Monday, February 14, 2011

Another blog gems post..

Jen over at" Autism The king and Eye" has started another blog gems blog hop.  Click on the link to the right to take you there..This week the theme is "Love"..and as I love my kids..here is a story about one...




stim cycle

~"I've never let school interfere with my education"~ Mark Twain


The school called. Oscars' stimming is becoming a problem, a distraction...he can't focus, he is disrupting the class. He is laughing at inappropriate times. Oh..is that all? Phew! I was afraid that they were going to tell me that he quit, did not want to be there, had given up.  sigh.. I see so much of myself in Oscar...the humor-the irreverence... and although I appreciate all of it- I don't want him to follow in my footsteps-academically. You see,  When I was in school, I quit, gave up ,and most certainly did not want to be there. That's right, at the tender age of six,  I tried to be a first grade drop out.

After a blissful year of kindergarten where I played, danced and explored-first grade came as rather a shock . I just did not understand the orderliness of it all. Sitting still, keeping a neat desk, having to pay attention...SITTING STILL!
!  Where was the music?  Where were the finger paints? Why was this woman dressed like a penguin?!!


  I was in the first grade at Blessed Sacrament School, and I was miserable. Sister Margaret Mary, my teacher was a sweet little nun, yet she ruled with an iron crucifix. There would be order, there would be neatness! Day dreaming was not allowed. We were there to learn in a quiet and orderly fashion. Heaven help the child who resisted. It was her way or the "hellway". Did I mention that I was miserable? I was the ultimate day dreamer, the fidgety girl whose desk was always a mess, the questioner of all things questionable. I did not like being the focus of attention, but my behavior sadly,  caused me to be the focus of hers. It all came to a head very early in the year.


  It was the end of a beautiful fall day, and we were packing up to go home. In my joyful exuberance, I started whistling. An apparent major transgression in the classroom. (actually, it was more of a high pitched shrill sound as I was missing quite a few teeth) Sister Margaret Mary was horrified . "I DEMAND to know-who is Whistling?"she bellowed.  Sensing harsh punishment, and being the youngest of six kids, I knew to keep my mouth shut. The accusations flew!  I too even looked around shaking my head in apparent disgust. What better way to hide my "sin" then to join everyone on this witch...or should I say "whistle" hunt?" "He did it Sister!".."She did it Sister!" It would seem as though everyone was accused. Everyone... but me. (heehee) Nobody confessed to this heinous crime, this unrestrained whistling..so Sister Margaret Mary declared that if the guilty party did not CONFESS, they would "BURN in the FIRES of HELL for all ETERNITY because of their DECEPTION!" I was only six years old, and if I didn't confess I was going to hell? I had to save myself, so I did the only logical thing that I could think of. I Kept my mouth shut, went home and promptly declared myself an atheist. I also quit school. Not exactly the wisest of declarations to make in a house headed by DEVOUT Catholics-they simply could not accept my rebellion. Especially as I could not give an explanation-I was not taking the fall for whistling. And I was not it seemed, going to be able to drop out.

  I was thinking back on this time while I waited for Oscar to come home. We had to discuss his situation-but at the same time, I had to understand his reasoning..was he unhappy? Was he feeling restricted?  Did he too, wonder where the finger paints went? 

"Oscar, the school called. They said that you are shaking and eeeing and laughing a whole lot. Whats going on?"

"I'm shaking."

"Yes, I know. But you seem to be doing it more than usual. Is there a reason?"

"Shaking feels good"

"I agree, it does feel good...but, you are doing it a lot. Is something bothering you?"

"I'm shaking and shaking..eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!"

"I need you to focus here buddy...WHY are you shaking so much at school?"

"I shake because of tricky work."

"The work is hard?"

"Yes! Can you be done now?"

"For now, but we have to figure out how to make the work not so tricky, o.k.?...O.K.?...Oscar?"

"Yes!! Can I have a snack now?"

"Wait-one more question...You haven't by any chance been whistling have you?"

"Whistle? I don't know how...Why whistle Mama?"

"Never mind...go get your snack"


 Oscar, unlike his mother-loves being at school.  He likes the routine-he likes his friends..it's the work that he doesn't really care for.  I'm not quite sure how to fix that.  But, like everything else, we'll just have to take it a step at a time.  Help him to focus-without losing his humor. Maybe I should teach him how to whistle?  
  Later  that night, as I was going upstairs to say goodnight , Oscar started yelling  "help!  help!".  I ran into his room to see what was wrong.   He had taken his arm out of his pajama sleeve, and replaced it with a tiny stuffed animals arm . It was a little creepy looking and yet so very funny.  So very Oscar. Wonderful and stimulating. How I love that boy.

19 comments:

Life in the House That Asperger Built said...

I love him too! And YOU!!!! Oh, and hell is not for whistlers. :-)

Big Daddy Autism said...

I have had that exact conversation with Griffin. When I ask him why he giggles so often and so loudly he tells me it's because he is happy. Ugh! How can I tell him to stop doing something that makes him happy even if it is driving everyone around him nuts?

KWombles said...

:-) I wouldn't have fessed up either. My freshman year in college, I was bored in calculus and hummed under my breath, but not inaudibly. Hee. I refused to fess up that, too, when the instructor insisted on knowing who was doing it and that the person should stop.

Oscar is a grand boy. Did he ever learn to whistle?

D. S. Walker said...

Kathleen,
Oscar is coping and that is a good thing. I'm glad Oscar has you for a mom. You should tell him about your whistling story one day! :-) Happy Valentine's Day to you and your wonderful family!

Looking for Blue Sky said...

Wow you were a really resourceful 6 year old! Love that story...here my 9 yr old aspie has only started stimming in the last year (it's coughing right now) and he also doesn't like school work and especially not homework....

Anonymous said...

Great blog - loved the picture. I forgot how HAPPY you were on your first communion! :) Love, Ei

KWombles said...

I meant to say, you looked so delighted in that picture!

bbsmum said...

There's no whistling in heaven???

kathleen said...

@ life in the house-:) thanks. Right back at you.

@Big daddy-honestly? Stimming is important to him-and we allow it within reason.When it gets exceptionally loud..and is causing disruption for everyone..I tell him to either tone it down or stop. I look at it this way-there are things that I do that get on his nerves..when that happens he will say "You are annoying me now-could you please stop." I use the same language with him. I don't berate him for something he needs to do-but I do let him know in a respectful way that he needs to be aware of his surroundings-and the other people in them..and sometimes that means he needs to quiet down.

@Kwombles...heehee..yes, I was a smart girl! No-he still can't whistle...none of the kids can..I'm thinking that might be a good thing on so many levels. :) Yup-I was one pissed off girl in the photo-hee! Still can't make me do things I don't want to.

@DS Walker-Oscar slowly but surely is finding his way..and I will tell him the story...a long time from now..:)

@looking for blue sky-yeah...homework is a tough one for Oscar..luckily we have people at school willing to work with us on that. They give him very little-as it is just too much for him after a long day of holding it all together..

@anonymous-yup-the crappy dress made from scraps..no angel visions..no party..it was a crap day all around..I love that picture. :)

@bbsmum-apparently not..from what I have been told..there doesn't seem to be a whole lot "allowed" there..and there isn't a whole lot "allowed" here if you want to get there..I came to that conclusion at a very young age-as the photo indicates! ;0

@jencull (jen) said...

Well I love him too :D I can just picture the arm :)

And I completely get the being unhappy in school. When I was all of 4 and in school a few weeks I decided 'been there, done that' and picked up my case (yes, I had a red case lol) and started walking home. The teacher had to run down the road after me, I will spare you the details of the leathering I got!! She wasn't even a nun!

Angela said...

I could never whistle I would always try and learn and just spit everywhere! Attractive huh?

I use to always sit and kick my legs and end up kicking the person next to me out of boredom...it wasnt my fault my legs are to short and dont touch the floor.

I just love Oscar!! He is best!

Diane said...

What a disturbing school experience. Makes the first grade teacher who scared the crap out of me look almost pleasant.

You have to be doing something right to raise such happy kids who feel so good about themselves. :)

jazzygal said...

hahaha...fabulous!! You sure you didn't live in Ireland and go to the same school as me??!

Oscar is a gem, he really is.

xx Jazzy

Stephanie said...

You know, I think Willy would love school if it weren't for all that work, too. He prefers to draw. A lot. They do allow time for him to draw, but he still needs to do his work. It's a no-win in the want department, but it's the work that gets the learning.

kathleen said...

@ Jen-hahaha..red case!! How funny..I love that you chose to just leave..smart girl.

@ Angela-I still can't whistle properly..:) yup-the foot kicking thing..being fidgety in school was one of my many issues..:)

@ Diane-school was way different back then..Thank you for the lovely compliment..:)

@ Jazzy-hee..might as well have been. I think some of the nuns teaching grade school probably had degrees in nuclear physics and were as bore as I was...boredom and power-plus a ruler? scary combination!! ;0

2 Stephanie-ha! Yes-Oscar has said the same exact words "It would be great if there weren't any work" Sam is the boy who always wanted to draw..we allowed it during lectures..it helped him to focus. This is the first year (6th grade) he has chosen not to do it. He said that school was more interesting now...

Casdok said...

My schooling was miserable too :(
Its great that Oscar has something that helps him with tricky work.

K- floortime lite mama said...

oh my goodness
adorable oscar
and adorable you

Stephanie said...

Willy is in sixth grade too, but has yet to discover that school can be interesting and fun in and of itself--that learning things he doesn't have to know can be fun.

I hoped it comes soon. I love learning and really want to share that passion with all my kids.

C... said...

Awwww. My son stims mostly when he's excited about something but he rocks when people sit too close to him.