Finn did a really stupid thing. But it was for a joyously social reason! And for that, I can’t be mad at him!
Last night, we went to a friend’s house, which in and of itself is amazing. There are very few friend’s houses we pack everyone up and go to. So, the recipient of our visit has to be either a) crazy or b) really tolerant and awesome! They are definitely “b.” We have been trying to get together with these friends forever and it just so happened that they came to our house last week and it went really well! All of our kids got along. There were no meltdowns. And the adults, our friends, happen to be really awesome. The mom is a special ed teacher in an autism classroom, so she, well, she gets it. She gets it so much that it’s kind of surprising that she doesn’t have a special needs kid of her own. But, she doesn’t and her students are just really lucky to have her. Anyway, she is amazing and I could talk to her all night about autism, raising kids, flea market finds… whatever. Besides, I spend most of my day watching Barney and breaking up toddler fights, so adult conversation is definitely a commodity!
So, we got there and everyone was doing great. Finn was playing with their youngest daughter. She’s four and a real spitfire. She does a rockin’ rendition of “Gangnam Style” and is really just an all around adorable kid. She and Finn were playing so nice. There was one incident where Finn “accidentally” hurt her. (No adult witnessed it, but apologies were issued and we moved on). The kids went to the basement to play and we got back to talking.
We were about two glasses of wine into the evening, so we hadn’t just gotten there, but we weren’t ready to leave yet.
We heard it.
The blood curdling scream.
“Mommy, Finn’s hurt!”
I ran downstairs to find Finn splayed across the basement floor in hysterics. Which, actually, is not at all an uncommon scene. Finn gets hurt a lot. He doesn’t have good balance. He can trip over his own shadow. And his “incidents” usually involve a lot of crying and Band-Aids. I mean even if there’s no blood or a cut: Band-Aids. But, this incident was a little different. Finn jumped off the top of their basement steps (about 7 or 8 steps up) “because the ‘little girl’ told me to.”
He did it for a girl!
That is exciting for two reasons. One is that he did something with the thought that if he didn’t, he would disappoint someone else. And the other is that he did it for a girl! Finn is a self-proclaimed “girl hater.” He’s been getting better, but I think it has to do with getting a baby sister and in classic autism style, it has taken him two years to get over it!
So, while it totally sucked that Finn may have broken his ankle or something, I was secretly excited that he would do something, albeit totally self destructive, for a girl.
After about 15 minutes of screaming and assessing and Band-Aid applying, we decided we needed to have him looked at. Sure, it could be nothing, but it was starting to swell and it was a pretty high jump, so we took him to Urgent Care. He calmed down in the car and said he didn’t want to go to the doctor because they were “evil.” We explained that only “Dr. Doofenshmirtz” is evil and that this doctor would help him. He conceded, but very reluctantly.
We told the staff that Finn had autism, but I’m not sure they even knew what that meant or how to adjust their bedside manner accordingly, so they just went about their business. At one point, I stepped out of the room to explain to the nurse that he has autism, a really low tolerance for pain and is freaked out by doctors. She assured me that she would tell the doctor. I’m sure she did, but I’m not sure what he did differently.
Back in the room, Finn still had his wits about him and asked the x-ray tech if her name, Sandy, was after the hurricane. She got a big kick out of that. Luckily, before we got to Urgent Care, Joe stopped at WaWa and bought Skittles and that’s how I got him through the x-rays. Well, that, and our babysitter Christine showed up to fawn over him, so that kind of cheered him up! They didn’t see anything on the x-rays, so without wrapping it or anything, they sent us on our way. Here is a kid with a badly sprained ankle who needs Band-Aids on everything and they gave us nothing.
Whatever. I just wanted to get him home.
He woke up this morning and still wouldn’t put any weight on it.
Now, he definitely has some neuroses. It wouldn’t be far fetched of him to not want to stand on it because he was afraid of the idea of the pain more than the actual pain. But, it was really swollen and since he really loves to run around, but was sitting lethargic for hours, I figured I better get a second look. I ruminated over it and finally decided to take him to CHOP’s emergency room. I knew I wasn’t going to get anyone at our local hospital who understood him like CHOP, so I packed him up and drove the hour away.
He was so amazingly brave the whole time. He never once growled (which he has been known to do), kicked or even resisted. He did cry when they tried to bend his foot, but I eventually did it for them and he was fine. They, too, didn’t see anything on the x-rays, but felt his swelling was significant enough to want to stabilize it, so they gave him a “boot.”
We had a lot of time to talk in the 3 hours we were there. Finn, in between games of “Where’s my water,” said “This is all my fault.” I told him, “You live and learn, Finn. Next time someone tells you to do something, you need to ‘stop’ ‘take a breath’ and ask yourself:
‘Will this hurt me?
Will this hurt someone else?
Will it make my Mommy proud?'”
He agreed that was a good plan. He even told it to the nurse when she came in. We’ll have to practice it, but the best part is that he said he would go back to our friends’ house again. I was afraid that Finn, the black and white thinker, would apply some rule to that house like “I always get hurt there” or “That’s where I got in trouble” or something. But, he said he would try it again!
So, at the end of the day, he learned a very valuable lesson at the ripe age of 5, “Listening to girls can get you hurt. But, if you learn from your mistakes, you live to play another day.”
I think it was worth it.