Monday, October 27, 2014

Costumes & Parties, Anger & Smiles

Kai and I arrived at his boxing class on Saturday and saw several other kids in their Halloween costumes.

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.


  1. That tower looks like fun. I see that Kai realized that the easiest path is from the sides :)

    That was a unique compliment. It is unusual for young people to say such things. His mother (it is usually the mother who teaches her children politeness and social compliments), had taught her son well.

    At our age, I can see how such a compliment would have brought a smile to your face. I am still waiting for such an occurrence...from anyone :)

    1. Actually, one of the tips I gave him was to go up from the sides.

      That was a very unusual compliment, one that a typical child most likely would not have given. He was a child with special needs, so innocent and without the self-consciousness that would have prevented most kids from saying such a sweet thing.

      Haha, I expect it will be a long time before I hear such a compliment again. :)

  2. I love the honesty and open heartedness of many of the special needs children. To me, I would much rather have a person with an open and pure heart over anything else.

    1. Yes, many special needs children are very honest and openhearted. I hope that part of my son never goes away.

  3. This is a wonderful post.
    Why did they leave you guys off the email . I am sure it was unintentional - stilll they could have done better
    I think its amazing that boxing can be a great release for our kiddos frustration

    1. The email omission was unintentional but that didn't ease the difficulty of the moment. Hopefully it doesn't happen again.

      This is the only special needs boxing program that I've heard of. Maybe we need to get a punching bag at home. :)


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