Pick Your Battles

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I am going to try to stay focused on picking battles regarding special needs kids. Mine in particular. I have to really know when to address something and when to let something slide. Also, at what severity will I give it my attention. On top of this, I need to control my own impulsivity and anxiety so I don’t yell or get angry and out of control. What does that teach her?

This is what happened this morning.

Abigail was in a great mood. It is FRIDAY! Friday is usually something fun at school, especially since she is on Level 4. That is the highest level she can get and she gets access to anything and everything she wants as long as her work is done. She can do recess, play on the tablet, play video games, color, etc. She even can have a special lunch and treats. The bus pulled up outside, 15 minutes late, like usual and she rushed out the door with all her things: backpack, cell phone, charger, iPod shuffle and something she hasn’t taken with her before.

A Rubik’s cube.

She had been playing with the Rubik’s cube all morning. She was hyper focused on it and didn’t even want breakfast. She said she wasn’t hungry and she would just eat at school. She took her pills and ate her vitamin and then went back to fiddling with the Rubik’s cube. She got the white side almost complete when the bus pulled up. I told her she should enjoy that Rubik’s cube on the way to school since it is over an hour of just sitting there. She was super excited and ran down the stairs to the bus.

I was finishing getting ready for work but I noticed I could still hear the bus engine idling outside. I knew what was happening. The stickler of a bus driver was telling her she cannot have her “toy” on the bus. Wait for it. Wait for it. Aaaaand my cell phone rings.

“Hello?” I said annoyed already.

“Hi, this is Abigail’s bus aide. Abigail won’t put her toy away and we feel this is going to escalate. Can you come get her?”

Ugh.

I head downstairs and there is Abigail sitting in the front seat across from that bus driver so she can watch her like a hawk. She is just sitting there quietly with her head down focusing on accomplishing that Rubik’s cube. I tell Abigail to put it in her backpack so she can get to school. She ignores me.

“She can play on her phone but she cannot play with a toy,” barks the bus driver.

“Why can’t she just fidget with the cube? Its the same size as the phone. She won’t lose it.”

“She has thrown things before.” What a stupid excuse.

#1 no one has told me how she has thrown things on the bus before.

#2 if she wanted to throw something I am sure she can always unzip her bag and find plenty of things to throw.

#3 quit singling out my kid and nit picking crap!! So annoying. Ugh….anyway….

Although I didn’t agree with this dumb rule, I tried to show I was on the same page and you won’t always like rules, but you have to follow them so “put the cube away now or you’re not gonna like it.”

And she continues to act like I am not even there. I gather her things and put them outside on the sidewalk. I got back on the bus and the two bus aides are just sitting quietly towards the back of the bus and the bus driver is calling transportation dispatch to let them know she is running behind schedule. I grab Abigail’s hand to get her to stand up. She decides to stand on top of the seat and hang her leg over the seat and grab onto anything she can. I pry her fingers off just for her to attach to the next thing. It was like trying to put a cat into a shower. She was resisting and she is very strong, always has been.

“You aren’t as strong as me, Abigail!”

But close. It took about two minutes to get her off the bus. She was attaching to everything and we weren’t moving that fast down the bus steps and I get her outside and the bus speeds off. I tell Abigail that she is going to miss out on Fun Friday at school.

“It’s not Fun Friday. We are only doing IEP testing.”

“Well, you are going to miss that then.”

“I don’t care, it isn’t fun anyway.”

Oh yeah, that’s right. Life has to be fun all the time.

We go back upstairs and I lay down the law.

“You will do nothing today but read, catch up on your homework and clean your room.”

I disconnected the Wi-Fi, put all the remote controls, laptop, tablets up high so she couldn’t find them. No TV, no electronics, nothing. This is her punishment because this is what works for her.

She wasn’t fighting it. She wasn’t doing her typical meltdown that involves things like “I hate you!” and “You’re the worst mom ever!” which then turns into “I am the worst kid ever.” and “I hate myself.” The emotional rollercoaster that is Abigail. At least she doesn’t say the really horrible things she used to say about a year or so ago. Her impulse control has gotten a bit better. Yay for small victories.

I got ready for work. Her cell phone is working so she can call or text me, but no YouTube, Netflix, or anything like that.

Also, not to mention, a damn Rubik’s cube should be allowed. In my opinion, it is a perfect thing for a kid with ADHD to play with. They love to fidget, focus on something that appeals to them. This probably would have kept her happy and quiet the entire bus ride that is over an hour! How do you expect a kid with these types of disabilities to sit still and quiet for over an hour?! The bus driver obviously doesn’t understand and probably never will. She is very controlling.

Some people are extremely judgmental and have no understanding of my type of parenting. It is always evolving based on what works and what doesn’t work. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it works for a few hours, days or weeks, then it doesn’t work anymore. I have to pick my battles. Some people see that as me being a lazy parent. Letting Abigail control the situation. Some people think that I have given up. Some people say to just spank her and use fear to control her. I just ignore those people.

I am me and she is Abigail and we are our own dynamic.

 

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