “oh, that’s real nice -he just wants to play”. Meanwhile, C had cornered the boys and called for me, when I went over he said “I need your help Mom, I just want to play with them”. the boys really did look like dear caught in headlights. So I focused on C and said, “I think you are confusing them. They don’t know who you are and you keep telling them what to do. You are still a stranger to them.” I could see the older boy nodding his head out of the corner of my eye. C turned and put out his hand “Hi, I am C pleased to meet you”. The older boy wouldn’t take his hand (I don’t blame him – what 9 yr old shakes hands??????) and C just stood there and said “You’re supposed to shake my hand and tell me your name”. The younger boy shook C’s hand and offered his name, to which his brother shot a dark angry look at him for. For a few minutes the boys played together again, everything seemed fine and I stayed close by. The older girl promptly went to her father and was whispering and pointing at C and suddenly they were leaving.
As they walked away C (who didn’t understand what was happening) tried to follow them and was resistant when I tried to get him to come back. He really thought I was the one stopping him from playing with his new friends. He started to have a meltdown and I almost lost it, I was so frustrated by the whole series of events. I didn’t know whether to cry or to scream so instead I said in a loud voice – “I know you want to play and I know you didn’t do anything wrong. I guess that girl and her dad just don’t know you and don’t understand your Tourettes. Maybe one day someone will teach them how to be nice”.
I’m not saying it was a great thing to do. It did stop C in his tracks, he suddenly stopped fighting me and said “It’s just not fair” and as we walked behind the family trying to high tail it out of there I put my arm around his shoulder (which he didn’t shrug off right away for once) and said “I know. You were trying but some people just don’t understand”.