New cat and the emotional fall out

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. After the loss of our lovely black Havoc cat, we have gone out and got ourselves a new rescue kitten from the local animal adoption centre. Her name is Gypsy. She is super cute, but a little skittish and she’s four months old.

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Naturally, the choosing and arrival of a new kitten was cause for extreme excitement for our son. Extreme excitement coupled with ADHD and ODD can also lead to extreme frustration for the parents! New kittens take a little time to get used to people. They tend to hide under things and want to run away when you approach them. We explained all of this to our son of course. We also explained about approaching quietly, and not with big or fast movements. All of those things are incredibly hard for him to do. As he explained to me in his own words the other day,

“I can’t really hep it! When I just love something, I have to be fast and noisy otherwise, my heart might burst right out of my chest! See, my heart is going like this!”

He then proceeded to show me the beat of his heart using his drum kit. It was fast, and hard….of course! Interestingly, that was the same exact beat he showed me again later when I asked him to write out his spelling words and he informed me that his hand and muscles didn’t work because writing made his heart beat too fast. It really does give some insight into what is going on for him when his excitement or anxiety is up.

Unfortunately, the kitten keeps running away from him because he approaches very loudly and in a bouncy excited manner. He then takes that very personally and thinks the cat hates him! I tried to emotion coach him through those feelings of rejection, but it’s pretty tricky when he is yelling that he is going to catch her and send her back where she came from! Of course, the cat will get used to our noisy house, and he will eventually be able to play with her and hug her. He will love her just as he loves his giant white puppy. Until such time however, I am tested. I have a constant barrage of “Calm down! Slowly now! Well if you run at her, she will run away and hide! Come ON SWEETIE (not sounding very ‘sweet’ by that stage!) How many times do I need to say, don’t run at her and shout excitedly?!” Of course, all those comments only serve to frustrate him more and make him worse. It is very hard to find the right words ALL the time though!

While writing this post today, I had to stop mid-way through to get my son to do some work. We are approaching the end of the term here, so I haven’t been getting him to do much work each day this week. I just wanted him to write out his spelling words once. The recommended work amount is that they should write the words out three times every day. There is no way in hell I’m going to be able to convince him to that because to him, handwriting is the death of all fun and happiness in the world. So I usually just get him to read the words, sound them out and write them out maybe once a week or so. Being the last week of term, I thought with no other work being done, writing the whole list out once each day for a week wouldn’t be too hard. It takes him about 10 minutes to actually do it once he gets started. Let me play out for you how today’s ‘lesson’ went.

Me: At 3pm in the afternoon after having allowed him to watch two movies during the day, play with the cat, go for a nice long walk with the puppy and come on a few errands in the car with me…”OK. Time to get a little bit of work done for today.”

Son: “Nope. I’m not doing any work today, I’m too tired. I hate work, it’s boring.”

Me: “Yep, I know it’s boring for you, but you have to do some work. It’s not holidays yet. Come on, into the school room. Just write out your spelling words once and you are done.”

Son: Walks to the school room and proceeds to climb around on various furniture items. “No! Why don’t you LISTEN to me?! I am not doing any writing! I hate writing!”

The argument went on like this for about 15 minutes before I even realised I was actually arguing…..

Me: “OK. No more discussion. Here’s your book, here’s your pencil. I am leaving the room, you need to do your writing.”

Son: Exited the room about 4 minutes later with his hands on his head. “Why can’t I do anything right?”

I followed him into the room and he had made a small mistake on the first word, leaving out a letter. I assured him that it was OK to have made that mistake, and that he can just keep going on with the work now.

He lost it…big time. I mean BIG TIME! He accused me of not loving him at all. He threatened to hit me with a baseball bat (which he actually did pick up and swing at me!) He decided that he would go into the garden and kill himself. He then came back to the idea of killing me with the bat so he wouldn’t have to do work ever again! My goodness! He tried to bite my leg (after I had disarmed him quite calmly of the bat.). Eventually I had to use my ‘cranky voice’ to snap him out of it.

Me: “Hey! Stop it! I know this stuff is hard for you! I know you hate it when you make a mistake! Making a mistake does NOT make you bad or stupid or make me think anything less of you! The arguing and threats and trying to hurt me though, really upsets me! You need to pull it together and do your work. Behaving like that won’t get you out of doing it!”….blah blah blah.. I said a lot of other stuff, but can’t be bothered typing it!

Finally we got around to the fact that he finds it really hard to look at the words then move his eyes to his writing and then back and forth again. I figured that was fair enough (something we might need to get checked out incase we can get something to help with that.) and I devised a cunning plan whereby I would read each word out to him and the spelling of it. He would write it down and then read it back to me once he had written it. He settled down to the new method and did the work in ten minutes! At the end he hugged me, and seemed very happy with how neatly he had written his words!

Man… some days homeschooling is HARD WORK! Even when all you try to do is one tiny little exercise.

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