Daily routines for Kyson include our evening walks. He often asks “Want to go for a walk?” As of lately, I notice that Kyson started to be scared of people walking along the usual path with us. As we walk the neighborhood and if someone happens to be walking towards us, he will ask for “up!” or runs furiously behind me, fist clutching my shirt with his face buried into it until they pass us. Strangers and unfamiliar faces never bothered him out in public before, but as he is getting older and wiser, he’s more aware of people in his surroundings.
Silly me, so I took him to a new local park. An incredible park with an airplane sculpture, storybook paths, and jungle gyms all dedicated to look like an airport. There were quite a few families there on this Sunday afternoon. Being an adult, I was amazed the first time I saw the park. However, Kyson wasn’t. The only part he took notice to was the “excavator” behind the fence that had a construction site taking place. As I took his hand, he didn’t budge, started his yelling and then escaped. Why did I think I could do this by myself? Five minutes of coming to the park with the chance of seeing “children” since he no longer has school, turned into a nightmare of me chasing him back into the car. We left and that was that.
The following week, myself along with the help of two BTs, walked to a close by school playground. At least the playground would be sort of fenced in and now I would have two others to help if he tried to escape. It was a faster pace than usual walk for Kyson. He was excited to be walking right after breakfast. Plus, now we were walking in the morning and not our usual evening time. As we came up along the fence, we try to get him excited to go play by asking him what he sees.
“Kyson, what do you see? Look! A slide and oooooh there’s the swings!”
Kyson notices the kids and the new playground that he’s never been to. The trying to “escape” starts. Thankfully as we three are blocking him, we give some time, about 3 minutes. The longest 3 minutes (it felt like 10), but now he starts walking to the opening. Talking to him as we get closer.
Yes! We’ve reached passed the fence. He cries and notices the doors to the school and goes knock. No response, he turns around and again realize we are somewhere new. Kyson dashes for the opening, we all took our turns. As one BT goes in and starts to play, she invites him to come. The other walks with him along the fence, but on the inside of the playground. I stand guard by the opening. He knew the environment was new and didn’t want any part of it. I’ve never heard my son cry or plead to leave like this until that moment. His cry of sadness wanting to leave. He was frightened of what was happening. He wanted it to stop.
We let him cool off by himself sitting along the fence, he even tries to squeeze through the bars of the fence. He sits and waits. Slowly turns to the familiar voice coming from the BT and looks. Kyson sits and takes it all in. Five minutes later he is up on his feet and runs to her.
What just happened?! 15 minutes ago, Kyson is fighting all 3 of us to leave and now he is smiling and laughing. He goes and tries out all the equipment and obstacles. His favorite is the curvy slides going around. He spent a good 20 minutes playing on this, still being cautious to the two girls that were playing around him. He also is aware of every other child in the entire yard. The little dare devil, climbing all the bars and ladders like it was nothing.
As the group of children leave, he now goes and approaches more obstacle courses. Climbing like a monkey and making sure he tries all of them out. He swings and asks the BT for a push. As the swing comes to a stop, he hops off.
Here comes a new group of children, must’ve been a local childcare group. He notices the new children but pays no mind. He stands off to the side and notices a girl kicking around a soccer ball. Kyson looks at us and has a huge grin. He slowly walks towards the girl, again stops and is hopping around as if he is playing with the ball too. She kicks it towards him and he is beyond excited, but he doesn’t touch the ball. Girl comes and gets ball and goes back to the field, Kyson begins to walk towards her again.
“Kyson, do you want to play? Should we ask her if we can play?”
He turns towards me with the most bashful look, eyes towards me and says
“Can I have play ball please?”
“Let’s go ask her buddy”
He walks to her, now by himself while we stand back all in “awe.” He gets about 3 feet away and then the girl decides she no longer wants to play soccer and gives the ball to her mom. Kyson looks at the girl, looks at the ball in the woman’s arm and looks back at the girl. Turns and see us and walks back having the largest smile his face could hold. I am beyond the proudest mom in the world having to witness this! At this moment of “almost” initiating a play with someone he has never met, he became my “rock”!
We’ve been there for an hour already, it was time to walk back. The summer sun is scorching down now and Kyson is tired out. The walk back wasn’t quite as fast paced, but sluggish. Kyson observes all the details with the new route home.
Kyson has taught me a new level of “patience” I didn’t know I had. I must admit, in the first 5 minutes when we came about the fence, I was ready to give in and turn back. I was waiting for the BTs to say, “Okay, that’s enough for today,” but they didn’t. They held helped him get pass a moment and held my hand the entire way. Kyson’s action was right today. This boy teaches me every day and reminds me that we’re all human. When it comes to something new, there will always be fear. We are scared of the unknown. It is not until you take a step back, observe and truly feel the moment. Only then, you will be able to apply yourself to enter a new process or new environment. I am forever grateful for the two BTs who came with Kyson and I on our little adventure today.