The Relaxing Happier-Preston Days of Summer

One week down and I am amazed at how different Preston is. When he gets all worked up doing homework and starts to cry and moan about how stressed he is I have a difficult time swallowing it. No one likes homework but it isn't that stressful - especially not in third grade. Not to mention the fact that this kid has a major tendency for dramatic over interpretetation (he woke up with a slightly stuffy nose yesterday and through weeping and wailing he cried out, "I'm dying! I'm not going to live! I can't breathe! I'll never breathe again!" Although my favorite is when he fell at school and had to get stitches and called my Mom and told her he was going to lose his leg and have to have it replaced with it a robot leg. Oh, and the time he slipped on wet cement at a friend's pool and said first that he was going to die, then that he was paralyzed - but still wanted to swim. He got in the water and put his face down and floated like he was dead for a good 30 seconds. Yes, VERY dramatic).

However, in talking with his psychologist who validates his stress completely and for me in seeing how much lighter this kid is without schoolwork or homework, I'm starting to think that homework really might be a super stressor for him. And the fact that his brain doesn't grasp onto most concepts the ways others would - the invisible disability. I would say the stress that comes from daily interactions with kids and having to sit through a day of teacher-lecturing and work - I can see why he comes home at the end of his rope. And then I get at the end of mine trying to get him to do his work. I'll have to put some thought into how to ease that baby; I'll worry about that tomorrow. Or in a month. Needless to say, Preston has been almost a normal nine-year-old this last week. Compliant, pleasant, communicative, even polite. It amazes me! And this year it is exciting to say that he is like this with no meds! WOW. It's an eye-opener to see how much this kid flourishes when stressful demands are low. This is good information to take into the next IEP meeting.

I've stuck to my own advice and written out his daily schedule that includes chores and mind time and love and logic them simply with 'you are welcome to play with friends as soon as your chores are done.' I also put on his chart that in the morning he has to 1. Make his bed 2. Get dressed 3. Brush his teeth, which I simply refer to now as the '1,2, 3's.' It is sticking with him and he is following through. Friend-time has also been a great motivator which makes me seem less mean and I don't have to be on his case incessantly to get him to act. He did get frustrated the other day but worked through it with surprising speed; one minute he was saying he wasn't in the mood to mop and angry that he couldn't be with friends and literally one minute later he decided he was ready to mop. Here's to schedules, love and logic, 1-2-3 Magic and some free time!


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