"I hate you!" "You are so mean!" "I wish I could live someplace else!" "You never let me do anything!" "I have to do everything!"
Those are things that at least one of my children hollers on a regular basis. Pick & choose they say. Pick & choose your battles. We do not put up with backtalk in this house. But I do know that we have to take the context of what is being said into account. Like the time we were getting ready to leave for the grocery store & I asked Little Boy to try to go potty before we left. He threw himself on the floor & shouted, "I have to everything, it's not fair!" I was like, "What in the world?!?" I didn't think that being asked to go potty was a situation that would elicit such a response. He'd heard the Girl howl that one many times, & I guess that's how he felt he needed to respond.
I've said it before & I'll say it again, I am so thankful that I know where I stand with my children. No....we are not raising a crew of brats who don't know respect. However, the fact that they aren't afraid to speak their mind makes it easier to know how to correct a situation & turn it into a teachable moment. If they kept everything bottled up I am sure I'd have to really wrack my brain to pull the thoughts & words out into daylight. I want my children to know that they can come to us anytime. I want them to know that they do not have to be afraid to tell us anything. We'll work out the kinks before we release them into the big wild world. Hopefully in the end, we'll find that we've done one or two things right.
As a Mom, it is hard to know that I have to trust others with my children. I want to protect my kids from any unkind words that someone else may throw their way. We let go & trust teachers, coaches, scout leaders, & other caregivers. I know that I can't be by their sides all the time but gosh, no one knows my kiddos like I do.
Thursday night I was in the gymnasium of the Y that I work at, teaching a Family Fitness class. The Girl was in swim lessons, & the boy was across the hall playing video games in the game zone room until it was time for his swim lessons. I trust the staff in every area at our Y, but I sometimes worry when the Boy is in this area. Not because of the staff, they are fantastic, but because when I am teaching my class, this room gets more crowded than usual. I have to kick the older teens out of the gym so that I can teach my class, which consists of parents/guardians & their children. I worry about the noise bothering the Boy. I worry about his interactions with the older children because they don't know him & his personality. They don't know that he is so literal & concrete. They don't know that when he asks for a turn & waits patiently for a turn & doesn't get it, he may have his world turned upside down. He doesn't know that sometimes older kids don't want to share with younger kids. They don't know that this may set him into a tailspin, & it could result in him having a meltdown that I get to deal with.
When it was time for the Boy to head downstairs to the pool for swim lessons, I had my friend M's daughters head down the hall to get him so they could walk downstairs together. After a few minutes, M's son came running back into the gym saying, "some old lady is yelling at the Boy, & he looks really upset." I had my group move on in their activity & excused myself for a moment so that I could check things out. The Boy came flying down the hall, face as red as a beet, & tears were welled up in his eyes. He looked at me & said, "I don't want to talk to you Mom. Leave me alone."
Leave him alone?!?! Who did he think he was talking to??
The Boy has a few quirks that have been attributed to his Aspergers. One of them is that his nose gets "bothered". He often times feels that there is something in there, & being a kid, sticks his finger in there. NOTHING comes out, but it bugs him to no end. When we see it at home, or if his teacher sees it at school, he is reminded to go & wash his hands with soap & water, to help avoid the spreading of germs. Well a lady was in the game zone with her grandchildren while they were playing the Wii. The Boy was playing a game on the Wii as well. Apparently, he had "one of his itchies" in his nose, so he did his thing then proceeded to pick up the game controller. This woman went off on my child, calling him a "nasty boy", & stating that he needed to "get out". By the time I got down the hall, I (kindly) asked what happened. Everyone knew this was my child. Except for this woman. She started telling me that this "nasty behavior should be put up with". I (kindly) informed her that this is my child & that at our Y we do NOT speak to children in this manner. I informed her that in a situation like this, it would best to ask him to please wash his hands, and that we will NOT name call & demean a child or anyone else while in the Y. I informed that we treat people with respect. After all, "what if he has an illness or disability that you can't see with the naked eye?"
The young man working in the game zone apologized to me, telling me that it happened so fast, that he didn't have a chance to intervene. I wasn't worried. I spoke my peace in a calm yet firm manner. My Boy calmed down & went to swim lessons. My Boy didn't cry, yell, grunt, fall to the floor & rock, or anything else that may have been deemed inappropriate. He walked away from a situation that was uncomfortable. Proud of my child? You bet!!
It wasn't until the next day at his doctors appointment that the Boy chose to talk about the situation. He told his doctor & I, "That lady was mean, but I didn't have to be around her, so I left."
Then the Boy added, "she was kind of weird, & not in a funny way; I just hope she brushed her teeth when she got home, because her breath was hot & stinky."