Thursday, March 6

Little T Thursday: Doors

video

It was very clear when Little T moved back in with us 2 years ago that he was obsessed with doors. It began with the sliding doors of grocery stores and the library and places like Best Buy. He seemed to have a need to watch them open and close repeatedly. His play was totally about sliding two things back and forth as if they were automatic doors. They could be blocks, Lincoln logs, crayons or even two pieces of paper. Gradually we were able to get him involved in more imaginative play but he's always gone back to the door game at least once day.

The fascination with doors evolved to our accordion closet doors as you can see in the video. He loves to play hide and seek but becomes distracted when the doors don't shut perfectly. Then he pitched some things out of my closet before the doors closed well enough to satisfy him.

Other doors presented a more difficult problem. We began working on eliminating the door behavior because it's really interfering with other people as well now. Example: when we'd approach the school, the door had to be shut. If someone else opened the door to go in or come out, he'd stop cold. If the person should try to hold the door open for us in a mannerly way, Little T would become very upset and excited. At first we'd say, "Sorry, he wants to open the door himself". What became a pain is that he'd plant himself in front of others trying to get by and scream if you tried to move him out of the way.

On Monday, as we approached the doors one of the teacher's aides opened it and stood outside holding it so all the parents and kids could get in. She wasn't about to close it and wait while one little kid opened it again. When T realized he wasn't going to get his way, he threw himself on the ground and had a full blown 2 year old type tantrum. That afternoon, everyone began working together on a plan to eliminate that behavior.

T doesn't get to open doors anymore. He totally hates it. He holds someone's hand and the other has to remain "quiet" (down) while an adult opens the door. He goes through the door and if he does it without having a fit, he's praised and rewarded. Now that it's Thursday, he's becoming ornery. He's probably wondering how long he's going to be deprived of opening doors and so he's becoming more defiant and refusing to go through the door without having a big fit first.

The teacher assures us that he'll eventually understand he won't get his way and that will stop. This is where tough love begins, right?

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