Please forgive me that this took so long to get out.  I’m so sorry.  It’s been insanity here recently and I was waiting for it to be checked for errors.

Conversation with M:

Me: *After being bossed around many times that day* Stop being bossy, please.  You’re being very bossy right now.
M: *Playing with Transformers, serious thinking face on*  I think the word you’re looking for is demanding.  I’m more demanding than bossy.
Me: Right, demanding, bossy, either one, just please stop.
M:  Yes, demanding is definitely the word you are looking for.  I’m definitely more demanding than bossy.

It’s so hard not to laugh when he does things like this.

I want to tell you all a story about our recent adventures to the store.  I use the word “adventures” and when you read about it, you will understand why.  But before I can do that I need to explain some background information.

One of the things that has been on M’s IEP (Individual Education Plan), since day one is transitions.  Transitions are hard for any child, but for kids on the spectrum, it’s a whole new ordeal.  And this is especially true when transitioning to a “non preferred task”.  In other words, when M has to do something he doesn’t like, it’s not easy. Especially when having to transition from doing something he does like to something he doesn’t. This is never an easy thing for him and even at home it’s a struggle, but at school it can be a nightmare. These transitions are a definite trigger for him acting out and sometimes, not very often anymore, can result in a full meltdown.

One of the things that M hates is homework.  And what’s strange is he hates homework of any kind.  Math is one of his favourite subjects in this world, but ask him to do it at home and it’s like you asked him to move the house 2 inches to the left.

I deal with homework several ways.  One is that I always sit with him and give him my full attention during that time.  I don’t do it for him, ever, but I am there to help and there to cheer him on.  I constantly tell him how impressed I am with what he’s doing and how clever he is and how proud I am.  Now, I know I can’t do this forever, but as he gets older, he won’t need it as much.  Right now he does and we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.  Sometimes it’s about getting through right now.  I also make sure I’m very interested in his homework and get him to tell me about it.  Sometimes I let him think he’s teaching me to do something new and sometimes he really is!  This is something that gives him pride and a lot of self worth and self esteem.  There is a beautiful quote by Alvin Price (I don’t know anything about him but this quote is amazing): “Parents need to fill a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can’t poke enough holes to drain it dry”

Another thing about homework is that it is always done right after school.  This is so that once it’s done, he can do what he likes.  I find that getting it out of the way right away is much better for M.  Some children, this would not work for, but for M, it does.  The only homework we don’t do right away is sometimes we will let weekend homework wait until later, but usually even then we do it right away and his “cuddle up and read time”.  Every night he is with me, we sit together and he reads to me for 20 minutes.  We set a timer and for that 20 minutes he reads.  I think this is a big part of why he reads so well.

My favourite thing to do with homework however, is to try to make it fun.  Sometimes you can’t do this, but when you can, it’s awesome.  So for example: the past few weeks M has come home and their homework was to practice their “mental math”.  Mental math is a big controversy with many parents, I think it’s amazing.  In his class they are working on adding together two digit numbers.  The way they do this is to take the larger number and add the tens to it first and then add the ones.

So for example 86+53.  Step 1: 86+50= 136 Step 2: 136+3= 139

This makes it easy for him to do it in his head.  I LOVE this method and wish they had taught it when I was a child, but some parents absolutely hate it.

Last weekend we were going for one of our walks to the store.  We do this at least once a week.  Now, for most people, this walk would take a total of about 15-20 minutes round trip.  For M and I, it’s anywhere from an hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours or more.  Partially because I am sore and therefore slow and partially because we always make a walk to the store an adventure.  I no sooner told him we were going when he said “Let’s play Transformers!”  Right away I starting trying to figure out a way to use our game of Transformers to do his mental math.

As soon as we got out the door he began planning our game, “You’re Optimus Prime (the leader) and I am Bumblebee (A scout).  And all the Deceptacons (the bad guys) have become Autobots (good guys) except for Megatron (leader of the bad guys).”  We decided that the store would be Megatron’s base and we had to break into it and blow it up.  We’ve played this exact game a million times.

When we reached the end of the driveway and had decided what the game would be I said “And, we can do mental math on the way.”  Right away M got upset.  He didn’t want to do mental math.  He was starting to get frustrated when I stopped him.  “Wait, you haven’t heard what I’m going to say yet!”  He continued to grumble but finally he decided he would hear me out.  I explained that along the way we were going to encounter many door and traps and at each one would be a math question.  If he got the question right the door would open or the trap would be disabled.  If he got it wrong, we couldn’t go forward.  So right away after that I got right back into character as Optimus Prime and right away we came to one of our invisible doors.  “Bumblebee, there is a question here we need to answer or we can’t get through.  Do you know the answer?  If not, we can’t go on!”  I gave him the question and after a few seconds of thinking he gave the correct answer.  “Hooray, the door has opened, let’s go!  Thank you Bumblebee, we would never have gotten through without you!  How did you do that!”

M’s stood up straight with a big smile on his face, “Oh, no problem Prime!  I just know this stuff, it’s EAAASSY!”

As we continued on there were more questions and more correct answers.  If he got it wrong I would just say “Try again Bumblebee, I know you can do it!” and he would.

Soon he was stopping us, “Uh oh, another trap.”  That’s when I knew he was having fun.  But it was getting hard to think up questions.  So I turned to the license plates on cars.  Whenever there was a driveway with two cars in it we would stop, take 2 digits from each plate and use that as the question.  This also gave him a visual which helped.  On the way home we took a different route so that we would have new license plates and therefore, new questions.  It took us a long time to get there and back but M had a blast and I could see his answers were coming easier and faster all the time.  Sometimes we would get a really easy question and he would laugh and was almost disappointed that it was too easy.  I was really proud of him.

This week we went to the store again.  M was very excited “Let’s play the same game!  We need a house with two cars.”  This time because we were going after school there were not nearly as many cars.  I was surprised at how upset M was at the lack of questions.  I knew he was getting really disappointed when he suggested,  “maybe we need to start adding cars that are across the road too!”  That’s when I suggested that we start adding up parts of the house numbers.  This cheered him right up and he stopped us whenever he felt the need for another question, which was quite often.  Seeing him really enjoy learning and wanting to learn, made me so happy.

Now, speaking of parenting, this week I want to end off with something special. One of my dear friends, Rob Watson, owner of the Page Evol = has started a new video series called “A Gay Day Coffee Chat”.  This link is to his very first video.  So please, if you have a few minutes watch and enjoy.  And if you have never read any of his blogs on Evol = I will put in a link to one of my favourite ones of all time about how he came to be Dad two his two beautiful sons Jason and Jesse.

Video:
http://thenextfamily.com/2014/12/gay-dad-interviews-editor-in-chief-of-the-next-family/

Blog:
http://evolequals.com/2013/02/12/in-our-gay-family-two-little-best-friends-became-brothers/

And finally I want to thank STOP-Homophobia for the shout outs and support they have given this blog.  Thank you Kevin O’Neil. ❤

Webpage:
http://www.stop-homophobia.com

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/ST0PH0M0PH0BIA

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/wipehomophobia

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