Friday, February 28, 2014

Three Things.

It's been a busy week, with Marty and I going back to work and the kids going to school every day--it would be an understatement to say we've had some trouble getting back into the old routine. I wish I could blame the following three parenting...issues...on our struggle but really, I think they'd probably have happened anyway.  We're entering a new era of parenting around here, I'm thinking. Anyway, three major things have happened this week:

In no particular order...

1.  Lesson learned: do NOT use sarcastic parenting tactics on your spectrum child. He will, in fact, internalize said humor and treat it as fact, and then continuously talk, cry, tantrum about it. So, confession:  Wednesday, Anderson woke up at 5:15 for some unknown reason (and yes, we had a snow day that day. A day to sleep in and my kid is raring to go before my alarm is even set to go off. Yep.). Therefore, by about 5:00 that afternoon, he was a hot mess.  Everything was making him anxious. For him,  ASD really shows up the most when he's upset--and he still cannot put his frustrations into words. So, he says whatever negative things come to his mind.  On this particular day, his quote was, "Yeah. I think Haddie has to go back to her old home. She's not going to stay here."  I know, that seems fairly innocuous, but I know exactly what he was saying with that--and it wasn't nice. So, being the awesome mother that I am, and also being the mother who was up on her snow day with her 5-year-old, I retorted with something to the effect of Haddie is staying with us and maybe HE should be the one to go live somewhere else. I type it, that sounds bad. I was seriously joking. You know, going for the funny, sarcastic mothering approach. This would've worked with Amelia--she would've looked at me like I was crazy and shaken it off. Well...with him, not so much. He looked at me and said, "Okay. I want to go live somewhere else!"  Now, I know in hindsight I should've stopped there but at this point I was fascinated and wanted to see what happened next. So I told him to go on. He looked at me. I repeated myself.  He said he was going. I asked him where he would be going to live and he swiftly replied that he would be going to his Auntie Kim's house (she's loving this, by the way). I asked how he'd get there; he informed me he'd be driving my van.  And then...he started getting upset that I wouldn't be letting him go. I realized that he was absolutely NOT understanding that what we were talking about would in fact never happen (FACE PALM). I pulled out my phone, showed him a baby picture of  himself and me:
I told him he was my baby, and that he belonged to me. That I loved him very much and would never let him go live anywhere else. He  loved the picture, smiled, and that was that. Or so I thought.  About an hour later, he informed me that he wanted to live somewhere else. I repeated my shpeel. Since then, he's said it oh...about a hundred times. He's not serious; in fact I'm fairly certain that he knows it bothers me so he does it for a reaction. Bottom line--the boy can't handle that style of parenting. I'll never do the whole "pack him a suitcase" act when he wants to run away because homeboy will think he's really moving out and he will be pissed.

2.  Amelia got away with her first true intentional Mommy Manipulation. Yep--I was played.  So Ms. Sassy-Britches has gone through another hateful spell, as she's done in the past.  She gets angry with us when we ask her to do something she doesn't want to do, and sometimes she just blatantly refuses. Despite how I thought I'd be as a parent, I've actually learned that talking to my kids and explaining WHY they can't do such-and-such works better than raising my voice, spanking, etc. So a few nights ago, I explained to Amelia that it wasn't respectful or kind to refuse to do what Mommy and Daddy ask her to do. She understood, got herself together.  For about 8 hours.  The next morning, I needed her to let me fix her hair. Time was of  the essence, since I had to get to work, and she was comfy on the couch and didn't want to let me take care of it. I asked her three times to come to me, and she sat on the couch...and LOOKED at me.  The blood was boiling, but I calmly hit her where it hurt--in her TV watching time. I told her no screen time for the rest of the day, starting immediately.  She teared up, let me fix her hair. Asked before she left if she could watch something when she got home. I quietly told her she'd made a bad choice, and that no, she wouldn't be watching TV today.  Fast-forward to me picking them up that afternoon.  When I got to preschool, two of my favorite teachers were together in the gym. Of course I chatted it up with them as the kids kind of played around us.  I was absorbed in our conversation when Amelia, with perfect timing because Anderson was right there next to her, casually said, "Can I watch Frozen when we get home?" Not remembering our previous conversation, I said yes, which brought much excitement on the part of both kids.  As we were walking out of the gym, Amelia said, "I will make good choices and follow directions!" and that was my cue to remember. She snuck that one past me, but it was hard to go back on it because the boy was involved. So, I told her she better follow EVERY SINGLE DIRECTION that night or we were talking FIVE days of screen time. She was a perfect angel the entire night. Sister is figuring out that when mama is talking (which she does a lot), she doesn't really pay attention and will say yes to anything. She's got to work on not giving herself away though.

Which brings me to...
3.  Anderson ALSO is working on his Mommy Manipulation.  Ever since our power went out one night while Marty was in the hospital and Anderson freaked out and spent half the night in my bed, he's been...well...angling to get back into my bed (Marty is currently sleeping in a new recliner, which helps him with sinus issues/drainage, which helps him not aspirate fluid into his lungs--we are doing EVERYTHING we can to keep the man healthy).  Since the power outage, he's managed to weasel into one night in my bed--a night when it stormed.  On Wednesday, he was really wound up at bedtime and just didn't want to go to bed.  Even after his nightly routine, he got up a few times, asking random questions.  A good 30 minutes past bedtime, he got up again and came into our bedroom, and announced that he wanted to sleep with me.  I took him back to his room, where he proceeded to turn on the water works.  Now, Anderson is a boy of true feelings. When he's happy, there's no mistaking it. When he's anxious, you know. And when he's sad, you know he's sad...or so I thought.  I watched him as he lay there crying, saying he was "scared". While the tears were pouring out of his eyes, I'm pretty sure the sobs weren't altogether real. In fact at one point, I tried to distract him and I'm pretty sure he cracked a smile. As I got ready to get up, though, the sobs started again.  I just kissed him and loved on him and told him he had to stay in his bed. He proceeded to sob loudly for maybe five more minutes, then all was quiet. Sadly with that little stinker, I am STILL not sure whether it was real or forced tears, but I swear I think it was all acting, in an attempt to sleep with me! The boy has a real shot at making it in drama.

So--to sum up the week: the kids are getting smarter and are learning how to play their mother. And also sarcasm isn't the way to go with the boy.  I guess you keep on learning, with each stage of this crazy game called parenting.  Good thing they're cute.

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