The Captain is pushing the boundaries of my creativity. With attachment disorder, the most effective discipline seems to be the one he does not expect. I have tried being very kind and understanding, being gruff, being firm but loving, thinking up creative “love and logic” type consequences, involving Daddy as Enforcer, hard work; you name it, I’ve employed it. He is just more creative than I am.

Until this weekend, this marvelous 4-1/2-year-old has been pretty controlled at home. He has been completely pushing the limits at school (a language development pre-K), but not here. On Thursday, the whole thing flipped on its ear.

I got a call from Teacher, “The Captain drew on my story-time rug with an Expo Marker.”

When I was able to close my mouth, I said, “I’ll come get him.”

Teacher and I both told him last week that if he did not follow the rules and be kind to the others, he could not stay in her classroom. He’s been trying to find out if we mean it ever since. This child has never drawn anything except paper in our house. In fact, he has very little interest in drawing. However, this week he had already bullied his classmates, thrown a giant tantrum in circle, and hit a friend; there were few ways left to test the system. So he did the one thing he knows makes women flip; he drew on the carpet.

When I arrived to pick him up, he had just finished several minutes of scrubbing the carpet. He looked completely shocked to see me. I put him wordlessly in the car and drove him home in silence. When we got in the house, I quietly told him he would need to sit on his bed until it was time for school to be over. (It’s a two-hour school; there were about 25 minutes left at this point.) He was so quiet, I thought he had dozed off. When the time was up, he came out, but I have kept him by my side all weekend. I have been trying to figure out what will be the magic elixer this time.

Yesterday, he spent the whole day bullying his siblings. Every single time I called him away, made him “strong sit” and then reminded him how we need to treat people. At one point he had a giant tantrum, so I sent him to his room where he proceeded to spit all over his own bed. No, I’m not kidding. His own bed. There was a little lack of planning there.

He’s definitely regressing. He acts like a very smart 2-year-old. When I start spending too much time trying to come up with creative consequences, it leads to one thing: Time to get back in therapy. When I see what they do, it doesn’t seem like it would work, but it always does. Fingers crossed!