CLEARING THE HURDLE
Ever since Rojo got his braces on last Thursday, and stated he would "chew in two years," we've begun the soft sell, which has worked for us in the past. We pick a date in the future and tell him that's the day he'll do __________. So it was that we've been saying, "Tuesday is the day you will chew again. Your teeth won't hurt, you'll be ready on Tuesday."
Usually STM has the morning duty and I have the evening duty, but as soon as Rojo woke up Tuesday he came to get me and wanted me to go downstairs with him while he chewed.
STM put a whole plate of tiny bites of garlic toast in front of him and he threw up a lot of roadblocks, "My body isn't awake yet," "I'm not ready to eat yet," "I'm not hungry." Finally STM gently asked, "Are you going to chew today?" And he BURST into tears and said, "I'm scared to chew." I finally got him to down a couple of Danimals and we called it "breakfast." Then we moved as unit into the living room.
I looked at Rojo and said, "So, think of something fun for us to do today, we have the whole day together, just us." Mr. Helpful (who, btw, just gained a week of his life back) said, "How about the zoo?"
I came back with the ol' standby, "It's going to be too hot for the zoo."
Mr. Helpful said, "Not if you go early!" Then Mr. Helpful checked on-line and found that YEA! The zoo opened an extra hour early in the summer, and YEA! We could leave right away and beat the heat!
Rojo and I parked near the entrance, paid our exorbitant fees and I did a little self talk. "Self? It's okay that you just paid $24 to walk in the door and haven't even paid for the train yet. It's okay that you will likely see 2-3 animals and spend most of your time at the vending machines and/or drinking fountains. This is a rich experience for Rojo, that does not need the presence of actual live animals to enhance it."
I'd like to say the self talk worked, and to some degree it did, but every time we neared another animal and he veered me away, there was a moment of OMHOG. True confession.
At one point he was happily engaged at the vending machine and I needed to pee. The restrooms were right there, so I said, "Stand right here, don't move an inch, I'll be right back. Oh, and sing, so I know you're still there."
I ducked inside and could easily hear him from the other side of the wall, "Glory to the God-est! Glorrrrrrrry to the God-est! Glory to the GOOOOOOOD-est!" I think that was the moment I stopped cursing the day STM was born.
We eventually finished at the vending machines and bought two tickets to take the 35 minute train ride around the zoo. We boarded the train, he made all kinds of "All aboard" and "honk, honk," sounds and was happy as a 65-pound clam.
When we got off the train I could tell he was both hungry and needed to pee, neither of which he was willing to do at the zoo, so we left. In the car coming home he said, "Mom, my teeth should be in a good mood when we get home today."
"Does that mean you're ready to chew?"
"Honest to hell," he said.
When we got home, he chewed.
Honest to hell.
Worth. Every. Penny.