I am not at all ashamed to admit that I'll use almost any means to keep myself within the boundaries of human sanity on any given day. I have to. I have three boys in three very different stages of life (17, 10, 5), two diagnosed with two different types of ADD, and one with autism. Non-traditional circumstances call for non-traditional coping measures. At least that's what I tell myself.
I'm here to tell you that no toy on the shelves at Walmart can compare to a $2.87 roll of bubblewrap. We keep one in the van. When my younger people get snarly, I tear off a sheet and throw it at them. And they pop. Not argue, not kick the back of my seat, not beg incessantly to go to "Old McDonald's" - they pop.
I am convinced that, had my mother-in-law provided bubblewrap for my husband when he was little, he would not have set a box on fire in the garage that day just to see what would happen.
But more interesting than the fact that I use this means of entertainment is how I arrived at the idea. I cannot take credit for it - that would go to Joel (10).
Along with how frustrating he is on a daily basis is how unbelievably nurturing he is. He has an enormous heart, and he uses that heart daily to deal with his younger brother with autism. Often when I'm having a hard morning getting Seth calm, even, and ready for his Early Childhood school, Joel jumps in to engage him in any of the number of ways he's figured out that works. He told me earlier this spring that when he's upset and having a hard time, it really helps him to be able to help Seth - that it makes him feel better.
Oh my - that just makes my heart feel two sizes too big for my chest.
Anyway, Joel came home from school one day and said he'd read an article about autistic kids that day, and that it said sometimes bubblewrap helps them to calm down. Which stands to reason. All that sensory input - the pushing, the touching, the sound - of course. So that's when we adopted the use of bubblewrap.
I love how we work together as a family for the good of one of us. I love seeing the definition of family play out right before my eyes in my own home. These are the moments I hold on to when I see one son send the other one off crying after shooting him in the forehead with spud chunk from his potato gun in the back yard.