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I’m at a crossroads, of sorts, in regards to my son, Alex, and his behaviour. Keeping in mind that it’s 5:46am and I’ve had two hours of sleep all night, I’m writing this here as both a way to get it in black and white so I can see the problem from a different perspective, and to put the conundrum out there in hopes that someone else has gone through something similar. My hopes aren’t too high.
First, the history: To say that Alex has a hard time making decisions is a gross understatement. When trying to choose, for instance, between staying home to play a game or come with me to the grocery store, he’ll change his mind at least a dozen times. He’ll get dressed and then completely undressed; he’ll whine, cry, scratch his head a lot – it’s utter torture. I have, however, reduced it from a half hour ordeal to, “I’m leaving, if you want to come with me, be ready before I walk out the door.” As a result the process now only takes five minutes.
He also suffers with the occasional insomnia, and for the past week he’s been combining the lack of decision-making skills with lack of sleep. The fact that there are two single beds in his room has never been a problem before. When my mother comes to visit on the weekends, she sleeps in his room and he’s quite happy with that deal. Only for a week now he can’t decide which bed he wants to sleep in. At approximately 2:30 every morning since before New Year’s Eve, he’s been doing the whining, crying, head-scratching routine. It’s torture for both of us, and it goes on for a couple of hours each night. I tried hanging a calendar in his room and striking up a deal with him that he sleeps one month in one bed and the next in the other. That worked for one night – coincidentally it was the same night he didn’t have a choice because Nanny was in the other bed.
So. I’m faced with a dilemma. Do I go to all the trouble of taking the extra bed out of his room?
On the surface it seems to be the logical thing to do.
Except: there is still the communication barrier thing going on. Not being completely fluent in my own son’s language – American Sign Language – I never really completely know if he understands the consequences of his actions before they happen. It’s always that one word I’m missing: “If you don’t get ready now, I’m leaving without you.” I will temporarily lose from my addled brain the sign for ‘without.’ Or, “If you don’t stay in one bed all night, I’m going to move the other bed out.” Is he getting that I’m going to move the bed? Or does he think I’m going to let him sleep in another room? Even if I turn the sentence around and keep it positive, I have the same problem. Aside from sleeping in his room, which is exactly what he wants me to do and will ensure that I’ll never sleep in my own bed again, I can’t keep him in bed at night. In the past I’ve been able to demonstrate what I mean. Like during the period when he decided to turn the television on in his room at 2am. I tried to explain to him that if he didn’t leave it off I’d take it out of the room, and when that didn’t work, I took it out of the room. He got it after that. Moving a bed, box spring and mattress down four flights of stairs is a rather more difficult undertaking.
So, my next thought was, tip the bed on its side and leave it where it is. Only that would be an all new brand of hell for my little darling and his OCD.
I know I need to ask his school for help. At this point his teacher is already practically living my life for me in regards to making sure he does as he’s told at home. They, unlike me, know how to explain things to him in no uncertain terms. It’s easy to see how vacations from school become nightmares at home.
Before you ask, there is no support for hearing parents to learn sign language for their Deaf children in the area.
Oh, and I just found out there’s no school today because of flash freezing. Oh joy.
Any suggestions, hugs, or paid-in-full Caribbean vacations can be left in the comment box and will be gratefully received.
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