Recently, family members came to visit from out of town. They live several states away, so seeing them is a big deal. On their second day in town, the cousins joined us in picking up Jayden from summer camp. Laurie and I were excited to see the look on his face and the reaction was priceless, but it quickly faded and he was out of sorts for the rest of the day.
When we got home, he was lethargic. We thought, “Well, he probably didn’t sleep much at camp.” We skipped lunch in favor of a popcorn bar and watched a movie. He ate a bowl of popcorn and a soda, but then he passed out for the entire movie and stayed asleep until we woke him up for dinner. “Jayden, we’re going to our favorite fried chicken restaurant, then we’re going to a water park!” we told him.
He forced a smile, but then got in my Jeep and fell asleep again. “Wake up, Buddy,” I said as we were hopping on the interstate. He opened his eyes, gave me a funny look, and then threw up all of his popcorn and soda.
I pulled into a gas station to clean up my Jeep, and Laurie helped Jayden get changed into his swim suit and bought him a ginger ale. At dinner, he laid his head on the table and ate maybe a biscuit, but mainly just nursed his ginger ale. At the water park, he did a couple slides and the lazy river, but then went to the chairs where we’d set our stuff and fell asleep. At this point, we decided to call it a night and we took him home.
At the house, his temperature was 102, so we gave him some ibuprofen, sent him to bed, and started making plans for getting him to a doctor on a Saturday and rescheduling with the family. But the next morning, he was 100%. He woke up before anyone else, had color in his face again, and ate more waffles than any else did at breakfast.
One of his siblings said, “It’s just like when we spend the night at Grandma’s. He eats a lot of junk food and drinks more than one soda.”
“No I don’t!” he said.
Another one said, “And stays up late watching shows.”
“Be quiet!” Jayden said.
The third said, “He’s always sick the next day.”
Jayden’s face was red from blushing. That’s when the light bulb went off above my head: that’s exactly what he does! He’s a very fun-loving ten-year-old boy, but he has zero filter, especially with relaxed summer rules. He parties all day and all night and then pays for it the next day. He either ignores or doesn’t have a voice in his head (or stomach) saying, “That’s enough.”
The fun thing about our kids, especially the three with diagnosed ADHD, is that they’re typically a ton of fun at special events. Everything is the best thing ever and they never get tuckered out. Actually, I’ll rephrase: it takes A LOT to tucker them out. Clearly, a week-long camp for Jayden – where he doesn’t have mom, dad, or siblings telling him to drink more water, put on sunscreen, and go to bed – is too much freedom for him. Apparently, spending one night at Grandma’s is, too.
Luckily we still have two more days with the out-of-town family. Tonight, Grandma is throwing a pool party. Typically she buys at least one rack of ribs per grandchild, enough potato salad to feed a football team, and all the soda in Texas. And Laurie and I will be keeping an eye on Jayden, because I know he won’t remember how sick he was yesterday. Or won’t care. So we’ll have to be the voice in his head saying, “You’ve had enough.”