Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stress Triggers

If you are to ask me what is the main challenge of bringing up a boy like Calder, it is his emotional instability. Any little thing can upset him. And he spirals out of control readily. My hubby and I tried to identify the triggers to his recent meltdowns and we came up with a few possible causes:


We brought the kids cycling. Hubby wasn’t very keen because he was afraid that Calder would bang into people. Fact is: Calder loves to cycle. He loves speed and would cycle very fast. I am not afraid to bring Calder cycling because though not necessarily careful, he is skillful with his steering. Also because compared to Hubby, I am much more of a risk-taker. On this particular day, the family went out on four bicycles and smoothly completed one round of the jogging track before proceeding as usual to the nearby park. Hubby and I would sit on a bench while the two kids cycle around the park. Because of the wet weather, the ground was slightly wet. Very soon, Calder skidded and fell.  But he got up again and continued cycling around. Hubby was quick to point out how dangerous it was. I decided to give in and end the activity. I told Calder, “Let’s count to 5, then we go home.” I counted to 5 and Calder headed home on his bike. But he became edgy and threw a tantrum back home. This was not really an abrupt stop but to him, unanticipated enough to cause mounting unrest. 


In church, Calder asked for another pao (he loves pao)  so I gave him the third one. He ate it very slowly. My mom observed, “I think he is full already.” So I asked Calder, “Mommy keep this pao, ok? When you are hungry, then we continue eating?” And I kept the half-eaten red-bean-paste pao. But then my mom waved her box of cookies and asked if he wanted some. I ventured, “I thought you said he was full? How could he eat more if he was full?” And she kept the box of cookies. Calder was probably wondering: So do I eat the food or not? And he started getting agitated. Hubby quickly brought him home. 


We went to a birthday party yesterday. Calder was happy and kept mentioning “birthday party”. But then he had a meltdown and started yelling and had to be brought home. Hubby and I went over the events and realized that he became upset because we threw away his plate of food when he went to the toilet. He had taken very long to eat those dishes because they were not his favourite. But his recent rule was to finish all his food. We thought we were doing him a favour by removing what he didn’t want to eat. Apparently, to him, keeping to the rule is more important than enjoying his food.

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