Hitting the Reset Button

During a work call, I got a call from T’s daycare teacher. She was not her usual calm self.

She said an older student had ran off the bus during drop off and pushed T against a wall. She had to shield him from further harm.

A few hours earlier, the hubby and I received an email from his CYW letting us know the day before T had bothered a younger peer on the bus and the mother called the principal very upset.

It was a Friday afternoon and all I wanted was to get to the weekend.

My mind was now sandwiched tightly between two extremes of emotions: one of disappointment and one of upset and concern.

This was a week ago. The past week was challenging at home and school.

One of the present challenges we have with T is his impulsivity and emotional regulation – two things that create a difficult combination.

He says the first thing that comes to mind and when he’s triggered or disregulated, he can say very inappropriate things. Lately, it’s escalated to verbal threats – to us, peers and teachers.

According to T, the older peer on the bus was bothering another peer and T told him to stop and that’s when the peer got upset.

I’m aware there are two sides to a story and that T’s attitude can escalate a situation. Nonetheless, while I have empathy for the peer, physically hurting someone is never ok and we’re working with the school to address the situation.

We are fortunate to have understanding teachers at school and daycare. We advocate on T’s behalf; we don’t make excuses for him but we frame his behaviour as a result of his disability.

The hubby and I are aware that people may not always be understanding. If his behaviours continue as he gets older, they could lead to suspensions and social alienation.

We do our best to remind T to act with kindness and to teach him strategies – like walking away or asking a grown up for help or quiet time.

Last Monday, we had a call with our FASD service coordinator – to look into funding for potential Special Service at Home.

She first asked us “Can you tell me about some of the recent wins that you had?”

The bus incidents were fresh on our minds. But we answered her question, including talking about his recent successes with reading and math.

It was a great exercise, because it allowed the hubby and I to take a step back to refocus on the big picture.

For other parents going through a similar journey and experiencing the same frustrations, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of doing this.

To reset.

Thankfully, this past week was a short one and we had one goal in mind for our Easter long weekend – to reset, Daddy, Papa and T style.

Sunday was gorgeous – cool but bright and sunny – and we went for a very satisfying 2.5 hour hike at Mono Cliffs.

T is in his element in the outdoors. He had lots of space to burn off the candy he had instead of breakfast that morning.

The outdoors calm him down; it calms all of us down.

Our hike was a wonderful way to cap off a calm, pleasant weekend at home.

As I watched T stare at the cliffside views and the clear waters, I reminded myself to not let the challenges get to me.

It’s important to acknowledge them, to take them seriously, but to also let them go and move on.

T is a great kid. He is a work in progress – but aren’t we all? He’s made great gains and he will continue to make gains.

And the battles? We will face them as we always have – one at a time, together, Daddy, Papa and T style.

20 thoughts on “Hitting the Reset Button

    1. Thanks Diane. The past week was much better, almost back to normal. The first week after the bus incident was just awful to deal with. 😆

  1. Thinking about wins is such great advice! Also, using the word RESET – start over – we use that with our grandson and it is helpful. Happy Belated Easter Wishes to you and your family!

    1. Thanks Vickie. It’s definitely a great mindset to help keep moving forward. Hope you had a nice Easter and a nice birthday celebration with Jess!

  2. I completely agree about how it’s so important to recharge and reset. Life is a marathon and not a sprint. I’m glad to hear that you finally made it to Mono Cliffs. It looks like a beautiful day for a hike. Hope you had a happy Easter and best of luck with all the snow.

    1. How are you awake at 5am?! 😆 It’s 8am here and I’m trying to keep my eyes open. Haha.

      But yes, your message is very true and a philosophy to remember during the difficult moments of the marathon.

      We were so glad to finally get into Mono Cliffs. The daily vehicle permit program is great. You can have peace of mind you’ll get in!

      1. I always have trouble adjusting to the time change whenever travelling. I tend to wake up around the same time everyday, even on weekends. Good thing it’s just a three hour time difference.

        Agreed, the day-use permits are fantastic and a great way to better manage the crowds. I’m also happy to hear that Ontario Parks is continuing it for 2022.

  3. I must admit I used to be one of those people who judge ‘unruly’ kids. But as I read more and more stories like yours, I realize there’s more than meets the eye. What I saw was a mere snapshot of a series of events with a background story I was completely unaware of. And it would be kinder not to pass judgment on situations like that. I think I’ve said this before but I will say it again: despite all the challenges T had and will have, I’m confident that your and your husband’s unconditional love for him will make a big difference.

    1. Thank you, Bama. I feel the same as you. Looking back at my childhood, I can now see that some of the more challenging classmates I’ve had probably had similar challenges and now I feel more empathy for them. Life is the best lesson! 😊

      And while it may not feel like it during the hardest moments, I do feel hopeful that our T will be ok too. 😊 Thanks for the kind words!

  4. I imagine it is easy to feel overwhelmed at times. I am glad you were able to get out into nature as a family for a bit! A lot of healing and decompressing can happen there 🙂

    1. Thank you Grace. Definitely was overwhelming when it first happened. If we got through it. The family find out in nature definitely helped!

  5. I felt the ups and downs, the Hope and challenges , the blessings and difficulties. You are an inspiration my Friend. So much heart, patience and understanding. I agree , Resetting is important. It makes something enormous become manageable. Regards to your Hubby and T. Everyone is working hard and trying. Congratulations🙏

    1. Thank you for the kind words. We actually had a really good weekend and it was nice to be able to reflect on this latest speed bump with some perspective. Hoping this week ahead will be a good one for all! 🙏

  6. Thank you for your honest post. Everything you all are going through is common with many of those with an FASD. Impulsivity can be so tough.i do have a question: is he a sensory seeker? If so, maybe a weighted vest or a sensory gadget.like a fidget toy could regulate him a little while in school and on the bus? I am happy to hear there are teachers and parents fthat understand. Keep at it, you all are doing incredible!

    1. Thanks Rebecca. He definitely has sensory seeking behaviour, especially with water and sand. The school has tried a variety of strategies, including fidgets and a band for his chair for his feet. The novelty often wears off after a while. Thankfully though, his teachers try different strategies that do work. The most important part is for now everyone is trying and accommodating. That is, as you know, half the battle! 🙏

  7. I love the unity that runs through this post. Yes, challenges happen but they can only be handled one thing at a time together as a family! I’m sorry about the bus – it seems like that is a place that is hard for kids to navigate. My daughter really wants to ride a bus (we don’t live far enough from the school) and I’m like “really”?

    Sending you lots of peace and calm for this week!

    1. Thanks Wynne. The bus ride is only 10 minutes but boy do lots of issues come up, as he’s with kids he doesn’t normally go to class with, including older kids.

      The school is great in putting him at the front with the driver but that doesn’t seem to address all the issues. If work was not an issue for us, we would drive him ourselves from school to his after school program.

      So you are wise to avoid the bus if you can! 😆

      It was a wonderfully calm peaceful and enjoyable weekend so we are hopeful the momentum will continue into the week. Wishing the same for you!

      1. Sounds like the bus is a recipe for disaster but logistically makes so much sense. Right – I’m avoiding that as long as I can.

        Your weekend hike looked gorgeous! Loved the pictures!

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