Hating Homework

Homework is an issue.

In the past, The Boy has put up quite a fuss about doing homework, but would usually end up doing it grudgingly. I sometimes made executive decisions about how much we would do, and whether or not we would do it, based on how meaningful I thought it would be.  Luckily, teachers over the past couple of years have been fairly understanding.

by .pstThis week marks our third week in school, and we have had very little to do, thankfully.  But on Thursday last week, The Boy dug his heels in and simply refused to write a paragraph for social studies, due the next day. I took away a privilege and wrote an email to his TA and his social studies teacher to give them a heads up.

The next day, we negotiated. We talked about promises, and what it means to give someone your word.  He then promised he would do his paragraph 5 minutes after dinner on Monday. We reminded him all weekend about his promise, and he seemed to understand and expect what we had talked about would happen.

Then Monday came.

After dinner, I brought my computer to his room, and the complaining began (“I wasted my time!” is a common refrain). I wheedled and cajoled, reminded him of just how serious it was to give someone your word and go back on it. I asked him how he felt when someone broke a promise to him.

Nothing.

I failed.

I told him I was not going to argue with him about homework all night, but that he had broken a promise, and warned him that the next time he needed me to trust him, I probably wouldn’t because he broke his word.  And I sent another email to the school.

This is a common issue in autism households.  However, I don’t think I will be able to persuade an IEP team to eliminate homework entirely. Which means I have another nine months of this to look forward to.

Tomorrow’s another day.

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The Boy is Back

The Boy, still sleeping, catching up from Spring Break at his dad's

The Boy, still sleeping, catching up from Spring Break at his dad’s

The Boy is back and seemingly had a good time.  And I am glad.  I’m glad there were no emergency phone calls asking me what to do because he is having a meltdown.  I’m glad it sounds like they actually spent time together, which hasn’t been the case in the past.  And it’s early days yet, but I’m glad that The Boy seems to be happy to be home, with no lingering ill-effects like cat scratches covering his hands, or a fear of the bathtub.

I am happy to have him back, and I am happy he had a good time.

That does not mean that I trust things with his dad have changed.  While setting up this trip, his dad talked about taking him to Disney in May, because he knows someone who works at Discovery Cove and could get “us” into all the parks for free – you see, he wanted The Man and I to share in this adventure, most likely because he wanted us to drive The Boy down to Orlando to meet him.  I asked him not to mention this idea to The Boy, and told him May wouldn’t work, as The Boy is still in school at that time.  When we met for drop-off, the ex explained that it would have to be postponed, and that the cost of Discovery Cove would be $150 each for he and The Boy, and if The Man and I wanted to go it would cost us $400 a piece, so maybe we wouldn’t want to do that.

So says the ex, who is almost $800 behind in child support.

So you see, I am happy this trip was able to happen.  I am happy The Boy seemed to have a good time.  But not for one second do I think things have really changed.  Not for one second do I believe the ex is done hurting The Boy, albeit unintentionally.  Plans will continue to be cancelled, phone calls left unmade, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…  Maybe it’s pessimistic, and distrustful, but it’s also evidence-based, and I am too protective a mom to think otherwise.

Is it Time to Call a Spade a Spade?

I described the ex’s latest cancellation the other day, and The Boy’s reaction.  I am always the one who has to relay the news to The Boy, and I am the one left to field questions to which I have no answers.  I am the one to deal with the acting out that quite often happens after one of these cancellations.

The ex will never change, but does that mean I shouldn’t try to show him what he’s missing, and what he is doing to our son?

English: : A mirror, reflecting a vase. Españo...

Time to hold up a mirror so he can self-reflect?…

I’m thinking of sending him a text (he doesn’t even access his email, and I don’t want to get into it with him on the phone) to point out that he hasn’t seen his son in eight months, and to ask him to imagine not having his own dad around for that long a time period.  Explain that I understand money is tight, and that he has a hard time taking work off, but that if he saved a bit out of every paycheck, and told his boss months in advance (instead of days), he might be able to swing it.  Ask him to stop “trying” to make plans and only tell The Boy he will see him when he is sure he can.  Point out that his son is sad and angry at him, and that he deals with this by acting out, often at school.

He will undoubtedly get angry and not speak to The Boy for months after I send it, because that is his MO.  But I feel I have the right to ask someone who continually hurts my son to take a moment to realize he is doing it, and to please stop.

I know he won’t change, but there’s a chance he has simply not given a thought to the effect of his absence and broken promises on his son.  And if there’s a chance, it’s worth trying, right?

This Close

Icon-type silhouette of an airplane. (Mainly t...I am THIS CLOSE to telling the ex to stop even trying to bother.  Over the past couple of months, he has cancelled his August visitation (which has happened three out of the past four years, probably even longer), and then immediately promised The Boy he would see him for Thanksgiving.  His “plan” was to have his mom fly down, fly back with The Boy, and then he himself would fly down again with him to drop him off, and fly back.  He claimed his mom offered to pay for her tickets, and he (the ex) would pay for his own and for The Boy’s.  Did you count how many tickets that was?

I knew before the words were even out of his mouth that it wouldn’t happen, but per usual, just nodded my head, and said, “Sure.”  And The Boy has continued talking about seeing his dad’s kitties in November (the only part of his trips he is verbally concerned with).  And every time, I remind him that it might not happen, and I-don’t-want-you-to-get-too-disappointed-if-it-doesn’t-happen…  “I know, Mom,” he says.

And he does.

The text came tonight, saying he couldn’t afford the airfare, but that his girlfriend has a cousin in our state who will be alone for Thanksgiving, so they might…

JUST STOP.

That plan won’t happen either, because you will ask me to drive four hours, one way, to the middle of nowhere the night before Thanksgiving to make this work for you, and when I won’t, it will be my fault again that you will have missed another opportunity to spend time with your son.

I’m over it.

He’s over it.

It’s so much energy on everyone’s part, and the only thing created is headache and disappointment.  I am THIS CLOSE to asking him to quit trying.

The Ex and Empty Promises

Red phone

Red phone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The ex and I divorced 4 years ago, and in that time, The Boy has been on the receiving end of many empty and broken promises.  These range from “I’ll call you on Thursday,” (empty) to “I’m not going to be picking him up for his week with me,” (broken).  As you can imagine, this would devastate any kid, but to a kid with autism, who is reliant on schedules, timers, and routine, it can be catastrophic.

This was actually a common theme before the divorce, so I am used to it, but The Boy was 6 when we divorced, and has learned only by experiencing it so often over the past four years.  He still enjoys talking to his dad, and still enjoys visits to his dad’s when they occur, but the empty promises wreak much less havoc now.  There are still tears, and “Why isn’t he coming to pick me up?” but he now knows his dad has a tendency to break promises, and he’s starting to understand that it’s something we can’t do anything about.

The only thing I can do is to make sure I don’t break my promises to The Boy.  It’s very important to me that he knows he can rely on me, and he does because I’m consistent.  There are times I know he thinks I’m the meanest mom in the world, but he knows I love him, I will never leave him, and he can always count on me.