X-man's been having moderate, sudden freak outs lately. Monday, it was over a misplaced Pokemon card that he had to have on the ride to school or the world would end.
Then at library time, his librarian showed the class Charlie and Lola. It's a video we own and that X-man has seen since he was 1. There's an episode where Lola and her friend, Lotta, agree to care for Sizzles the dog. And, of course, they break the owner's one rule about not letting the dog off the leash. As it turns out there are two dachshunds who are identical at the park, which poses a problem. When it got to the part where Lola let the dog off the leash and it got lost and then they couldn't tell it apart from one another, "X-man covered his years and started saying, 'No, No, No!" really loudly. The librarian had to come over and reassure him that it's not scary. Except that it was -- to him. Even though he'd seen it a million times. Even though we had the freaking book.
Today, it was over going to Lego Club. We specifically made a play date with a friend to come over. We pick him up after school. Then the boys have snack and do their homework. Then they play for 25 minutes and then we leave.
I give the heads up at five minutes and then at two minutes. And then I expect them to get their shoes on to go. Yeah -- no.
X-man flipped his lid. "I'm locking the door and not coming down!"
I get it. You're suddenly having a good time in your room with your friend. Fine. BUT it's the last Lego club. Your friend's parents are picking him up there. And we gotta go.
The friend comes downstairs. "X-man got wild and hit me."
I go upstairs. "I was mad at you and I wanted him to keep playing."
So tonight I reinstated the system we used when he was 4a nd an emotional mess. He gets an idea of what the range is 1-5. It's something I learned at the autism resource room when I was a student. You assign different levels to emotional responses. In our case a 5 obviously being hitting people/animals, a 4 is hitting inanimate objects, a 3 is shouting a 2 is whining or using a tone and a 1 is describing how he's feeling in big boy words. Clearly, we want a 1.
We also talked about how much he's been interrupting lately. He got out of this when I started the count to five system. I'd hold out my hand with a one and then as slowly or as quickly as I want, I'd let fingers raise to show that I know he's waiting and that he, too, will have a turn.
It worked at 4. I'm hoping it works at 6.
Then tonight, we read a book on tattling, because it's a problem in X-man's classroom. It was a book by Julia Cook who does those toddler books on "Teeth are Not for Biting," etc. X-man got four pages into it and saw that the boy's tongue turned purple and yellow and grew longer from tattling and freaked out. We had to close the book, and I had to go through a 20 minute conversation about how that doesn't really happen. It's made up. X-man got some books, read in his bed for 5 minutes and then came in my room claiming he was scared of the tattle tongue. I had taken the book out and put it in the library return bag in my car during the 5 minutes. He came in a second time, and I got down to the meat in it.
"You're not really worried about some random monster with a tattle tongue. You're worried that YOU'LL get the tattle tongue because you tattle, right?"
Tears welled up in his little yes. "Yes!"
Really? So we went over fiction and non-fiction. And he was still scared. And well, I was tired. So I took him back to his room and tucked him in. I gave him his Richard Scarry book that he likes to search for Goldbug in and told him it would comfort him. He was asleep 10 minutes later.
I'm feeling terribly incompetent right now as a parent. I'm also exhausted. Why is looking after 13 children who are three years younger than he is easier than facing the fact that I've fucked up my own? Oh wait -- there you have it.