These three things fill me with dread. We had to go shoe shopping this morning for new school shoes as term starts in 2 weeks. I called in the eldest, Emily, as helper today much to her delight! I can’t do it alone, it’s physically impossible. It started well with Oliver in his major buggy watching Popples get measured and choosing shoes. She tried on every pair in her size and eventually settled on the ones with “little diamond sparkles”. So far so good- and the added plus that they were in the sale.
How soon the smiling turned to screams of “no more shoes! No! No! ” and kicking and using his old shoes to try to smack the lady measuring his feet. We got a rough size and she brought out a selection. We chose the no-scuff-toes ones and I had him held close talking calmly to him while they tried to fit them. It didn’t make much difference, by this time he was sobbing, “no shoes, mummy no shoes” and everyone is feeling like crap. She checked them, he tried to do a runner, they fit, she asked did we want to try anymore on. (Ray Liotta face) We went and paid (fifty quid for boys school shoes!) but I couldn’t put him through anymore so we paid and left, but I also told the manager that the girl had done a sterling job considering what Oliver had been like. I don’t know why shoe shopping is so traumatic, Max used to be the same when he was younger. I wonder if it’s the invasion of personal space, or the feel of new shoes or just because it’s new shoes.
Haircuts are another traumatic time. We have a fabulous hairdresser called Helen and she used to do Max’s hair so is used to dealing with customers that wiggle. We have had a couple of dodgy cuts where she just couldn’t finish due to distress by all involved which meant me nipping in at night time and snipping long bits off. We have had cuts where she’s been lay on the floor next to him snipping bits off. She gave me her internet password so I could put you tube on my mobile for him to watch (until he managed to grab it and throw it) and last time we took a dvd portable player with Sing! for him to watch. Last weeks cut was probably the best yet. One major wobble, one grabbing scissors, and only had to finish the back on the floor. I am trying to take him regularly so he gets used to it. He will now let me chase him with a hairdryer and brush his hair so it’s progress.
The dentist- well she checks his teeth whilst he is on my knee screaming his head off. That’s after I’ve carried a screaming, writhing child up the stairs to the dentists room.
Some things that cause stress can be avoided or be built up to but these three things can’t be avoided. He needs shoes, he needs his teeth checked, he needs haircuts. I am hoping that as he becomes more familiar with the situations things will get calmer and easier. We talk about things, we role play, we read books and I try to present a calm front. I don’t know why he feels so strongly about these things, I can guess, but I will always try to make them as painless as possible- even if that means buying the most expensive shoes in the shop!