Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The six-minute rule

No, not for food dropped on the floor. (I think that's a 30-second rule.) For kiddo's behavior. He's great for six minutes. Then not so much.

That's more or less the interval they're using with him at school; if his timer goes off and he's on task, he gets a smiley on his behavior chart. If not, no smiley. If he gets enough smileys, he earns Lego-building time at home. This is the current behavior plan. We've had many behavior plans. I can't wait until he gets to college and asks his RA during freshman orientation, "Who signs my chart?"

He's been earning lots of smileys. Which is wonderful. And then two minutes later, he does something not wonderful. Like, say, tossing a beanbag at the ceiling, and getting it stuck there.

The beanbag is from his weighted vest. It's a nice vest, in that it's denim and looks like real clothing, and doesn't scream I am a special needs child and you should treat me differently. But the vest is designed for easy access to the weights, in case you need to add or remove them; it's not designed to keep the weights from falling out. Which they do, all the time, especially since kiddo is supposed to be wearing and removing the vest at timed intervals. Basically the vest is fine if the child wearing it isn't ever going to move around. You can see the irony.

So he somehow ended up with a beanbag in his hand and for some reason thought it would be funny to toss the thing at the ceiling. In a one-in-a-million shot, he got it lodged between two ceiling panels, and there it stayed. Kiddo promptly melted down, because he said I would be mad at him, and tried to get the beanbag back. This apparently involved climbing on top of desks. Standing on desks is only acceptable if you're in "Dead Poets Society."

He didn't get suspended, but we strongly suspect no one would have objected if we'd just volunteered to take him home. (We didn't.) Remember how we didn't get approval on an aide for kiddo? This topic may be coming up again, and loudly.

So, six minutes. He's great in gymnastics for six minutes, and then he's sprawling on the floor instead of stretching. He's great in the supermarket for six minutes, and then he's rearranging all the mint tins at the register. He's great in the morning for -- actually, no, getting him dressed is a feat of Herculean proportions.

I feel sometimes like we're living in six-minute intervals. Everything OK? Everything OK now? How about now? It's a little tiring.

He's great all the time when he's building Legos. If only he could do that all day. Maybe there's a Lego school somewhere.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The other mom

The other mom sat in front of me at gymnastics. Her daughter was practicing cartwheels and flips. Her daughter was wonderful. She applauded each time. Then she mimed the arm movements so her daughter would do them better.

I thought, It must be nice. 

It must be nice to be able to get perfectionistic with your child's performance. To sit back and applaud and not worry about anything except your child being even more perfect. It must be so freeing.

This was what I saw at gymnastics:

My son walking onto the mat and immediately, .5 seconds, going into silly mode because there were too many kids and there was too much going on and when he's overstimulated, he jumps around, lies on the floor and makes goofy high-pitched noises like a cartoon character. So he jumped around and lay down on the floor instead of warming up. He ran off to try the trampoline by himself when he was supposed to be waiting his turn at a different exercise. He told his instructor "No!" so many times, and so clearly, that I could hear him up in the bleachers.

I hate to think what the other mom was thinking. Assuming she saw anyone else on that mat besides her daughter.

I walked downstairs at one point, calmly headed to the mat, quietly asked, "Do you need me to talk to him?"

"Yes, he's being disruptive to the rest of the class," the instructor said.

Ah yes, the most commonly heard phrase in our household. He's being disruptive.

So I talked to him, and got him to take a few deep breaths, and sent him back. He was mostly better after that.

I sat there, eyes on him, and wondered whether the class was a mistake, whether the gym would give me a refund if I had to pull him, whether the gym would hate me for pulling him and whether that would hurt his sister, who also takes classes there, and loves it. Amazing how one disruptive kid can affect so many other people at the same time.

I wondered why his school had been so quick to suspend him and yet so equally quick to deny him a one-on-one aide. I wondered exactly what we were supposed to do about him if no one was willing to help us. Ground him until college? Send him to a monastery?

The other mom kept applauding, and occasionally ignoring everything to check her phone, and for an instant, I was jealous.