DC’s father was in Florida for the winter. He left in mid-November. DC did get to see him on the day after Christmas for dinner when DC, Doug and I were in Florida on vacation.
His dad came back from Florida in May for the summer. One of DC’s first visits with his dad was on a Sunday. They went to his Aunt’s house for DC’s belated birthday party. His dad was not here for his birthday and his Aunt was ill at the time, so the party she planned to have for him right around his birthday had to be put on hold. They made up for it that Sunday though. DC was happy, he loves his birthday and nothing could be better than to be still celebrating his birthday two months later and let’s not forget the cake! Cake is very important to DC!
His father asked to take him on the following Wednesday, so DC went to his father’s house and came home in the morning in time for his transportation to take him to work. It was only a few days later on Sunday that DC had his seizure. He was supposed to go to his father’s on the following Wednesday, but we decided to cancel since it had only been a few days since the seizure and I was not comfortable letting him out of my sight.
A week later, his dad took him to his Aunt’s house again, this time to celebrate Father’s Day with the rest of his family. DC came home happily listing everything he had to eat because that is what is important. (He did ask me about “cake” before he left that morning and I told him that there may not always be a cake every time he goes to his Aunt’s house…..but yes, there was a cake 🙂 ).
When his dad returned him on that Sunday he asked if he could take him again on Wednesday. DC got frustrated and said “No! I don’t want to!”. He does this at times – he says no, without meaning to or without really listening to what he is saying “no” to. I told him not to worry, we had nothing scheduled on Wednesday and it would be fine for him to go to Dad’s. After his dad left he continued to go on about not going. I thought that he might be confused so I brought him to the calendar to show him that there was nothing going on that day. I wrote “Dad’s House” on the calendar. DC got angry and yelled “Cross Out! No!”.
From the many years spent crawling around in DC’s head trying desperately to figure things out, I had an idea about what was going on here, but I left it alone for a while. When I talked to him again a few hours later and got the same response, I decided I had to call his dad the next morning. As I said, I had an idea about what was going on but first I wanted to be sure that nothing happened, even something as small as the power going out for a split second, or the dog jumping on him, or a piece of furniture in different place, would be enough to cause this anxiety. There was nothing that he could think of.
I told him what I thought this was all about. DC hadn’t seen him in over 6 months. He was now used to not seeing his dad and only talking to him on the phone. Even before he left for Florida, he had not taken DC twice a week for many years, it was always once a week – every other Sunday and every other Monday. Now he is home and DC, with his own agenda in his head, and also quite used to not seeing Dad, feels as if Dad is “cramping his style” for lack for a better term. That, combined with his seizure and probably not wanting to sleep anywhere but home was making him a bit anxious. He loves to see his dad, don’t get me wrong, but he is used to what he is used to and it will take a little time for him to get used to something else. His dad suggested that I ask DC what day he would like to go to his house.
Later that day I did ask DC if he wanted to pick a day that he wanted to go. There was no fussing and no anxiety, it was his choice. He immediately wrote “Dad’s House” on Sunday. I told him that I would call his father to see if he was available that day. As it turned out, he wasn’t. I told DC that Dad had to work on Sunday (he didn’t, but it was easier than trying to explain “other plans”) I asked him if he wanted to make another choice. He chose Wednesday! The same day he was so adamant about not going!
Wednesday came and he was happy to go and he was still happy when he came home.
What have I taken away from all of this?
~ He needs time to get used to the fact that his father is going to be a part of his schedule again, at least until winter comes.
~ We need to make sure that DC is allowed to have some say in the matter and give him a choice of dates.
And….. you might think I am trying to be funny or making a joke, but I know my child…..
~ I am absolutely 100% certain that when I first gave him a choice and he opted for Sunday right away, it was only because he thought there would be cake……