Saturday, May 17, 2014

PWS Awareness Day 17: Thoughts on a Meltdown

I called home from Lit Camp today, hoping to get to talk to Abe, Ruby and Oscar.  I hadn't heard their voices in a couple of days.  Abe told me a little about coxing the quad and the four in the final race of the season.  (He hasn't been able to row since he broke his wrist three weeks ago but he still found a way to be in a boat.)  Ruby told me about the sleepover at her friend's house. She slept there last Friday too, and she giggled when I asked if she'd be made a plan for next Friday as well.  But Oscar couldn't come to the phone.  He was in his room, screaming, Paul said, frustrated that his favorite baseball video game wasn't working out the way he wanted it to. 

Oscar had big hopes for this game -- he wanted to be able to create his own team, just like the current Oakland A's. He wanted to make trades and play against other teams.  He wanted to pretend he was A's general manager Billy Beane and play out a virtual (and very realistic) season.  But the game isn't an exact replica of the MLB.  And it's complicated, too complicated for Oscar to play by himself.

"It's just too hard for him," Paul lamented, "I need to figure it out myself so I can help him."

"I probably should have researched it more before buying," I said.

Paul hung up quickly so he could go be with Oscar, who was still yelling.  I couldn't hear him through the phone but I could imagine him kneeling on the floor, his upper body splayed over the bed.  I could him imagine him crying "It's not fair! It's not fair!" over and over.

But Paul wasn't anxious or worried about Oscar being so upset.  Neither was I.  This isn't the the first time he has melted down over this particular game.  He'd recover of course.  But it did make me reflect on how Paul and I both recognize that it is up to us to control the environment for Oscar.  We don't fault Oscar for this tantrum, I realized. We fault ourselves for not providing him the support he needs.  It's back to that thin environmental buffer -he just doesn't have the resources to manage this kind of disappointment, this kind of challenge.

Here's our big A's the ballpark in April.  Smiling.

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