April 24, 2007 by Marj Hatzell
Bug Boy would do anything to play video games. I am not kidding on this one. We can write a list of chores as long as his arm and he does them, without complaint, and sometimes we reward him with a turn on Playstation. He is rarely allowed to play on a school day. Heck, he NEVER plays before school and only once in a while plays in the evenings. On weekends we stay busy. The grand total for the week (seven days) is somewhere in the vicinity of one to two hours, maximum.
In honor of National Kill Yer TV week, I’ve decided that it will ALL be off, minus the computer. He is not allowed to play the computer but it is on. This really is not all that difficult, the boys are not television junkies. The watch maybe a total of an hour of the idiot box per week. They are extremely active boys so a certain amount of outdoor time (or basement trampoline and playtime on rainy days) is necessary for all of our nerves to avoid being frayed.
This week, for some strange reason, Bug Boy has been relentless on his quest to play video games. He has always been obsessed with electronical devices (hallmark of ASDs) but this goes beyond the usual eating, sleeping and breathing. He is sneaking around. He is saying and doing anything to be allowed time. He even wants to cash in his reward tickets for extra video game time. Here is our conversation from yesterday morning before school:
Bug Boy: Mooooooom. Pleeeeease. Please, Can I play video games? I’ll turn them off on time, I promise! (whining the entire time)
Me: No, Bug Boy. We’ve talked about this. We’ve also talked about the way you are asking me.
Bug Boy: Oh. Then MAY I PLEASE play video games?
Me: No! You know the rules. You need to stop asking. The rule is that there are no video games on school days and NEVER before school. Never! Now, go and get dressed.
Bug Boy pouts and hangs his head. He stomps up to his room, disappears for twenty minutes and comes back down, fully dressed. He has also brushed his teeth, washed his hands, combed his hair, washed his face and put his shoes on. This is typically something that takes us over an hour with FIVE PROMPTS and a check-off list to do. Proof that he can do it when he is motivated enough!
Bug Boy: Ok, Mom! I’m READY! I have TONS of time to play now. Hmmmm…what can I do?
Me: Bug Boy, I am glad you are dressed and ready but you are not playing video games. You know the rules. Why don’t you get out a library book and read it with me? Or get your lincoln logs out?
Bug Boy: Mom! You are SOOOOOO pretty! You are pretty mom! Mom! I like your hair today! Now, May I please play playstation?
This is, coincidentally, the first time my son has ever told me I am pretty. Which I told him I appreciated. And then I told him he would not play playstation. I am a heartless woman.
This morning we had to drag ourselves out of bed, hitting the snooze several times (who invented that? I want to talk to that person!). While we were busy showering, dressing, ironing, etc, Bug Boy must have decided to sneak downstairs and play, you guessed it, video games. We both tip toed down when we went in to wake him and we was not in bed. The look on his face is one that I will never forget!
When we confronted him he knew he was caught. He also said sorry. He also asked if he could just play for a few minutes. He also told us we looked nice today. Sigh.
I know kids sneak. I know kids lie. I also know they misbehave. But sometimes it is more difficult to get through to Bug Boy. Even though he could recite a list of rules VERBATIM he still stretches or disregards them when he sees fit. That is the egocentric thinking that he possesses. That four-year-old mindset. You know, the one where THEY are the most important person in the universe and therefore whatever THEY think is good and appropriate must be the correct viewpoint? Let’s just say for the sake of argument that the powers that be estimate Bug Boy’s emotional and social skills to be that of a four-year-old. At the age of six. This does make things difficult. I must remember that I have to explain to a very intelligent six-year-old in a way that makes sense to a four-year-old with consequences appropriate for his age.
So, no video games. In fact, he has lost them this weekend. I am happy since I don’t have to hear the music for Star Wars Lego for a while. Killing the zombie machine is not so hard to do.
Totally off topic: we received Bugaboo’s progress report yesterday. For the first time in eighteen months of early intervention our child has MADE PROGRESS! I mean, I know he has made progress, but we are talking real, measurable progress towards his IEP goals. This is a grand thing, indeed. Bugaboo has had plenty of regression and difficulties this past year, the report is the best thing since sliced bread, in my opinion. He has mastered or possesses over half of his goals! WOOOHOOOO!!!