The afternoon did not go well. Shortly after entering the bowling alley, Calder started laughing. This was not the happy giggling that sometimes comes over him, but more of force-start cackling. When I approached him to focus on the warm-up exercises, he started edging off. It's like we were like poles of a magnet - as I moved towards him, he moved the distance away, meanwhile looking like he's ready to take flight. So I got ready to do what I've started doing when he exhibits such behaviour during bowling training - get him to stand at the lockers behind (there's a nook to hide there) where he can laugh all he wants (and not run away) in between his bowling turns. But two well-meaning moms told me they'd handle him and sent me off on an hour's break. Since I can never be sure if my own methods work, I agreed to let them take over. I spent the time working on an article I was supposed to write for a newspaper. Another mom asked if Calder can stop playing for a while to teach him that he has to behave. I said ok (whatever that works, dear). When one hour was up and I returned, Calder was no longer laughing. But he had spit all over his shirt and pants and even on the common seat. The Cantonese would say at this point: "No eyes to see". Immediately, I brought him home.
I remember what a fellow parent shared at a seminar- that special-needs parents cannot be "self-centred" because if we focus on ourselves, we think our children's behaviour or performance reflects on our capability as parents and that makes us want to fix our children (instead of accepting them). Indeed, among the many dark thoughts floating around in my head, I imagined what I must have looked to the other people at the bowling alley: Tsk tsk, this parent doesn't know how to control her kid. Tsk tsk, this parent is irresponsible (where is she when her kid is creating a havoc?!). Tsk tsk, this parent cannot make it.. Which reminds me of a Bible verse that I read and remember since young:
"It is dangerous to be concerned about what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe." Proverbs 29:25 (Good News Bible)
Back home, I got Calder to wash the spit off his clothes (first time for him) and had him revise what he'd done wrongly at the bowling alley - "I cannot laugh laugh. I cannot spit spit. I cannot run away." He had sobered up so much by then that I had no heart to scold him. In fact, I became rather confused whether he could have controlled what he did at the bowling alley.
But heaviness had descended upon me and I felt like boycotting all the tasks at hand.
The next morning, he actually gave me an amazingly sweet smile when I went into his room to wake him up. But I couldn't respond with enthusiasm - the melancholy was on me. He caught the tone of my brusque instructions and started acting strangely again - closing his eyes and freezing when he should be dressing up, and then trying to use puckered lips to turn off the light.
I felt like I wanted to sleep for a hundred years.
I usually do my devotion right after Calder gets onto his school bus. This time, I prayed, "God, speak to me. I need to hear from you."
Guess what the day's Bible reading was?
Luke 22:46 NIV:
“Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
And in my prayer journal, I responded:
"Thank you for speaking to me, Lord. I will turn to you instead of looking inward and indulging in self-pity. Teach me what to do, how to be a good parent."