Friday, May 15, 2009

Boggart Therapy Part I

Many blogs ago I was talking about Daniel's horrible fear of (cue thunder and lightning) THE (evil) BELLE TIRE GUY! The cute little smiling guy who sends my son into complete orbit. Mama Mara, who I've mentioned often, suggested a "boggart therapy". According to Mama Mara, "A boggart if you are not a Harry Potter freak, is a magical creature that can morph into the thing you fear most. To combat a boggart, wizards use a "Ridiculoso" spell which morphs the scary creature into something comical."
She used it with her son when he had a fear of the KKK. I don't know where he's been hanging out, but none of these fears can be explained.

Because our kids are so visual they get this image in their head and can't get it out. It's like it's in 3D right in front of them. So she suggested changing that visual image. She would draw pics of KKK guys and then show what's under the robes, ie a pointy cone head, ladies underwear, whatever. Trying to make the images comical, or maybe conical as in their heads! She suggested I use this for Daniel. I think it is a FABULOUS idea. You are very creative mama. BUT I've been holding back. Why? Because I know it's going to be a helluva lot of work, that's why. So as usual I try to gear myself up until I'm ready.

Enter the next problem, which is vacation. The last several vacations we have gone on have been to my aunt's house in Florida and so we just don't need to go out to eat much. This fear of the Belle Tire guy keeps us out of many many restaurants. If there are tv's in a restaurant, even if they are muted they keep him from entering. I get a lot of kind souls suggesting we just start trying to bring him into restaurants with tvs slowly but surely. While this is well intentioned advice, I say if that's what needs to be done YOU do it! lol. This can only be suggested by someone who has never seen his reaction to tv's anywhere. Hands fly up to ears, stress begins then escalates quickly to panic and yelling to cover up any POSSIBLE chance that the Belle Tire guy will appear and give his patented throaty "Belle tire". To hear the voice watch this video, that is if you can keep awake through the 1 minute of car alignment talk...

No it isn't happening. Right now trying to get him anywhere near a restaurant with tv's would be like saying "hey lady get naked and jump into the deep abyss, don't worry it's filled with snakes and crocodiles, you'll be fine".

I say vacation is the motivator, because we are going on one end of July. We always go "up north" sometimes for weeks, but again we are at a house, with a kitchen, and a Grandma who lovingly cooks or a Grandpa who grills! If we go out, we order in. It works most of the time, but now we are going to visit our family on the east coast. We'll be staying in hotels for over a week and driving through Canada to get there. We will pack coolers of food and get hotels with refrigerators and microwaves, but there WILL be times we'll need to eat out and I don't want to be stuck in a situation of starving kids and only restaurants with a tv in them with Daniel screaming on the curb. Nope. Don't want to go there! In other words, no time like the present to start this process.

This brings me to the fact that I drew a Belle Tire guy the other night. Here's my drawing:

My thought was I'd draw him as is then Daniel and I could add changes to him to make him silly. High heels, a clown hat, a big giant nose, silly glasses, whatever. I got as far as drawing him and got distracted and left the drawing in the family room. Daniel walked in to talk to me and I totally forgot about my drawing, which was sitting on the table right next to me. So in he walks and I swear it looked like he ran into a glass door! His hands shot to his ears, he fell backwards laying on the ground screaming "he can't talk he can't talk!" Which in Daniel speak means he doesn't want him to talk. I have to admit, I was almost laughing, which just sounds really really mean, but it is such an extreme reaction, it struck me funny. I was keeping a straight face, but was trying to get his attention. I was careful not to lean over him for fear he'd kick me in the gut, but was yelling over him, "IT'S JUST A DRAWING IT WON'T TALK!". He eventually heard me and started to calm down. I think we've determined it is the voice that freaks him out?? So I don't think I'll be changing that drawing any time soon?? My Plan B is now to maybe get him to look at my drawing and KNOW it won't say anything. Then we'll start making him silly. For now, I'm taking a few days off and calling it session I of "scaring the living daylights out of my child" complete.

Someone please tell me there are no Belle Tire's on the east coast. Please.


Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

I hope you're able to figure out something to help Daniel work through his fear!

Kate said...

Well, I think you're in luck, as I've never seen or heard any of any Belle Tires before on the East coast, which is where I'm from.
Sorry about the problem, though, good luck.

Kate said...

According to their website Belle Tire is only located in Michican and Ohio. Solution: Leave the Midwest? :)

Michelle S. said...

Thanks. I know we can get him past it. It's just going to be slow. It really stops him from being able to a lot of things which is so sad and I hate that he is so scared.

Welcome Kate! Thanks for checking that. It may be very helpful for me to assure him there won't be any billboards or tv ads!

Bobbi said...

He sounds so much like my son, its scary. Anything that makes certain noises really scares him and he is on high alert all the time. I laugh when i shouldnt also, lol. Good luck on your trip.

Belle Tire said...

Hi Michelle,

I've been reading your blog for a while now. (I blog-search Belle Tire on a daily basis.)

Kate was right, Belle Tire's are only located in Michigan and Northern Ohio.

We're so sorry to read of your difficulties with Tire Man. I know that it must be stressful and we hate to have any part of it.

Let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

Kari McLeod
Social Media Coordinator, Belle Tire Distributors Inc.


JoyMama said...

I just came over to say the same thing that Kate said -- I've never heard of Belle Tire in Wisconsin, so looked them up and found out what she did.

But now I've got to add: how ever-lovin' cool is it that you got a response FROM THE COMPANY?!!

(And, if you ever do want to follow up on ridicul-ifying the Belle Tire image... do you do Photoshop? Because Kari's profile image leads to a PNG file of the Belle Tire logo...)

Nancy said...

No Belle Tire here.... We can go eat anywhere we want, TV's or not... and he'll be fine!
Did I mention I can't wait till you get here!?