“No Storm today?” – may always be put forth in question form, but let me assure you, it is not a question. There is no reply that DC will accept. If I know for certain that there will not be a storm coming, I will tell him that. If there is a storm in the forecast, I will tell him that as well. The latter definitely does not make my day easier, but I do not want to lie to him. Either way, whatever the response; when he has it in his head, due to a cloud or a noise, that a storm is on the way, he will ask the “question” over and over again. It’s worse when the answer is “yes”, but it doesn’t stop just because I’ve answered “no”.
There was a time, when a storm was not even a passing thought to DC. For a child that really didn’t like loud noises, thunder did not seem to bother him at all. Rain, lightning, wind – he didn’t even seem to notice.
Then, one night about 10 years ago (it could be more, it could be less – I seem to have no sense of time anymore) the power went out in the middle of the night during a storm. It went out for all of 1 minute, but that was all it took.
DC sleeps with the lights on, always. He does not like the dark. Now, I am told that at his Dad’s house he does sleep in the dark with only a night-light. This really does not surprise me, he has his rituals and his way of doing things, but he seems to have different rituals according to where he is at the time.
He will not sleep with the lights off at home. When he was younger, he would get up in the middle of the night, come to my room, turn my lights on and go back to bed. Because of that, I now sleep with the lights on as well. It really doesn’t bother me, I’m not a fan of the dark either. Turning on every light is his first order of business as soon as he wakes up or walks in the door. Asleep or awake, he knows as soon as a light has been turned off, even when he is not in that room.
After the one minute power outage that night, he has been preoccupied and terrified of storms. It is not the storm that terrifies him, it is the threat of loosing power.
He has made a little bit of progress over the last few years and he has also changed his routine a bit. The constant “no storm today?” has been replaced with running to the door every 5 minutes and telling me how brave he is being, over and over.
He will also immediately get his pajamas on (no matter what time it is), get his pillow, blankets, iPhone or laptop and get “into storm position” on the couch. That is where he stays (which means I have to sleep on the other end of the couch, because of course he won’t be sleeping downstairs alone). Once he gets involved in whatever he is watching on his laptop, he tends to calm down a bit – the “calming down” part is new. So there is that little bit of progress.
As always, with progress comes new issues. I am no longer allowed to watch the weather. I am no longer allowed to watch the news, because part of the news is the weather.
“No WeaVer” (Dc-speak)
Last week, DC noticed that it is not as light out in the morning than it had been. I really didn’t notice until he began a morning ritual of running to the door, looking for clouds. I explained to him that it was because the sun hadn’t come up yet. It would be light soon. One morning, it was a little bit cloudy when the “sun” did come up. It really wasn’t very cloudy at all, just a little bit. He launched into his routine. I explained to him that I didn’t think it was going to rain, but I could check the weather to be sure.
It really was not cloudy enough for it to be bothering him so much. His transportation arrived, he ran out to the driveway as he always does, while I watched from the door. He stopped at the car, turned and began running back and forth up and down the sidewalk. I went out, tried to calm him down. The driver told him he’d be safe in the car. After a few more outbursts, he finally got in to the car, but he was not happy about it.
– Did I say – “progress”? –
Two steps forward, one back.
A week later, a week of beautiful weather, we decided on Friday night that we would take DC to New York City (his favorite place) on Saturday. The weather had been so wonderful the past few days that it did not occur to me to check the forecast before I told him. When it did finally occur to me to check, the forecast was for “showers in the am. and steady rain in the afternoon”. We told DC about the rain – it didn’t seem to faze him, but of course, he is just thinking about going to NY, not how miserable would be walking around in the rain. Finally after talking to him about it for quite awhile, he decided – with help – that we would go the following week. Even though he talked himself out of going he was very angry with me about the rain, because of course rain is always my fault. I really do not think he understands that I do not control the weather.
The problem with telling him that we would go the following week is that he needs to know when, he needs a specific date. He needs to write it on the calendar, to point at and remind me 5, 6, 7, 10 times every day. Choosing a date an entire week away would be putting ourselves in the same position – we won’t know what the weather would be like, but we chose the following Sunday. Once something is written on the calendar, there is no turning back.
The following day, just to take the “No NY trip” sting away, we took a more local day trip. It was cloudy (cloudier than the morning of his almost-meltdown last week at the car), but DC didn’t seem to mind. We had “second breakfast”, went to a toy store, bookstore, had lunch and visited another bookstore, all in the same area so we would be close to the car if it started to rain. It didn’t. He had a great time.
With the “distraction day trip” over, he immediately moved on to pointing at the calendar to remind me about New York City on Sunday.
“We going to New York City on Sunday. DC, and Mom and Doug” – (he must list the participants – always)
“We going to the 10th Kingdom on Sunday – please!”
On Friday the forecast for Sunday in New York called for 80’s, windy and only a 12% chance of rain. DC spent Saturday night at his Dad’s. I woke up on Sunday morning to rain! This does not necessarily mean is would be raining in NY, but the weather there is usually pretty close to ours. I thought he would come home in the morning all out of sorts about the rain, but his Dad said he was very excited and told him he was going to NY “at least 100 times”. The rain did not seem to faze him at all.
I have always said that if given the choice between Disney (his other obsession, we’ll talk about that one day) and New York City, he would surely have to think about it. It also seems that his fear of storms, rain, clouds, thunder and lightning is only a fear when New York City is not in the mix.
I know an old woman who hide in her wardrobe when it thunders.
Yikes! I guess it could be worse then. 🙂
I love this post. it is so evocative of what so many of us deal with – for you it’s storms, for us it’s insects and spiders. We just prepare for the intense responses we know are coming! 🙂
I think I might be with him on the insect and spider fear 🙂
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I love that he gets into STORM POSITION. In my opinion. Perfect way to handle a storm.
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