Chance had his first OT and speech therapy session yesterday. He really liked it. There were games involved and lots of play for about an hour and a half. He basically liked it so much he had a big screaming tantrum as we tried to leave. ugh. That’s one of his biggest areas that could use improvement right now. We’ll be out doing something fun and he doesn’t want to leave. Sometimes we won’t even be doing something all that fun (for example, the mattress store!); he just doesn’t want to go back to the house. (And I can’t blame him, because I’m pretty bloody sick of being stuck in the house right now with a toddler who misses preschool something fierce, too.) He doesn’t have that level of tantrum at home, only when we’re out (so yes, I am that mom with that child). Obviously this kid’s social life is not at the activity level he would desire. (I can already imagine what high school will be like. And the fights. Oy, the fights!)
The option (just in case you thought I missed this) is to let him play until he’s tired enough to go home with minimal fuss. So I’ve been experimenting to find the magic number of play time. As far as I can figure with this inexact science that number is three hours minimum. Three hours! Three hours out somewhere, doing something (but nothing TOO loud or TOO stimulating or we guarantee a freak out), before he is tuckered enough to head home (and sometimes not even then).
For example, we met another mom and toddler buddy at The Jungle on Monday. We spent two hours there – and it was cool because it wasn’t crazy busy because so many kids were already in school – then we all went across the parking lot and had lunch at Red Robin (another hour). I got him in the car without a tantrum, but there was still some protest crying involved.
I actually think four hours would be ideal. Then he might even fall asleep on the way to the car. (That would be so cool.)
However, do you know how trashed I am after three hours? (I am old.)
He goes back to preschool October 1st. I need to come up with somewhat social, definitely active, not too over-stimulating, appropriately interesting activities for another month.
So I start imagining… what if you had The Jungle but it only piped in quiet classical music? And it had a full café attached. Not a pizza place, but a café. With free WiFi. And it could still have video games but they wouldn’t steal your quarters and the sound would be turned way down so as not to disturb the classical music. And there would be attendants! Fully-trained ex-daycare worker attendants to watch the children. And (for myself) all the other parents are cool because all the children are hyperactive. The kids just bounce off each other to their heart’s content (or until they fall asleep) while we sit and drink lattes.
I could spend 3-4 hours at that place. - wg