Peter has been having a really tough week at summer camp. He has been aggressive a few times...mostly towards his aide but once towards another camper. I picked him up really early on Monday..around 12 when camp is supposed to go until 4. Peter just couldn't get himself together.
Yesterday we tried again. I started to relax as noon came and went without a phone call. When my cell phone rang just before one and I saw the number my heart sank. Peter had started bawling at lunch for no apparent reason. It was the first time Jeff saw Peter cry...there were no tears during the 2 other weeks Peter was at camp earlier in the summer.(And much smoother days, too) Jeff tried to get language out of him to figure out how to help him. Peter finally said "hot". So Jeff took him to the air conditioned nurse's office to give him a break and see if he could pull himself together. It seemed he was relaxing...and then out of no where he bit Jeff's knee. Ugh:(
Jeff tried to re-integrate him with the other campers to go swimming in the pool, but Peter was too all over the place and Jeff and the head of the camp were concerned he would be aggressive with the other campers again. So, I went to pick him up early...again.
I also found out that at the beginning of the day Peter hi-jacked a golf cart. It seems that a young maintenance man left the keys in the on position in the unattended golf cart. Jeff had turned his back to Peter for 30 seconds to put down his back pack and, when he turned around, Peter was sprinting to the golf cart.(Peter is quick!) Peter jumped on the golf cart and put his foot on the gas and it went. Jeff said that riding in a golf cart seems so slow but when you're trying to catch it....not so much. Peter of course was having the time of his life! I can just imagine the wild look of pleasure in his eyes, the giant grin that covered his face, the maniacal belly giggles....all as poor Jeff is chasing him. (Which made the ride even more exciting for Peter!) Thankfully, Jeff is young and was able to overtake the golf cart since Peter was heading for the woods and doesn't know how to step on the brake!
I honestly didn't know whether to bust out laughing or start crying....so I ended up laughing until I cried! Mostly because I could just picture Peter's face and see his complete joy at such an adventure. Thank God no one got hurt...including Peter! And, yes, I have addressed it with the camp because that was extremely dangerous leaving a working golf cart in an area of 75+ kids...any of them could have gone rogue to sit on the golf cart and accidentally get a joy ride out of it.
Of course, it had to be my kid that did it...Ugh, again!
So by 2:30 yesterday, I had brought Peter to camp, worked for a couple of hours, come home briefly to get my children and scarf down lunch, drive 20 minutes to pick up Andrew's girlfriend who was spending the afternoon/early evening with us, and then pick up Peter at camp.
Since it was Luke's birthday, our families were coming over for a party. The house was cluttered and in need of "mom cleaning", the baby was clingy and crabby, I was feeling really awful and discouraged about Peter and not knowing why he is acting up at a place he has always had fun at or how/if we can make it better, and the birthday boy was melting down and throwing temper tantrums because he wanted a particular truck to go on top of another particular truck and it kept falling off. Ugh x 3!!!
Yeah...where's that mother of the year award!(Insert sarcasm here)
So, today we will try again. Jeff was calling Peter's home therapy coordinator to try and get some ideas to help Peter. He will try a visual schedule and a timer today. I'm going to suggest swimming first thing...hopefully before other kids are in the pool and to get Peter cool and hopefully get his sensory needs met to make today a better day. I'm going to see if Peter can swim at lunch time, too, and just have his lunch a little early or a little later. For some reason, Peter isn't doing well around crowds of kids this time at camp. This wasn't a problem when he was there earlier in the summer.
Maybe he's just burned out and needs to be home? Maybe it was too much going from his 5 week half-day summer program to a week of camp? Maybe it is just too many transitions? Maybe it's just too hot outside and it's making him unable to deal with the crowds this time around?
It would be so much easier if he could just freaking tell me what is going on in his head!!!!
It's so frustrating not knowing how to help him. It's so embarrassing that it's my kid that's biting. I just want him to enjoy camp. I want him to be good. I want him to learn and play and have fun. I want him to be as "normal" as he can. At times like this, it's so glaringly obvious, and painful, that Peter is so.not.normal.
Stab, stab goes the dagger in my heart....