It's been a much better week. In an attempt to break the cycle of negativity and complaining about school, I offered Aquaman a prize for not complaining about it for a week. We talked about Philippians 2:14 "
Our code for when he started complaining was: "shine like a star!"
He was happy and agreeable about this plan on a Sunday but Monday morning was a different story...
He loved that. Since then, every time he complains I listen and validate his complaint and then remind him how many more complaints he has left. I've given him 10 per day so far (which is a far cry from the hundreds I was hearing...), and he rarely gets past 5. He likes to leave himself a lot of wiggle room for an emergency I think. Haha. So mornings are tons better. I also stopped letting him have breakfast until he was dressed, including socks. I'm mean.
For another thing, I started telling him he only had to do 20 minutes of consistent working each night, and it didn't matter how much he got done as long as he was consistently working. We broke it up into 2 10 minute sessions, and he asked me to "help him stay on task" the whole 10 minutes. I tried to do 30 minutes the first night, but that crossed the drama barrier and he lost it. So 20 minutes seemed to be the magic number.
And he finished his homework this week. And it actually looks pretty good.
The only problem that has remained consistently is his freak outs after school (or after I pick him up after work). Usually before we can get out of the school parking lot he has become very aggressive with The Dude, He pretty much ends up screaming and crying and pounding on things in his room for about 15 minutes before finally emerging, worn out and calmed down.
He's just so sensitive, and so intense, and he has so much energy, and that's a lot to contain all day.
I often think that someday when we get to heaven, we will be surprised at the people who are honored for overcoming, because we have no idea the battles that are waged within themselves. Even though Aquaman often looks as if he has no self control whatsoever, he obviously has an uncanny ability to hold it together just long enough in school or at his grandparents to where he doesn't cause any major trouble. I mean, sometimes, watching him explode around the house with his force of emotion I am in awe of this. At school I know he can get a little grabby with other kids, and is often too emotional socially, but he doesn't get into trouble. And even though sometimes I wish he would show some of his stress at school so his teacher could understand, I am also very glad that he is not a behavior problem there.
He again didn't have much hope or help for how to handle the school. He explained that the teachers and administrators who care have no power. Which, working for the government myself I understand to some extent. But I also know from working in the government that on the front lines you do still have a little power, if you care enough. And I can see that Aquaman's teacher and even the principal do care, even if they doesn't fully understand Aquaman, And even if the teacher's personality is such that we are mostly just going to have to get through this year and hope for a more laid back and warm teacher to encourage him next year.
But at the same time, Aquaman does live in this world, in today. And it almost seems cruel not to give him a chance at fitting in more comfortably in his environment. As much as I think I would really love to home school, to drag him around to co ops and sports and to let him learn the way he learns best, that is not an option for us right now, and so he will have to find a way to adapt to the ways of our education system, even if flawed in its approach to dealing with boys like him.
JT tried medications briefly when he was a child and hated that they made him feel like he was not himself.
But what's funny is, the psychologist also advised us at the first meeting that we should try melatonin to help Aquaman get sleep to help control his anxiety. He has been out by 8:15 which is an hour earlier than he used to fall asleep, and when we read our book at night he lies peacefully in his bed instead of doing handstands. For whatever reason, that makes me feel guilty. But he is the one who asks for it every night, He says he loves not having to lay in bed thinking all night.
I feel sort of inadequate in this regard though because science is not my best subject. For a month in a row he brought home a book from the school library about technical science projects. He refused to turn it in, saying he wanted me to help him "build a printer". Ummm...I looked at it to see if it was in any way possible for me to help him do this and concluded no it was not.
But he is fascinated with electronics, so I think I am going to buy snap circuits and see if I am smart enough to help him with that. Stinks when your kid is smarter than you are. On a lot of levels. Half of parenting is outsmarting your kid and I am having trouble doing that lately.
I want it to be twins so much. I mean, one would be awesome. But my twin sister having twins. Wow.
I want to see them running across the beach like this in a few years.
Yesterday, he drew a scribbly picture in blue crayon and then brought it to me saying "Daddy, pool." He was drawing a picture!
He makes me smile so much. He is running around the house chasing a little bouncy ball right now. His feet slapping on the floor.
He will probably love school someday.
But really, he is starting to grow into his emotions. His tantrums are becoming less violent and there is the actual occasion when he can be reasoned with without flying off the deep end.
He is such a lover too. Almost every day, he spontaneously bursts forth with: "I love you more than candy!" or "You are the BEST mommy ever!"
The other day when I lashed out at him for kicking me in the stomach accidentally, and then immediately felt bad and hugged him, he said through his tears: "love your enemies, mommy!"
He lays in bed (or stands on his head) listening to the stories that I am reading to Aquaman that seem to be way over his head, and asks legitimate questions. Sometimes. Other times he starts asking questions about tornadoes. There are no tornadoes in our books.
I love these boys so much.
Plus, I mean, he's in the first grade and he's doing awesome, and he did a great job shining like a star this week.