Goosing is prohibited.

by statia on October 21, 2010

I got to talk to one of my friends in the bay area yesterday.   Close friends, who I miss dearly.   Their kids are also somewhere on the spectrum (seriously, what did I say about normal not existing?  Atypical is the new cool.  I’m telling you).

Her daughter has some language processing issues,  and given that my friends here all have typical kids, it’s nice to bounce questions off of someone else.  Someone who understands.  I hear a lot of similarities between her daughter and the Mini, and I think, well, that sucks that another kid has to go through that, but “dude, you get it.  You so get it.”    It’s also nice to know what to possibly expect up ahead.  Driving around in the fog is frustrating.

Apropos of our conversation last night, I was telling her about our horrible experience earlier in the evening with the game duck duck goose.   A harmless, fun childhood game, right?    Not so much for the Mini.   Last night, a large group of our regular playdate kids, most of who he has known as far as he can remember, sat down to play duck duck goose.   I tried to coax him into playing.  ”Come on, it’ll be fun.  You get to chase people, baby, you LOVE to play chase.”    All he wanted to do was go off in a corner and roll a car back and forth in front of his face.   So I picked him up and brought him over and sat him on my lap and told him he had to play.   He thrashed and kicked, and threw a screaming fit on the floor, and while I tried to be calm and collected,  I made him sit and watch, when he refused to play.  His option was sit and watch, or go home.

I forced my kid to play a fucking game.   I feel like mother of the year.

Now, in general, I never force him to play with other kids.  I try to direct him, but I’m pretty lenient with him overall.  Letting him off the hook in regards to participation in groups.   Letting him “socialize” when he’s feeling up to it.   It’s rare when he does.   And when he does, his imaginative play is limited.    It upsets me to watch, but I’ve learned to accept it, and hope that as he matures, he’ll learn.  I can only hope.

But last night, something hit me.  I wanted to be the mean Mama, and force him out of his comfort zone.  A more unfamiliar house with seven other children running around, and being loud, it was completely the wrong time.   But dammit, I was going to make him play this stupid game.   Disaster be damned.

On the way home, I asked him why he didn’t want to play.  He told me he was sad.  I asked him what made him sad.  The only answer I could get, was duck duck goose made him sad.  That’s as far as it went.   I asked him if he would try playing the game with just us, at home, and he said, yes, but at that point, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t listening.

The Mini is getting an aide at school, which is a good thing.   I don’t know how much his teacher pushes him to step out of his comfort zone, and truthfully, with 12 kids in the class, it’s not her main priority.  She does what she can, but she’s limited in her time and resources to be able to help him in the way she needs.   The Mini likes to fall through the cracks when he can, in order to avoid doing what is expected of him at times.  He needs someone to push him harder.   I know I need to push him harder.

But I feel like I don’t know how far is too far.  Was making him play a game (a failed attempt) pushing him too hard?  What should I expect from him at three and a half.  What should I expect from him in regards to his learning differences?    I don’t want him to grow up feeling as I did.  Like my parents were constantly up my ass, and yet, still always disappointed in me.

This isn’t in the manual.


jesser October 21, 2010 at 10:01 am

There are sooo many things like this that I feel unsure of. We’re going through a some stuff with Tabby right now. My formerly easy-going little girl has turned crazy and is being super super defiant, screaming at us whenever we tell her no, etc. And my point is, I don’t know if I should push back until she shapes up or if I should ease off a little and give her some more space so she can figure out what’s the right way to behave. Because believe me, we’ve been pushing and it doesn’t seem to have helped. Paging Dr. Spock …

Big Daddy October 21, 2010 at 6:03 pm

There is no manual. Man, we’ve been flying this “raising a special needs kid” plane by the seat of our pants for 13 years. He’s healthy, happy, and not in jail. So I guess we’ve done okay. We could’ve used a few more chapters by Dr. Spock because I don’t think he had one on what to do when your son laughs maniacally for twelve straight hours every day. Even some words of advice from Mr. Spock would have been welcome.

Veronica October 21, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Nope, it’s not in the manual. But you know, it WILL be okay. It will be, eventually. My mother told me that watching my kids, especially Amy, she’s pretty certain that I have aspergers. And you know what? I agree. I was weird as a kid, I’m weird and solitary now. But it’s an okay thing once you’re an adult, because weird is more normal.

I found kids games tough, because they were unpredictable.You didn’t know who was going to be picked, if you had to run, if you could chase them fast enough to catch them. Easier not to play.

Siera October 21, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Gah that’s a hard one. When I take my son to Strong Start and every kid is sitting on the carpet for story time and my son is the only child off playing with something else it takes every ounce of my will power to not force him to sit there. I don’t have a 3.5-year-old to compare him too. I don’t know if a 3.5-year-old is ready to play it or not. I can see my son off playing in the corner with his cars… But he does have a few little buddies he sees regularily that he interacts with more than other kids.

Betsy October 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm

OK, my kid is not on the spectrum, but he is shy. Like, super freaking paralyzed by fear shy. And I make him go through activities that other kids do. Because it’s the only way to get him past his fear.

I like to think that I’m giving him the tools that he’ll need to do these things on his own later. Since I was a shy kid like that and didn’t get those tools until I was an adult, I had an awful childhood full of teasing and misery. I won’t let that happen to him if I can help it.

So I get you bringing him to play the game. I’ve been there. I did it today at gymnastics. I’ll do it at the next playgroup, and the next one. I do see progress, though, with this technique, which is why I’m keeping it up.

Good luck to you!

Katie October 25, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I’m unsure if this helps, but I was a ‘special’ needs kid through how most of my school life. I had the special ed teachers and a mix of regular classes.

I was horribly shy.

My mom pushed me… and I believe if she didn’t push me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Even if my life is shit right now, I’m not in some hospital bed… I live in a semi-normal life. Because I’m hard of hearing, she does all my “business calls”, though I do live alone. We have a system of txting every day to make sure we are BOTH good and well. Especially, now days when a divorce is pending with the parents after 39 years. UGH.

But anyhow, my opinion on this… being I was one of those kids. Do what you feel is right. Only you need how far to push and when not to push. Don’t let him slide in the cracks.

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