FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

Family Fun

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jan• 22•14

pboatThis was one of those “family outings” D and I should have taken together. Alone. Without the Wife. I know it sounds wrong, but L and I were at opposite ends of the spectrum at Mulligan’s Family Fun Center.

As soon as we entered the video arcade, D bounced around like a ping pong ball in a tornado, his sensory system thrown out of symmetry from the flashing images, beeping sounds and animated characters.

He just needed time to adapt to the environment, I thought, and he’d be fine. Trying to intervene, on the other hand, might only trigger a meltdown. This is how I assessed the situation.

L demanded I calm D down immediately. I balked. She left to another room. A series of texts ensued. She retreated to the car. Her final text asked me, “What time do you want to be picked up?”

mulligansD and I were in line to ride a two-passenger go-cart when I got her final text. I buckled D in the passenger seat, the checkered flag went down, and my foot pushed down hard on the gas. The video arcade conflict was now in the rearview mirror of my memory.

I hate to admit it, but I felt good.

D had a dazed look as we rounded a turn. I asked him a question, but he didn’t respond. He was on sensory overload from the vibration of the go-cart, so I eased my foot off the gas pedal and let other go-carts pass us by.

He still looked dazed. But we did it, and he rode a mini “rookie” go-cart.

Well, sort of.

I assumed they would explain how to push the gas pedal, and they probably did, so I didn’t give D any instructions as we waited in line, and when the other go-carts sped off, his yellow go-cart remained at the starting line.

A worker sat on the side of his go-cart and pushed the gas pedal for him while D steered the wheel. My guess is, his sensory system was so revved up from the go-cart ride and video arcade to focus on motor planning.

D also rode in a paddle boat, a much more calming activity, and we played eighteen holes of miniature golf. We skipped a few holes after D had trouble waiting and took off running like an escaped convict on the loose.

Still, we made it to the 18th hole.

I forgot all about L and our struggles from having contrasting parenting styles. This was our first outing in a while, as you can imagine why. Family fun can be an oxymoron for us.

Sometimes, D can be like having three kids. He’s loud, very active, and can be defiant when he is frustrated with his mom. But he is loving and affectionate with his mom when he feels loved.

Most of the time there’s chaos at home. L and I are both introverts, so the least bit of noise makes her yell.  We’re on opposite sides of the fight vs. flight response to stress paradigm.

I know as a Christian that we are supposed love one another, forgive each other and be united in parenting our son which is difficult because of our differering parenting views.

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