Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bedtime Blues -Morning Fuse

      Living life with my children is never boring.  I mean it may not be what I feel like doing all of the time, but at the very least, each day brings a new challenge, a life lesson to be learned, or an exercise in humor.  The past several school days, Kendal has been pushing the limits on just how late he can be without completely missing the bus.  It's an uphill battle to get him out of bed. I've gone the nice Mom rout of bating him with a hot breakfast.  I've tried the mean mom route of waking him with cold water sprinkled every so gently on his face.  I've gone somewhere in-between having the dog to kiss him awake. 

     He is 14 but I swear in some ways, taking care of him is harder than the 10 year old.  His behavior is often mirrors the behavior of a toddler.  I mean I have to damn near walk him through every step of getting ready daily.  If I don't pay attention, he'll go climb back in bed instead of getting dressed and brushing his teeth after breakfast.  I swear he does it just to get my blood flowing! He wants me to blow a fuse, a gasket, something! He loves to see me react...or rather overreact.  At least it's attention right? 
     There is also the "it's time for bed routine" that we have to go through every night.  Bedtime never changes on school nights, yet he acts like he's totally surprised and generally pissed off that we have the audacity to tell him it's time for bed.  "I don't see the point in going to bed at 10 o'clock! I'll be fine in the morning.  Why can't you just let me go to bed at midnight?" Now he knows damn well this is not going to happen, but we have to hear the nonsense every night.  
     Don't let him be seriously into something on his computer.  Then it's World War III when we tell him to shut it down.  Now all of the Asperger's books and his therapist says, "Give him a warning thirty minutes before bed that he will have to finish up what he's doing."  It doesn't matter.  We still have to go through the screaming tantrums at 10 o'clock.  
     So I'm tired of it! I tell him he's going to loose 15 minutes of time every time I have to repeat myself when telling him to get ready in the morning, or to go to bed at night.  I give him plenty of warning, but he will still start a project at 9:30, and then tell me, "I can't save right now."  He acts totally pissed when we tell him time is up.  The result --he ends up loosing an hour of time the following day.  When we follow through on this...there is of course a battle.  He's bigger than me and outweighs me by oh 60 pounds or so.  Therefore, I have to send in the reinforcement troops (Big Bad Dad).  He goes through his motions as usual, yelling, screaming, "It's not FAIR! I don't want to go to bed!"  He says everything he can short of cursing us out, which his dad says he can't wait for him to actually do it so he can show him exactly who the alpha male is in our house!

     I am pleased to report however, the next day, he got his ass up and out of the house on time, without incident and has continued to do so for the rest of  the week.  He has also gone to bed on time, still grumbling, but doing it nonetheless.
     Positive reinforcement is all well and good, but sometimes when dealing with the negative, you have to resort to the negative.  Remember in school, a negative plus a negative equals a positive?
     I must say, that as a reward for being ready for school on time, I have allowed him to check his YouTube account in the morning once he is fully dressed and ready to walk out the door.  This is positive reinforcement or bribery (you choose).  Now I can look forward to the next battle --not wanting to get off of the computer when the bus arrives. 
   Life is grand at the Weaver House!  

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