So it is understandable that Auntie Wen Wen (who left for Bangkok on Friday night) found this t-shirt from Jim Thompson absolutely adorable and a tad frighteningly perfect for Raiyan:
Jeff described it perfectly when he saw it: “WOW! It’s like Raiyan’s mind vomited and landed on this t-shirt!”
Not surprisingly, Raiyan took an immediate liking to the t-shirt and wore it straight away after Auntie Wen Wen gave it to him early this morning. So excited was he to wear it that he didn’t even bother to take off the t-shirt he was already wearing and ended up wearing 2 layers but yet not perturbed by how hot it must have been.
What I failed to mention to Auntie Wen Wen whilst she was away was that on Raiyan’s first therapy session with J on Tuesday after more than a week, Raiyan had a medium intensity tantrum because J brought a box of farm animal figurines but didn’t let him play with it when it was time to move on to something else. He cried and cried for 15 minutes until he actually fell asleep (hmm... scarily feels like the old pattern coming back huh...). I was actually very surprised that that happened because in my judgment as a parent for the last ten days, I had noticed him talking more about animals but I still didn’t think it was obsessive because he was always able to tear himself away from it when I told him to. But later that night, Jeff and I couldn’t help getting a bit worried because he kept throwing mini tantrums here and there just because he wanted to do things we didn’t allow him to. Instead of letting ourselves get too down about what was happening before us, especially since we haven’t witnessed such tantrums in quite a while, we just deduced his behaviour as an extended frustration from his tantrum with J for being denied the farm animals and didn’t dwell on it further.
But it didn’t stop me this morning from thinking this t-shirt might cause similar problems too. So I called my sister from the office, voiced my fears and asked if she can try taking it off at any possible opportunity. At lunchtime I was a bit startled to see that he was STILL wearing it but was slightly relieved when sis said that she had actually forgotten to try and yank it off him. I wasn’t really up to putting up a struggle during my short lunch break so I just let it go.
BUT, come bath time in the evening; I felt like I was re-visiting a nightmare that I have not experienced in a long time. Raiyan screamed and screamed “Jungle t-shirt! Jungle t-shirt!” countlessly whilst throwing his naked self around on the floor and the couch for almost an hour. He refused to wear his pyjamas and upheld his usual protest that always gets under my skin- refusing his dinner. Following what just happened 2 days ago, I panicked and nearly went crazy myself. Old memories of previous struggles came flooding back glued with overwhelming feelings of fear that this might be the consequence of Raiyan not having therapy and school for a substantial amount of time.
Thankfully, Jeff came back home in a completely rational state and tried bargaining with him.
His tactic to Raiyan?
Babah: “Raiyan, first eat dinner, second wear jungle t-shirt for 5 minutes ok?”
But Raiyan’s reply was simply “No. No eat. I want jungle t-shirt now.”
After coaxing for quite a while along this line, Jeff had to get more creative and went one step further:
Babah: “Ok, if you wear jungle t-shirt, then you eat ok?”
Thankfully, Raiyan reluctantly muttered “okay”
And syukur Alhamdulillah, upon having the t-shirt on his body, he obediently sat at the dinner table and finished his whole dinner... sigghh.... and after he finished his dinner, I told him he can wear his t-shirt for 5 more minutes to which he agreed! And sure enough, he took the t-shirt off himself with no drama at all after that..
Jeff and I still can’t help thinking we can’t comfortably leave Raiyan with anybody else just yet because it is sad fact that for now, only Jeff and me can get through to him. What was scary tonight was that even pweshes mama felt lost and surrendered to babah’s rescue in the end. If I can still feel like that, imagine how others can feel upon seeing Raiyan have his tantrums?
At the same time, we still didn’t allow ourselves to over analyse the situation so much and to jump into conclusions about Raiyan regressing due to not having therapy for more than a week. Furthermore, we tried to be empathic thinking how perfect that t-shirt must be for him. As Jeff said, that must be what his mind looks like!
Also, we focused on the positive in that we were still in control over the animal t-shirt in that we can use it to our advantage to get what we want. Concurrently, Raiyan is also showing his intelligence by using it for HIS advantage to get what HE wants.
Aaahh, I can just see ten years from now..
Mama: “Raiyan, we go for African Safari if you get 10 As ok?” heehee