“What, Mom?”: my son’s automatic answer to almost everything I say or ask of him. Do you ever feel like you’re repeating yourself over and over again to your child? Or you have to go into incredible detail to help them accomplish an ordinary task? Every. Single. Moment. Of. Every. Single. Day. You know these cute kids on the spectrum have a sharp mind. But even routine tasks require specific, repeated instructions, and you can’t ask for more than one or two things at a time. The process is so slow and cumbersome you feel you might as well do it yourself. But you know you shouldn’t. They need to learn, after all.
My son is now 14. Sometimes it’s just a teenager thing that he doesn’t listen, the old “selective hearing,” you might say. My favorite is when other moms tell me that’s what every kid does. I’m polite, because they just don’t understand. This has been going on for years and years–his whole life.
Preschool: “Mommy, why, why, why, how come . . . ?” (constant why’s about the wind and anything of concern, even after sharing my most brilliant answers). Elementary school: “Hey, Mom, what did you want me to do after I shampoo my hair?” (as if the next routine step might be different from last night or the night before . . . ). Middle school: “Do I get paid for this? Now what was it again you wanted me to do?” (said with the chore chart nearby). He needs step-by-step instructions for tasks we’ve worked on for years. Why? Because each day is a new day. We’ve done picture charts, chore charts, lists–everything I can wrack my brains to think of! Still he relies on Mom or Dad to break tasks down for him or help him to break them down, especially if it’s a new or newish task or wasn’t his idea.
Not even once has he asked me how to program the tv or play his new video games. At age 2, he recorded hours of Infomercials before we discovered his inherent skill with the remote. He’s also been known to help older cousins learn new video games that he himself has never played . . . until that very second.
Actually, I’m proud of his bright mind, and I have to remember that as I tell him, yet again, that the thing he is looking for is in the pantry (pause), middle shelf (pause), on the left (pause), and in the yellow box (pause–hooray!). Sigh! I know parents everywhere can relate. I’m convinced we deserve special recognition in heaven for our efforts. When the time comes, I’ll be quite happy to accept the award. 🙂
If you find yourself wanting to bang your head against the wall, like I often do (but resist the urge to do serious damage to myself or the wall), here’s a little something I made just for you:
What do you do when your child repeatedly asks you the same stuff?
How do you help them without making them feel inferior?