Part 1: Five Maxes
Dylan has a lot of Maxes in his life. Before Saturday night, there were four – two friends at school, one cousin in California, and one soul mate from Where The Wild Things Are. After Saturday night, there were five.
Our good friends, including Dylan’s bestest friend, Sophia, who he plans to marry someday (and live with in a tree house in Texas), have a dog named Max. He’s a sweet dog, but he happens to weigh about 900 90 pounds, which makes him more of a polar bear than a dog in Dylan’s eyes. To put it mildly, Dylan is petrified of him. He hasn’t stepped foot in their house in almost a year, except for one time when Max was sent on a sleepover and another time when Max was kept locked in the bedroom, which, if I recall, didn’t end well for the carpet.
On Saturday night, I convinced Dylan to go to their house. I promised I would protect him from Max. Dylan agreed to go if – and only if – he could play in Sophia’s room with the door closed. Deal. (Riley, by the way, has no major issue with the gentle giant. Each time we go to their house, he simply reminds me not to let Max eat him. Sure thing.)
The evening included a lot of holding and playing in Sophia’s room with the door closed, but by dinnertime, we sensed some bravery in Dylan when he agreed to sit as the table as long as Max was far away. Progress! A little while after that, it happened. Dylan decided he was done being afraid of Max. Just like that. No big deal. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that Max gives high fives on command? In any case, he got off his chair and played with abandon the rest of night declaring Max the dog his new friend. Do you remember when Dylan suddenly bounced? I don’t know how or why, but another wall came crashing down, and let me tell you, it was priceless.
In case you’re wondering, he didn’t eat anything for dinner except a bagel and cream cheese. Disappointing? Sure. But in the context of a night where he faced another fear and prevailed, it was hard to be too upset.
Part 2: Five Coins
I write incessantly about Dylan’s sensory issues, and it’s occurred to me that maybe you’ve wondered if Riley has any challenges, too. Maybe not, but I’m telling you about it anyway because it’s my blog. 🙂 He has one sensory issue. It’s tactile and it rears its ugly head with clothes. It’s approximately 97.9% behavioral and 2.1% sensory, and it’s 100% a bitch.
He makes me cut tags out of all of his clothes, he won’t wear a shirt with a collar or buttons, and he protests long sleeves (but he wore them – and pants – in San Francisco when he was freezing his little butt off so I’m kinda on to him).
Pants must be soft. Hoods and/or pockets that he can feel on the inside are strictly prohibited. “Take your cargo pants and relaxed fit denim and shove them up your ass,” says Riley to anyone who will listen.
He’s one of those cool cats with a fashion uniform of mesh athletic shorts and a tagless graphic t-shirt. This is fine for most three-year-old social situations, except for cold weather, bar mitzvahs and weddings. He hasn’t been invited to a bar mitzvah or a wedding yet, but I worry about it (of course). We’re not a fancy family. I mean, I love to get dressed up, but it’s rare that – as a group – we go anywhere that Crocs are inappropriate. Still, any chance I get, I try to dress Riley in something other than his bleeping mesh athletic shorts.
On Saturday night – the same night Dylan triumphed over his canine nemesis – I convinced begged and bribed Riley to wear a pair of Quicksilver shorts that have been collecting dust in his closet for about a year. They’re not formal by any means, but they don’t scream physical education. They still fit (phew), and…wait for it…they’re polyester with pockets. I was screwed.
Surprisingly, he agreed to wear them on two conditions: he got to wear his batman t-shirt and I had to give him money. Deal.
“I’ll give you a dollar if you wear these shorts all night.”
“No, I want money.”
“Riley, a dollar is money.”
“No, I don’t want a dollar. I want money.”
“But a dollar is money.”
“No, it’s not. I want money.”
This went on for a quite a while before I remembered I was conversing with a three-year-old.
“You want coins?”
I gave him three pennies, a nickel, and a dime, and he wore the shorts all night long.
There you have it. Five Maxes, five coins, and a reminder to never give up hope, this too shall pass, it’s always darkest before the dawn, after a hurricane comes a rainbow, and a cold glass of Pino Grigio goes a long way toward helping maintain sanity. Either that or it takes the sting out of knowing that it’s long gone.