Uh oh, did I overlook an email about that?
It turned out that we were left off the email list, but Kai didn’t care about the reason. He was just upset that most of the other kids were in their costumes and he wasn’t.
I tried to calm him down, telling him that it was not a big deal, and that it would be too hot for him to do all the exercises and sparring in his costume anyway.
I should have known by now that everything is a big deal to Kai, and that there was no calming him down.
He ranted about what a terrible place this was, and he “fired” the instructor. He said he wanted to go home, but stayed when I told him we could leave but then he would forfeit his iPad privileges for the day.
He grudgingly went through his exercises. But it wasn’t until he went in the ring that he finally released his anger.
As he sparred with the instructor, he attacked with full force. Normally Kai is a bit tentative in the ring, too often pawing at his instructor rather than throwing punches.
But not this time.
He whaled on the instructor.
And when his time was up, the teacher praised him for a good session.
A bit of a smile crossed Kai’s face.
And he seemed content as he sat and watched the other kids get their turn in the ring.
Ha! The boxing turned out to be a good release of his anger, in this case anyway.
On Sunday, I took Kai to a classmate’s birthday party at one of those places with giant inflatables where kids can bounce, slide, and play.
In years past, he would want me to join him on the bouncy slides. But this time he seemed very content to play by himself or with his classmates. He seemed to be interacting relatively well with them so I mostly stayed off to the side with the other parents.
The one time I interrupted his play was to ask him if he had tried the biggest slide. He hadn’t, he said, but he would go over and give it a try.
To get to the top of the slide, kids have to climb a tower that had big rubbery bands stretched across at different levels.
As I watched Kai climb, I recalled that he had tried this once before and had given up that time because it was too difficult for him. He was struggling this time as well. The bands are not taut, making it difficult to maintain balance. I could see that you need strength to pull yourself up to the next level, while Kai kept falling back to the previous level.
I expected him to give up again and tell me that it was too difficult for him. But as he kept trying, I encouraged him and tried to give him tips. Finally, he made it all the way to the top.
He did it!
And when he came down on the slide, he was very happy and proud of his accomplishment.
Kai enjoyed the rest of the party, which was a big success, much to the relief of the birthday boy’s mom. All the kids had fun and there were no incidents.
As we were set to leave, we stopped by to wish Kai’s classmate a happy birthday one more time. The young man stuck out his hand to shake mine, and told me that I was a handsome man. I thanked him for the compliment, telling him that it had been a long time since anyone said that about me.
And so Kai wasn’t the only one leaving the place with a big smile on his face. We had both had a good time.