I posed a question on Facebook a couple days ago. “What do you do when the detour becomes the routine?”
Well, one road we take to get home often floods during heavy rainfall, so they were working on it for about a month. THe first day we had a detour, he had a fit because he didn’t get to see this one van that I never knew he cared about. It went like this for a few days, and then he got used to the detour. The detour meant that he got to see the red Mommy’s car and the purple Daddy’s car and, on the way home, we passed the buses. It was all mapped out in his head. We took the detour for so long, it became his new routine.
Last week, on Friday, the detour was gone. I didn’t notice it as quickly as Squeaker would, especially since he wasn’t in the car with me at the time, but I was excited. But I also know him quite well. I anticipated the fits to come. Because I know him. I know what sets him off. I knew that this new route we had taken for a month was suddenly gone and he would be mad.
I think part of the reason he liked it so much was because he had this whole speech scripted out for when we got the detour. “The road’s broken?” “Yes, the road is broken.” “WHO broke that road?” “I don’t know, Squeaker, who broke it?” “The Monster Truck broke the road!” “Now, why would the Monster Truck break the road?” “I don’t know. Because…because he broke it.” Honestly. It was the same conversation. Every. Single. Time. Just like I have to act all shocked and excited every time I see a Mini COoper, I had to follow this conversation with him. NO deviations allowed. He would always bring it back around. It was exciting for him, I guess. But I’ll be honest. I’m glad the road isn’t “broken” anymore. It shaves a good five minutes off of our drive and takes that particular conversation, which I’ve sadly grown tired of, off the docket.
Now we have an entirely different scenario. Now he talks about how the road isn’t broken anymore, screams, and kicks and punches the car window. Kind of makes me wish for the detour, but I know it’ll pass with time. Just like the fits eventually went away after the Mini Cooper at the dealership got sold. Every now and then he still brings up it not being there (when he’s in a REALLY foul mood), but he’s mostly over it. It’s just this afternoon, I know that I will get to the place the detour used to be and brace myself for impact because he wants to pass the buses and we won’t. ANd no, I will not take the detour route just to settle him down. I can’t live my life that way and neither can he. I wouldn’t be preparing him for the real world if I always MADE things go his way. If I always worked things out for him. He’s got to understand that things change, cars move, detours happen, roads close and reopen, and he’s got no control over any of that. That’s what we call life.
So in the meantime, I guess that at about the same time every day, I’ll reach behind me and take his shoes off before he can throw them. I’ll clench my jaw and do my best to say NOTHING to him (because talking to him when he’s like that doesn’t help–it makes it worse). And I’ll wait for it to pass. I’ll pray for a Mini Cooper to pass. And then I’ll hope he doesn’t expect to see it the next day. Because in his world, everything should happen the same way every time. And I’m really not sure how to teach him (with the limited verbal skills he has) that life really doesn’t go that way.