I took the kids to McDonald's for lunch today and there were lots of boys Erik's age. In the past, Erik has either not been interested in playing with the other kids or has been too nervous/shy. Today, he was right in there, climbing and rolling his toy car down the slide. Very fun for me to see.
However, as the play progressed, he seemed to get more excited and maybe was having a hard time controlling his energy. He would sort of get near kids and tense his hands like he sort of wanted to push them and was able to stop himself at the last moment. So I tried to keep a very close eye on what was going on. Soon, it escalated to making claw hands and roaring at kids. No one freaked out, but they didn't really like it, of course. So I gave him a warning to stop. He didn't. I forget now what he ended up doing, but I told him we were leaving in two minutes and he had to sit in the booth until we left.
Sitting in the booth, he became very, very calm. So I had an idea. I told him he was not allowed to be a dinosaur in Playland because dinosaurs were not allowed there. I told him we were going to the park later and he could be a dinosaur there. I asked if he thought he could play like a nice boy for a few minutes at McD's. He said yes he thought he could do that. And he did. When it was time to go he told me that he had pretended to be a baby dinosaur while playing. Yay!