Thursday, November 1, 2012

Subdued Halloween

Despite his declaration the evening before, my son went to school yesterday. And, he went trick-or-treating. But he did not seem to enjoy either.

Kai was still subdued from his major incident the day before that resulted in a delay of an achievement at school, and a subsequent trip to Legoland with Mom and Dad.

I had to leave for work before Kai woke up, but my wife reported that he was in a funk from the time he woke up and throughout the day.

She and my dad went to school in the morning to see the school parade. Most of the kids were having great fun, but I could see from the pictures she took that Kai was not. There was not a smile to be seen on his face on any photo.

Even being dismissed from school after just a half day, and a trip to his favorite hamburger restaurant for lunch did not brighten his mood.

He went for a short round of trick-or-treats with Mom and Ojiichan, but it seemed more obligatory than fun. He came home and spent much of the afternoon on the computer.

Still, my wife said he wanted to go trick-or-treating with me, and I left work just a bit early to get home in time for a trip around the block with Kai.

He didn’t have the extra bounce in his step that I’ve seen on past Halloweens, but he finally seemed to be enjoying it. I reminded him to say “trick-or-treat” and “thank you” and I was happy that he said it with enough enthusiasm for me to hear from my perch down the driveways.

I got Kai to talk a little bit about the parade and lunch while we walked. And by the end of our short walk, he seemed to be in a lighter mood.

Between the parade in the morning and the tricks-or-treat with all of us, he had collected enough candy to fill a large bowl. And I finally saw a smile.

With Kai’s GFCF diet, I will be the one to eat most of that candy. The sacrifices a dad has to make… ;)

* * * * *

Yesterday, we received an email from Kai’s social worker at school suggesting that we ease the criteria for Kai earning his prized trip to Legoland. Instead of achieving Level 4, which may be beyond his ability right now, she thought that attaining a safe month might be more realistic.

I agreed. Rewards are a positive thing only when they are attainable. When they are not, they set the child up for disappointment and failure.

But I wanted to find a way to relax the standard without feeling like we are sending the message to Kai that we lower the bar every time he fails to clear it.

And then my blog friend Shiroi Tora gave me an idea.

He suggested that Kai create an apology card for the teacher he bit the other day. As he put it, “a heartfelt card of apology would go a long ways toward Kai’s growth.”

I conferred with my wife and we agreed; if Kai would create an apology card for his teacher, he would have shown that he learned a lesson from this, and we would give him another chance to earn a trip to Legoland, this time with a slightly easier standard.

This new criteria will still be very difficult for Kai. He has had only one safe month in his whole time at this school.

But this morning, when we told him this, he seemed a bit more encouraged.

Hopefully he can carry forward and make it a good month.


  1. Great! I can't wait to see a picture of the card...and to hear of the results.

    Whenever anything comes from the is always beautiful.

    1. Kai did write an apology but we did not get a picture of it.

      More to write about what happened next at school, not all good, unfortunately...

  2. Our lives seem to have many parallels at this time..not all of them are easy as parents! Can't wait to see the pictures of Legoland after he feels great about his accomplishment!

    1. Yes, Kelly, we are experiencing many similar challenging situations. Unfortunately, the trip to Legoland will be delayed some more. (Details to come when I can find time to write about it).


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