Oh the drama!

Seriously, I have the most dramatic child. Here are some of the things he has come out with this week.

Son: “mummy, you HAVE to play with me!!!”

Me: “I just did. We played chess.”

Son: “not that kind of playing. You need to play pretends with me.”

Now, I don’t know what parents of other kids do, but I believe that around the age of four or five, most kids move on to playing those pretend games like cars, planes, vets, mums and dads, with their peers. Mine sort of skipped that and still wants us to play it. And. I just. Can’t. Do. It. Anymore!!!!! I can’t! He’s nine. I’ve been doing it for years. Sorry but he has to suck it up and deal because I refuse. I will play chess, board games, watch movies with him, talk to him, cook with him, walk and bike ride with him, play cricket and many other things, but I won’t do pretends! 

Me: “no sweetie. I have to get this washing done.”

Son:”ugh! That’s it! I am leaving this house! I have nothing left in life. There is no one to play with and I have no toys so I might as well just leave.”

Me: “That’s a shame that you feel that way. I hope you find something to do.”

He did of course, but the request to play with him still comes about forty times a day.

Tonight, he came inside sweaty and very dirty from jumping on the trampoline and rolling around the yard. He sat next to me and I noticed that he had multiple band aids that he was about to open and put on. I told him he couldn’t use band aids for mozzie bites and that he needed to have a shower first anyway because he was filthy. His legs were black! 

Son: “no! I’m not having a shower!”

Me: “yes, you are. You can’t sit on the lounge or go to bed with all that sweat and dirt. Go on, off you go, then I’ll put some stuff on your itchy bites.”

Son: “arghh! I hate it! Why should I do what you say after what you did!?” (Upon asking, I found out that what I did was to disallow the use of four hundred bandaids….)

His dad called out from the Loungeroom to stop arguing and get in the shower. Off he went stomping and moaning. His dad then reminded him to take a towel with him.

Son:”Why? Why should I dry MYSELF?!”

That caused me to crack up laughing. Really? Why should he dry himself? He still wants one of us to dry him most days. He’s nine!!!! And then, just because he’s a boy, we reminded him to use soap. And then, after he got out and I asked him if he had used soap?

Son:”oh! Bum I forgot!” 

Sigh. Drama. I’m tired now. And soon I’ll have two boys! :)

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Why is it so hard to be honest?

In many of things I’ve read about raising children and particularly children who have issues like ADHD or ASD etc, I’ve encountered the same theories about why these children lie a lot. I’m pretty sure I agree that my son in particular lies because he is afraid of being in trouble. His experiences from quite young have been that many of the things he does get him trouble, and so his first instinct is to lie. I get that.

He’s a smart kid though. So why, when he repeatedly gets caught doing the same things that have got him in trouble previously, does he still continue to deny and lie? He knows full well that his parents aren’t stupid. He knows that we know when he’s done something. We don’t use many techniques other parents use, like entrapment or asking him questions where we know he will most likely try to lie first. We come straight out and let him know that we know what he’s done. We even show him how we know and what gave it away! Yet, he will repeat the behaviour.

We’ve changed our methods in terms of punishing the lie much more than the actual behaviour. We’ve made a big huge fuss if he does something and is honest about it, even to the point of rewarding the honesty, despite the fact that he did something he should have been in trouble for!

Despite all these things we’ve been working for years, my son is still really sneaky and dishonest. I know that sounds like an awful thing to say about him, and I don’t think he is those things deep down. I think there is something that is just making him not think about the consequences… except over and over and he doesn’t seem to learn! Every single day this week he has tried to sneak foods that he is not allowed to have without asking. Every. Single. Day.

When he thinks he’s the only one up in the morning…when he thinks I’m not listening because I’m resting in the bedroom…when he thinks he won’t get caught. Nothing seems to stop him. I’ve expressed my disappointment over and over. I’ve allowed him to have the food if he asks for it first (not after he’s tried taking it of course). I’ve talked and talked to him about how it makes him feel when he gets caught and whether he feels good about himself or bad about himself when he does something like that. I’ve threatened to remove those kinds of foods from the house. (Yes, in the past, I did remove them completely… he stole them from other people when he was at school!).

Arghh! What do I need to do to get him to understand that stealing is not OK. That being dishonest is not OK. That taking food he knows is off limits is still stealing. He’s finally come around to understanding that taking fruit of other people’s trees or flowers from their gardens is stealing, but when it comes to things in his own house, he just doesn’t get it. I’ve equated it to simply breaking my rules, which is not allowed. I’ve equated it to being dishonest and sneaky, which is not respectful to either himself or me. Nothing is getting through. Just 20 minutes ago, he asked if he could have a second ice block. I said no, but if he wanted a snack, he could have (insert list of things I said he COULD have). I then went into my bedroom to do some uni work.

He said, “fine, put your headphones on and listen to your lecture then.”  my suspicions were immediately raised and I called out,

“don’t you go and get an ice block while I’m not in here!”

Less than 10 minutes later, I heard him in the freezer, unwrapping an ice block and sitting down to eat it! I marched out and took it from him and angrily pointed out how dishonest that was, and that he only did it because he thought I wasn’t listening and he wouldn’t get caught. I asked him how that made him feel to have disappointed me so much. He just got angry and said that he was starving and I wasn’t feeding him so had to do it!

I reminded him that we had just had lunch together a short time ago, and I had in fact heated up and given him two servings of lasagna at his request. I had also given him a list of foods he was allowed to get, just that the ice block was not one of them as he had already had one today!!

Man I hope this doesn’t continue all the way into his adult life where he just lies and sneaks and steals, because he’s been doing since before he was three! I just don’t know what else to do to show him how bad it is. :(

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What to do when you are talking to ‘Anxiety’?

Well, this week was our first week of getting into extra curricular activities with other actual people. Trampoline went quite well on Monday. Yes, he argued and even got a little rude with the teacher, but she was able to bring him back on track (mostly…) to do what was required. The important thing there is that he did some good exercise and used his muscles, which can only help in the long run!

We were supposed to go to a social group on Tuesday, but neither of us really felt up to it, so we stayed home and did some reading and book work instead.

Wednesday, again, we were meant to go to a social group, but I just felt so exhausted and over it all with the new diabetes medication I’m on and watching my diet so carefully.

Thursday we went to the Museum of Sydney and had a great time at the Lego Towers of Tomorrow exhibition. We also got to learn a little about Sydney’s history, and the history of tower building and Lego stuff. :) The boy wasn’t particularly interested in knowing or listening to anything at the Lego exhibition, he just wanted to get in there and build, loudly telling everyone he came across (which thankfully being a weekday morning, wasn’t that many!) that he is a Lego expert and could easily build the best tower. While I cringe inside when he does that, I try not to say anything in front of people. He often ends up realising for himself that he isn’t infact the best at these things. He was amazed and outraged at some of the other models people had built, but that didn’t stop him having a go this time thankfully. He did build quite an awesome tower in the end, and was proud of it.

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On Friday, we went to our first group glass. A science class run by one of the Homeschooling mums on the norther beaches. She is a scientist and it was a nuture learning class run in a very free-form way about the universe, that ties in with the NSW syllabus for my son’s age group. I knew it would be a bit tricky for him as he’s so against any kind of group or formalised learning, but I really didn’t realise just much his anxiety would set him off.

We got there, and I had already set him up before hand by letting him know that he could just sit quietly with me and listen if he didn’t feel comfortable joining straight in. He told me that would be embarrassing if he had to sit with his Mum. I explained that was a lot less noticeable and embarrassing than knocking things over, yelling and running away. Anyway, we got there and there was quite a lot of interesting stuff around in the learning area. There were younger siblings, lots of books and papers, and toys and Lego. So immediately he was distracted. I quietly gave him a few little warnings that when the class started he would need to come away from the Lego and move over to where the lesson was going to happen. He got mad at me for that, saying that he would.

When the teacher asked all the kids to gather, he didn’t. He got mad at her for asking him to come over, and pulling on my arm on the way past, he exited the house to hide in some bushes outside. Sigh.

I followed and tried to emotion coach him back in. He swiped at my face a few times with his clawed hands, and hissed at me. That’s what he does when his anxiety hits it’s highest point. I tried to keep my patience and explained to him that he couldn’t do that. I also explained that he hadn’t given the class a try like we’d agreed. He had left before even waiting to see what was going to happen. He insisted that they were just going to have to sit and listen and stay still. I explained that actually they had all been given a very quick instruction on something and then were all standing around a table making sun dials right now. He came back inside, but went out the back and sat on their back step.

Every time I approached, he threatened to hit me with a stone he had found.

At the moment, everything seems to make me cry, (pregnancy hormones and lack of chocolate I’m sure!), I insisted that the needed to take some deep breaths and come back inside. I was slowly losing my ability to think clearly because I was also a bit embarrassed by his behaviour in front of the other Mums, even though I know none of them were judging me as they all homeschool for various reasons.

He left the house and ran out the front door again. This time I couldn’t find him at all, up or down the street. I rang my husband in tears and told him that, “he’s being a little poo and I can’t get him to even go inside and sit at the back and listen. Oh, and he’s run off and I’ve lost him.” Thankfully, my husband was able to calm me down from the other end of the phone and told me to offer him an ultimatum. Either he joins the class in some way that is positive, or he goes home and sits at the dining table for the rest of the day doing book work and writing lessons out.

Thankfully, about five minutes later, my son entered the house again,

Son: ” I walked around the block and I’ve calmed down now.”

Me: “That’s great. Are you ready to join the class now? If not, we can go home and do book work instead for the rest of today.”

Son: “Yes, I’ll try it”

He then went and apologised to the teacher, sat down and made a sundial! That is definitely progress. He still didn’t really participate like the other kids for the rest of the class after the break (it only went for an hour!! with a 10 minute break in the middle…), but afterwards when I asked him what he had learnt I found that he had actually absorbed most of the lesson quite well, despite not even facing the area it was happening. He insists of course that it’s crap and he’s not going back, but I’ve offered the alternative of group classes with more interesting learning, or book work at the dining table, so hopefully I’ll get him there every Friday and he’ll start to settle in a bit more. Fingers crossed.

I can tell you though, dealing with his anxiety when it’s up is still not an easy task, especially when you are as slow as a turtle and can’t bend over because you are 30 weeks pregnant!

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New School Year, New Start

Well, the new school year has begun here in Australia. We of course, will still be homeschooling, but this year, I’m going to try and change things up a little bit. On one hand I’m getting a little tougher with him. I’ve told him he WILL be doing some writing this year, and that I am not interested in his whinging. He will do what I ask and accept what work I give to him. I’ve also explained though that the whole curriculum will be a lot looser and hopefully more interesting for him, with little structure and more spontaneous and natural learning.

So far, he’s happily read through a Dinosaur related identification book and written some notes about different dinosaurs. His handwriting can definitely use a bit of work, but that’s OK. We really need to find some new ways of getting into spelling and maths without worksheets, sight words or rote learning so I’m the track of a few good programmes suggested to me by other Homeschoolers, which I’m excited to give a try. We’ve got quite a few fun excursions planned for the start of the year to museums and other exhibitions. They aren’t with groups, but I’ve got that covered too. I’m planning to get him to two new social groups this year in the hope that he’ll get more exposure and practice and stop feeling like he’s lonely.

Of course he is still very frustrating. I am doing all this work and organising and driving him here and there while heavily pregnant because he told me he feels lonely and that all he does all day is stay at home. However…when I organise stuff and say ‘come on lets go to this!’, he just complains and says he doesn’t want to go anywhere! I am making him go this year. Sometimes it will work out and sometimes it won’t, but all I can do is try!

Daddy has pretty much finished the storage shed he needed to build me so I can empty out the spare room to make room for the baby. Yay! Just a few finishing touches and we can start sorting stuff into it! I’m excited to get in there and start setting up the baby room, although it will be hard work now that I’m bigger and get tired more easily.

Only 11 weeks to go before the baby gets here though, and that’s pretty exciting!

So, I’ll keep you all up to date on how our excursions go and what good learning stuff we get up throughout this year. ;)

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It’s happened again, and it made me cry

Well, waking up this morning, I checked my messages as I often do. There was a very polite and to-the-point message from one of the Homeschooling activities we’ve attended a couple of times, informing me that she didn’t think her activity was a safe place for our son to be. Of course, I get it. Of course, I understand. I asked her if there was something specific he had done. Her answer made sense and was honest and correct. It did make me cry though.

Why?

Because it just makes me so sad every time we are rejected again due to our son’s behaviours. Being 26 weeks pregnant at the moment meant that I hadn’t been my usual attentive self and followed him around at the last activity he participated in.  I knew he was arguing a little with the person in charge because he wanted to do something that he wasn’t allowed to do, and he struggles to take ‘no’ for an answer. I had spoken to him a couple of times about it and I thought he had calmed down. It seems though that when away from me he wasn’t following the rules that had been given to him multiple times. Good, sensible rules for safety around big animals. Rules that children much younger than him were following without any trouble. Sigh. And he was on Ritalin that day too :(

When he asked why I was upset, I told him the truth. His initial reaction was anger (that’s his normal response), then he became quiet and upset.

“Well, that’s another thing I can’t go to, I think I’d better just spend the rest of my life in my bedroom.” And off he went, sadly closing his door. That set me off even worse and I couldn’t stop crying for half the morning! Bloody pregnancy hormones!

Eventually I got a hold of myself and managed to get him to listen to me, although he wouldn’t allow me to hug him.

“You just need to remember that I love you a lot. I believe you can get there and you can do it. You just need to really start being aware of how your behaviour affects others around you. You really need to try listening and not just insisting on doing what you want all the time.”

I know he can’t really help that stuff, but I just keep hoping that the more I say it to him, the more he’ll try and then maybe the more he’ll succeed. Anyway, it’s left us both a bit sad and drained today. I also went to the Dr and found out I have Gestational Diabetes again, which sucks. It’s not a huge drama, just an inconvenience really of testing sugars and making sure my diet keeps the sugars under control for the rest of my pregnancy. Stupid faulty placenta. Sigh again.

Apart from all that, the baby is very healthy, and wriggly and cute. It’s hot hot hot here in Sydney, and I really wish we had a pool, but never mind!

And so from here we just pick ourselves up and try the next thing as practice. I’ve enrolled him in a science programme this term, that teaches to the NSW syllabus, but does it in a ‘natural’ learning way, without much reading, writing or watching of videos. It’s all about inquiry and hands on learning and discussion. Fingers crossed that it will work out.

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Final quotes of the week for 2014

“I’ve tried to think about how to change my future! But I’m just going to end up in jail!” :(

Awww that’s a sad one…dramatic…but sad. He said that after being in trouble yet again today. He had been asked four times to do something. He kept mucking around. I could see Daddy getting increasingly close to bursting so I issued the ‘Enough is enough’ warning. Unfortunately, the boy didn’t heed that warning and continued mucking around. He got in trouble, ended up in tears again, and we had to have a whole half hour discussion about listening and doing as you are told!

But we’ll end 2014 on a cute one.

I just said that I’d like to play Glee Wii (a singing game on the Wii console).

Son: “Yay! Glee Wii! Do some music for us Mummy! Hey! I guess that’s why Mummy starts with M! Music and Mummy!”

Cute!

Happy New Year Everyone One! xxxxx

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Classic Quote of the Week

My son watched Tony Abbott (the current Australian Prime Minister) talking about something or other on TV. I think it had to do with taxes or some such. He turned to me,

Son: “Mummy, I really don’t like him. Did I vote for him?”

Me: “You are too young to vote darling.”

Son: scoffs and turns back to his Lego “Well, that’s the problem then isn’t it!”

Too funny.

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