Thursday, September 22, 2011
yesterday i had a long day at work. patients went long, i fell behind on the peripheral duties, and by the time i had clocked out at the end of the day i had nearly ten hours of being on my feet running around. i was exhausted, mentally and physically.
a half-hour drive home, fighting to stay awake. in the kitchen, i immediately see that no. 2 has been doing sentences. they read, "i will not use leftover money from the book fair to buy junk food at lunch." since no. 2 is in the other room playing, i am guessing he is done writing.
so my wife and i have a talk while i have a drink (she is already halfway down a drink of her own), and apparently, no. 2 was given a ten dollar bill to buy books at the book fair. when my wife asked for his change, he said he didn't have it. he told her he accidentally spent it. she said the only thing he might've "accidentally" spent it on would be junk food at lunch. he said that is what he had spent it on.
as she thinks about just how much sugary shit an 8-year-old boy can buy with five usd, she becomes livid, and makes him write sentences, then tells him he is grounded from games and tv for two weeks. he replies, "am i grounded from legos?" to which she answers, "no, you're not grounded from legos." and he cheerfully says, "well at least i can still play legos." she says, "glad you're seeing an upside to this."
"you need to have a talk with him." she tells me.
i decide i am gonna need a moment to decompress, sip my drink, and get in a calmer frame of mind to deal with the situation.
when i am finally ready, i call no. 2 in to talk with me. he stands in front of me, and i ask him why he blew the five bucks on something like junk food. with the idea of teaching him the value of money, i ask him what he could've spent the five dollars on that he might still have to show.
he looks at me with a strange sort of smile. his eyes are glittery, and his big buck teeth are on display as if they are holding back a laugh. i stare at him, waiting for him to tell me what sorts of things he would spend money on that last longer than a few minutes. he stares deep into my eyes and says, "it's in my pocket!"
and proceeds to pull a neatly-folded bill out of his pocket. "and two pennies!" and places them all carefully in my hand, while still smiling that weird smile.
deranged chuckles begin to pour out of me. i stare at the money in my palm. the chuckles roll in ever-increasing waves out of me. "go play, you're fine no. 2."
"wife!" i shout to her in the other room, "come in here and talk to me!"
we try to figure out why on earth he would willfully lie about buying junk food and then take the ensuing punishment when the key to freedom was in his pocket the entire time. the only solution we can come up with is that he was messing with us in some sort of elaborate and convoluted practical joke that is only funny to himself. all the while, the maniacal chuckles spilling from my frame.
if nothing else, it was the exact amount of the surreal to fix my day.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
so no. 1 has been diagnosed with aspergers. 95% chance, according to the test he took with his therapist.
this means no. 1 isn't very good with feelings and emotions and things that cannot be touched and seen.
it means no. 1 is very logical, and thinks in terms of black and white, right and wrong, yes and no. he doesn't see all the gray areas of life.
it means he is very egotistical. it is what he wants when he wants it, and he has a very hard time empathizing with you, or understanding why you would be upset when he kicks you off the video games so that he can play again.
it completely explains the conversation that he and i had about grandpa lloyd and his passing and where he would be now that he is gone. no. 1 has issues with death and heaven mainly cause they are the nebulous kinds of illogical and faith-bound concepts he would have trouble with. so it now makes perfect sense that he would so intently ask me when we were talking about heaven, "but is it true?!!?" he needs it to be concrete, a place i can point out on a map, an address we can plug into the gps.
it means that no. 1 will know everything and anything about the things that interest him. the video games he plays, the dates man first walked on the moon, biology and science. during the summer, he would come home from his science camp, and from memory tell me all the ingredients of that day's experiment and how to mix them and why those ingredients mixed in that way created the result i was now holding in my hand.
it means the things that are not important to no. 1 do not matter in his world, at all. he is perfectly ok with waking up and heading off to school with ridiculous sid vicious bedhead and a rumpled, misbuttoned shirt. it means he has a low tolerance for other people's curiosities and opinions. his opinions are right, others' aren't. he already understands why something works the way it does, and he can't be bothered to explain it to you if you don't.
it means that much of my "creative" approaches to parenting and attempting to get him to understand why something might be important have been wasted effort. it would be simpler if i just said, "don't do that cause it is bad and wrong if you do." than all my attempts to link it to others' feelings or vague concepts of the future.
no. 1 and i go to his therapies together whenever possible, him to learn how to consider other people's feelings and to remember personal hygiene, and me to learn how to guide him properly into a productive and fulfilling life.
n in some ways it means that my idea of a productive and fulfilling life might not be his ideas of a productive and fulfilling life, n i need to learn to be ok with that.
thanks for playing along, o my beloved non-existent readers.