You have to make sure he actually gets it.
Punkin sat on the bleachers at the baseball game of the local minor league team, clapping and encouraging the players to "run!" as they made their way into the outfield to catch fly balls. He was by all accounts appropriate, calm, and mild-mannered; he even cuddled with my mom. Looking at him, no one would think that 40 minutes earlier he had put his head through the window in my parents' back door during a fit of rage.
Every summer we attend a baseball game and every summer I wonder why we attend a baseball game. This year I was hopeful that the third dose of Ritalin would help us all keep our sanity and be able to stay beyond the first inning.
As we muddled through dinner at Oma's before the game, trying to convince Punkin to finish his taco so he could have some much-desired strawberries, I wondered aloud to my mother about the possibility that he spit out his 3pm medication. When he threw his plate across the dining room, I said, "Ya, I'll go check the car for his pill when I'm done." I was sweeping up taco meat when he asked to go outside. "No, not right now. We will play outside later." This went on for several minutes, quite playfully, until he snapped.
"NO LATER!" And before I could stop him, he banged his head against the glass of the back door hard enough that it shattered. The panic I felt was less than the day he grabbed three of my mother's knives by the blade from her knife block and started running around the kitchen, but was slightly more than the day he ran out of the apartment and into the parking lot to fetch something from the car.
Now, Punkin is rather unpredictable sometimes. There are, however, a few surefire ways to send him over the edge. One of those ways is when something breaks. This is ironic, of course, because generally he is the one who does the breaking. So he was scared, sorry, and something was broken and could not be immediately repaired. And since he didn't know how to cope with any of his emotions, he became aggressive. Very aggressive. Which meant I had to restrain him before he broke something else. All the while I'm thinking, "Wow, this opens up an entire new list of things for me to worry about."
"I SORRY. A DOOR BROKEN. IS BROKEN. A FIX IT."
"I forgive you. Opa will fix the door. Let's calm down. No cry. No hit. It's okay."
"A DOOR'S BROKEN! I so sorry, Opa. Opa fixa da door. DOOR'S BROKEN!"
Oma called Opa, who reassured Punkin that he forgave him and would fix the door, but the kicking and the screaming the hitting continued for another five minutes until Oma looked at me and said, "Should we offer him some strawberries now or is that against our principles?"
"Forget principles," I whispered, "Do you have any Skittles?" And just like that, he stopped. Oma didn't have Skittles, but she had a popsicle. We calmed down outside, I found his pill from the afternoon under his booster seat and gave it to him, and he only yelled, "DOOR'S BROKEN!" about ten more times on the way to the game.
The game, by the way, where he behaved beautifully.