Thursday, November 12, 2009

Battle Royale!

On Monday (I'm a little behind the ball!), Nathan had therapy. His usual appointment is on early Thursday afternoons, but that involves taking him out of school. The school has been accomodating, considering that I work during 2-5PM. But, a rescheduling of my hours made Monday afternoons free, so I was able to change it. Nathan liked that I got to pick him up from school, which was a BIG deal. I always drive him to school, but I usually don't get to pick him up, so this was a treat for the both of us.  He said he wanted to go see Roberta, who is his psychologist. 9 out of 10 times he doesn't want to go, as it involves, "talking, Mom. SO much talking!" 
The appointment went great. Roberta was pleased with his progress on his IEP. She sent us on our way....then things started to go sour....

I had said to Nate that we had to go to the pharmacy to pick up a few things. I try to differentiate between "stores". If I say "grocery store" that can mean 1/2 hour to an hour. If I say pharmacy, that usually means 10-15 minutes, so it's quick. Nathan kiaboshed that idea with a whine like an air raid siren, "But Mawwwwwwwwwwwwmmmmm...I don't wannnaaaa go to the pharmaceeeeeeeeeeeeeeee." And he kept repeating that phrase over and over again. My patience wasn't very long that day, and honestly, it wasn't essential for me to go. I think he sensed my non emergency and played upon my short patience with his amazing voodoo like skills.

We got home and he immediately wanted to play on the computer. I'm not keen on this, as it's a Monday, and Monday's homework is writing 5 sentences with at least 7 words in each sentence and one of those words has to be a vocabulary word. (Some of their words have been "obnoxious", "trivial", "brim", and "dainty".) 

Writing is "not his speciality", much like sleeping before 8:30PM or keeping toothpaste off of his face. He hates it. Hates it with the intensity of a thousand suns. And I MAKE him do it, which adds to the fun house effect.
I knew that somehow this was a BAD idea, as giving him a break before hand would end up in a bloodbath. But he looked at me with those hazel eyes (with the voodoo, mind you, remember the voodoo people!) like a baby deer and he asked, "Mom, can I please have a break before homework?"  I figured, "Oh, Amy, how can this go wrong?"

7PM rolls around (this may seem late, but he stays up until 10PM most nights) and I have already given him a 15, 10, 5 and 3 minute warning to get off of the computer. He growls his disapproval and stomps his way across three rooms to the kitchen (much to the delight of my neighbors, I'm sure). He pulls out his chair and slumps in it, crosses his arms and stares at me with as much distain as a Pre Emo Twihard can muster.  I'm gathering as much of my sanity as I can, and calling on the homework gods to bless me in this battle we are about to begin.

It takes us 90 minutes. 90 minutes of whining, hitting himself in the head with a pencil, gritting his teeth, whimpering like a puppy who's been bad because he peed on the floor, throwing himself onto the couch and screaming, being sent to his room three times, to the naughty corner about 4 times, computer time taken away, a river's worth of tears before we got all 5 sentences done. But 80 minutes of it was this behaviour. After we got through all the drama, and he got 20 yards for bad acting, and he cried in my shoulder and covered it with warm snot. Suddenly a switch was thrown and my child came back to me and he said, "I'm sorry, Mom. Can we do my homework now?"
  We spent the next 10 minutes writing our sentences with very little difficulty.

He's not this dramatic all the time when it comes to homework. When it's math, it's like chocolate to him; he wants it and he likes it. He's also very good at it, so comes to him easily. so much. I am not bothered by the fact that he'll never rewrite the Declaration of Independence in Calligraphy. I don't want him to get comfortable with the idea that he doesn't have to write. I don't want him to have a scribe. He needs to keep practicing, even if he thinks he stinks at it. You get better at things if you practice. Even when you hate it, it's one of those lessons in life that we must teach our children.

I want to make life as easy as possible for him, but having him opt out of things now that he'll have to deal with as an adult that will bit him squarely in the behind is not good. Even for my aspie. Let him struggle a little now so that he won't have to struggle alot later.

After all this Bob Fosse jazz hand like jujitsu, we sat down and had hot cocoa and watched Scooby Doo. Because even though Shaggy and Scooby can screw things up sometimes, they always come through and get the job done. Everyone deserves a Scooby Snax.  


  1. No one said this momma gig would be easy. (((hugs))) to you and Nathan! You're a great mom!

  2. I can relate to how hard it can be to get an aspie child to do something and persevere. I deal with this a lot with my son Julian, with some day to day stuff (especially self care) as well as with any classes that Julian has started out in (i.e. swimming, dance,soccer,etc), I can only imagine how it will be when he starts bringing home work from school to do (he is 5 now). Your steadfast conviction to see the work through is such a good example, not only for your Nathan but for us mamas who have a hard time staying the course when we are also tired or low on patience, Way to go! I really enjoy your blog, thanks for sharing your experiences here. I think you could add a reaction button above that says "relatable" or "it resonates with me" and I bet you'd get a lot of checks for that one!

  3. @ annmarie: Lord knows this was never going to be easy! But I would never change a thing. He is fantastic and I love him just the way he is. :)

  4. @ mamaneeniebelle: Your comment is awesome. Thank you so much! There are days that I just want to throw in the towel, but I can't. I just can't. There is no other choice than to stay that course and I am okay with that. Maybe I should change those buttons up a little, see what happens! Thank you for the suggestion. :)

  5. Recently I started letting my son use a typing program to learn to type at first it was monotonous for him but now he likes it because it has little games involved with it. From there we started letting him write on the computer. Its a magical tool.

    Though my son can not formulate ideas on paper, he has created some very nice work on the computer. The most recent breakthrough came this last month. He had to write a research paper on a non-fictional subject and it had to be an informational piece. The first time I saw it I asked him where he copied it from but he hadn't. He created the whole report from scratch and even included photos he downloaded, himself, from the internet and, he put text boxes under each picture. For some of the work he even made flow charts with line art and pictures. I was so amazed ... He still doesn't like writing but he doesn't have his breakdowns anymore.

    The school after seeing his work now allows him to do all his writing on a computer and for testing they make accommodations for him when he has composition state tests that all the kids are required to take. Another thing that we have learned is that as he types on the computer his spelling has become almost perfect. The kid can spell better than me now!

    We learned from the school that there are keyboards that aspies and kids with dysgraphia can use that are light and are only a word processor. If you have an aspie child you may want to look into this. My son has even said he is considering writing how-to books. LOL! Guess someone has to write those long direction manuals when you buy stuff, why not an aspie child who can spew forth facts on just about anything. x)

    Thanks for sharing your story with us, its good to know we are not alone.

    Phillip C. - Hawaii

  6. My son is just like this, I thought he was neurotypical, maybe because it's a non issue compared to my 5 yr old who has never spoken a word and has no comprehension skills. Oh well, autism is a spectrum disorder I guess.