This morning M fell in big puddle of ooze. He was walking across a field to meet up with his camp group, when he slipped and fell in a huge puddle of a viscous substance that had the texture of jello. Only sticky. It was hidden under a layer of grass and sand, so you didn’t know it was slippery until you were sitting on the ground.
Poor M stood up and fell again. Covered from almost head to toe in this disgusting gelatinous goop. There were lots of other kids around and some of them were laughing at him (as he fell the second time, I turned around to a group of girls who were laughing particularly loud and told them to stop, as it wasn’t very nice). I took a couple of steps to avoid stepping in the goo and promptly fell on my butt. I wasn’t quite as gooey as M, but I can vouch for its nastiness.
[Turns out the goo was a powder the camp had been using last week to make snow for a “winter camp.” In the wake of yesterday’s torrential rainfall, the substance turned into something resembling primordial ooze]
The remarkable thing about this incident was that M kept his cool. He was upset – understandably, as the stuff was gross. His dad went into the bathroom with him to help M clean up and had to scrap it off his shorts with paper towel. As I discovered when I went to peel it off my socks and shoes, once you got the goo off, your clothes dried quickly and there wasn’t much of a stain. So if you hadn’t witnessed M’s fall(s), you wouldn’t have known he’d been bouncing in gloppy goo.
Understandably, M was a little rattled for the first hour or so of camp.
But he stayed at camp. He didn’t have to come home with us because he was so upset. He didn’t get into a fight with another child. He participated in the activities, rather than withdrawing and refusing to do what the other kids were doing. Or being disruptive.
THIS IS HUGE!!!!
Less than 2 months ago, M had a major freak-out at school when I tried to give him his pills – to the extent that I had to take him home. M doesn’t like to be embarrassed or to draw too much attention to himself (certain irony in this, since his behaviour often attracts attention). Falling in a puddle of gooey goop in front of a big group of people has a high embarrassment quotient.
If this had happened last summer, the day would have been over before it started. M would have been upset, probably more because other kids were laughing, than over falling. But today, he handled a difficult situation with maturity and grace. It was wonderful to see.
I told M that I was very proud of him for keeping his cool. The next time, he gets upset about something, I will remind him how well he handled the attack of the goop. Progress…definite progress.