This past week has been mid-term break and a mixture of calm and storm. The boy was at a Lego camp each day for four hours. He loved it! He came home every day with a new mini-figure and a clay creation (in various states of squashedness). Could he tell us the names of any of his new friends at camp? No. Could he give us details of any of the teacher-led constructions he made? No. The only piece of willingly offered information was that on the last day, they played Nerf Wars! And he had scars to prove it.
On Thursday night we had our own version of Nerf Wars here in the house. He had had a blast of an evening at his ASD youth club, playing hockey with Adam Keefe, Captain of the Belfast Giants ice hockey team. When he got home, his sister was in the final minutes of a movie she was enjoying and Ethan decided that if she was watching that, he could use his Kindle. At this moment I made the WRONG decision. I put myself in the battle frontline and said NO! It was bedtime. It was 9.30pm and it was bedtime.
The bedtime routine for Ethan is very structured, involves me being there and I could see it being very late before anyone got to bed if I added in the struggle to get him off his Kindle. So, NO. No Kindle.
The battle began. Doors slammed, words spewed. ‘It’s not fair!’, ‘You hate me!’, ‘I hate you!’, ‘You don’t love me!’, ‘I don’t love you!’, ‘You’re mean!’. Missiles flew (mainly empty toilet roll holders I’d been saving to make seed pots!) and then the Nerf Gun was brought into play. Looking down the orange barrel I was filled with a mixture of nerves and bravery. I stood my ground. He’s not such a great shot. I survived. This lasted about 45 minutes and could have been avoided, maybe, if I’d said YES.
When Ethan has been to the height of his mountain, he spends time alone coming down the other side and then is totally remorseful. ‘I can’t believe I said that to you. I’m so sorry. Did I hurt you? I love you.’ As I comforted a sobbing sister (‘All I want is some peace in this family and for everyone to stop shouting!’), Ethan’s remorse appeared in the form of a note, attached to the Nerf gun. ‘I’m sorry about the way I behaved. Can you forgive me? Here’s the Nerf gun so you can get me back.’ After a few words on ‘forgiveness is love, not revenge’, there were hugs. For Katy, the sobs subsided as we talked about the best way to love Ethan through his mountain-climbing. For Ethan, he had immediately moved on and away from the battle. Never to be mentioned again. Apart from by me in the next day consequence of NO KINDLE FOR A WHOLE DAY! Yes I bravely went there, stuck to it and survived with no threats from the Nerf.