Let’s not call it a setback, shall we???

“I believe the appropriate metaphor here involves a river of excrement and a Native American water vessel without any means of propulsion.”

Sheldon L. Cooper, Ph.D.

Let me start by stating that J is being a butthead about his hats at school, but that this is not entirely his fault.  Sure, he has run with it, but it all boils down to a failure in communication on the part of the grown-ups.  It seems that J’s school failed to inform the summer program that J does not wear his hats while in school, and I didn’t know that this was the case until a proactive bus driver who happened to run into J at summer school noticed that he was walking around wearing both hats…

Of course, this has unleashed a minor storm regarding people overstepping their bounds and people being defensive and territorial.  My take is that we really need to all stay on the same page or J will run roughshod over all of us.  As J’s mother, I want him to consistently follow rules and meet certain expectations so I am partially miffed that no one mentioned the hat situation to the summer program staff, and partially miffed at myself for not having the presence of mind to mention it when school started.

We’ve had two tantrums.  Yesterday’s was brief and, I believe, acquiescence on the teacher’s part was key in resolving it.  Today we are sporting a nice bump and bruise and a scratch, and the note was not quite what I wanted to read at the end of the school day.  J was aware that he had done something wrong (which supports the notion that he acted like a butthead and had no real justification other than a deep-seated desire to assert his will) and has been very apologetic all afternoon.  Apologies, however, will NOT fix the problem we’re facing.  The goal has all along been that the hats eventually go the way of the dodo bird, and the boxing gloves, and dropping the ball on that due to a lack of communication is counterproductive at best.

When J got home yesterday, I explained to him that hats were not to be worn at school.  I wrote a note to the teacher and asked her to call me if he didn’t behave.  I got a note.  J had another meltdown in spite of my warnings…

Out comes the egg timer, my friends.  We have spent a considerable amount of time without the hats on since he came home, and I sat him down again to make things crystal clear.  First, though, I took him to the bathroom mirror and showed him the bump and scratch he made on his forehead.  This he didn’t want to see, so I sternly informed him that if he has enough balls to bash his forehead with his fist, he also has to have enough balls to see what results he has achieved.  Contriteness soon followed, peppered here and there by rather vigorous attempts at THANK YOU that nearly drove me insane.  I was not buying it, and he knew it…

J is nothing if he isn’t smart.  He also is nothing if he isn’t stubborn, but this time he is well aware that I am not pleased and that I won’t back down from my stance.  He tried all sorts of things to get me to be my usual goofy-mom self, and all he got was NO.  I explained several times that the hats were not to be worn in school, but that the biggest problem I was having was with the rude tantrums.  I planted the egg timer firmly on the counter and, even before I turned the knob, J was removing his hats, handing then over and saying THANK YOU.

Eager to please, J cleaned my bathroom, vacuumed the third floor, helped gather the trash and started a load of laundry.  Then we sat with old Better Homes and Gardens magazines and worked on pointing out those things for which we know words and signs.  He’s getting really good at it, and he’s realizing that all these pictures represent the same words as his flash cards, but that there are so many more versions of what they look like!

It is now 8 P.M. and peace has been re-established.  We are fine, J and I, but he knows tomorrow I expect those hats to come off when it’s time to work.  I’ve told him so, and he’s handed them over when I’ve asked for them.  The white flag of surrender isn’t flying, but we’ve reached a point where, yes, we got him ice cream from the ice cream truck.  And he said THANK YOU, and he was pleasantly surprised…

And tomorrow we’ll start again because this is NOT about his med, this is about teenagers thinking they’re right and thinking the world has wronged them, and that’s all well and good, but the hats are put aside at school…

I think we’ve managed to somehow plot a course away from the river of excrement, but I’m not going to be complacent about this.  J is, after all, his mother’s son and that stubbornness and willfulness came from somewhere.

That’s the way we roll…

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