Drama at The Little Gym

The middle of January began the "new semester" at The Little Gym.  Many of the same people were there, but there were also a lot of new people.  I'm horrible at guessing numbers, so this following statement means little to nothing, but I'd say there were probably three times as many people there than there usually are.  You know what I'm going to say next, right?  Spencer did not react well.  He wasn't bad, per se.  He was just super active.  And it is winter, and he doesn't get to go outside very often, so I would never qualify his activeness as "bad;"  it's just, what's a good word?  It's awesome--in the purest sense of the word.  It inspires in you a sense of awe.  

I had not bargained on there being so many new people in addition to all of the regulars, so, in my naivete, I tried to take his pacifier away as he was on his way into the gym.  I asked if he'd put it in his bag, if I could hold it for him.  We'd already discussed leaving it in the car, to which he gave me a resounding and negative response.  But, usually, once the fun gets going, he's cool being paci-less.  So, his teacher, "Miss Erin" yanked it from his little mouth and handed it to me as he ran into the gym.  I'm not sure if it was that she took it away or that it appeared to him that I wasn't coming in to the gym with him or that all of that happened as he simultaneously realized there were a bunch of strangers in the room, but he had a little fit.  And by little, I mean big.  

All the moms who've been around him all fall are so sweet.  They are not judgmental; they believe you are doing the best you can; their kid is totally different from yours and you both affirm that there is equal and amazing value in them all.  But I could feel the stares from all the new moms.  And I'm sure they are also just as understanding and kind (at least most of them probably are, lol!), but their poor little children are in a brand new, huge gym, which could be overwhelming to some toddlers (it never was to Spencer, by the way), and I just kept thinking, "Just smile, and act calm.  Raise your eyebrows.  Distract him.  He'll settle down.  Don't give the paci back, it'll just reinforce this behavior (you know, behavior any and every human naturally displays from time to time when their comfort is ripped from them just as their expectations for the day are broadly swept aside)."  But he didn't stop.  

Malin's (the "a" is like the "a" in "mail"--isn't it a cute name?) mom and I had an entire conversation about how they didn't give Malin her paci the other night before bed, and she never asked for it or missed it, so they're done with it.  But she can tell that probably won't work for Spencer.  (lol!  probably not!)  She said he's probably more of a "paci party" kid.  He'd probably do better when he could understand why he couldn't have it anymore, etc.  And as we discuss this paci-quasi-philosophy, he was still screaming.  

I made a few last-ditch efforts at "redirecting" his energy, but he must have felt my resolve dwindling because he just got louder.  Finally, I decided this was not the time or the place for a battle of the wills over his paci.  Or maybe it was the time and the place, and I admitted defeat.  I'm cool with either rendition.  Many, many other little children were starting to look down-right upset because of the adorable, screaming little boy in their class.  What must his mommy have done to him?  I asked him if he could say "Paci please," and he said "Peeese."  And immediately dried it up.  I left the gym to get his paci and returned to a sweet little boy awaiting his security object.  He immediately received it; and then, he was off.  

It was as if, on this particular Wednesday morning, his pacifier had given him strength--or maybe endurance would be a better word.  He ran, climbed, swung, and pulled me places non-stop.  One of the new mom's complimented the utter adorable-ness of his curls (you know, once people could hear people well enough to actually have conversations since Spencer had stopped screaming).  I told her they were his saving grace.  "Miss Erin" laughed and agreed.  He did his skills with "Miss Erin," but otherwise he was outta there.  He was obsessed with standing on the bars like a balance beam.  I was helping him do front and back hip circles and the kind with one leg over the bar (I can't remember what those are called).  He was jumping from the bar onto the ground.  I can't even remember much more besides being jealous of the mom's who've been coming as long as I have, standing on the side of the mat talking to each other while their children were playing happily in the gym without their input or assistance.

There is a mat wrapped around the water fountain and a two-door closet that is perpetually unlocked--both of which Spencer knows are off limits.  He went down both of those paths today.  And he hadn't messed with those things in so long.  I'd totally underestimated the power of things being a "little" bit different to totally sabotage all of Spencer's "progress" in class.  He was (not surprisingly) begging for his milk by the end of the class.  He wouldn't go get in line (or the blob of children) to get a stamp.  So, we just walked out.  And as soon as we did, it was like the clock had struck midnight, but in a good way.  He walked directly where I told him to go.  He sat down as soon as I asked.  He drank his milk as I put on his socks and shoes.  He said good bye to "Miss Erin."  And the whole gymnasium breathed a sigh of relief as we walked out.

Towards the end of the class hour-long session of crazy, a sweet mom who has known Spencer since August told me that her oldest daughter could not handle being over-stimulated, and that now, even at eighteen, she is still like that.  At first I was so thankful for her encouraging words (not automatically assuming I'm some half-brain-dead mom who can't calm, comfort, or control her own child but instead seeing Spencer and his needs in the broader context of all the differences that were at work today), but now that I'm reflecting, I wonder what this means for his (and my) future.

Then we went to get my allergy shot, where I decided it was the day to fight the battle over whether or not we stand in the chairs at the doctors' office.  I think the earlier paci defeat gave me new resolve.  I won, but it wasn't pretty.


  1. Proposal: You write an entire book of Spencer stories. I'd buy it and like it. Just sayin'.

  2. Oh, me, too! And I always mean to comment on your posts (and I do in my head), then I realize I never actually typed it. So, just know that I enjoy them all...and cringe a little for you sometimes :)


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