Monday, November 18

Change is Good

I’m not very good at routines.

I’m finding my son may very much take after his mother in this regard.  He doesn’t appear to be very good at doing the same thing for too many hours/days/weeks in a row, and would much rather change things up on a regular basis.  He needs something to excite him to go to the next thing.

I rearrange furniture a lot.  I change up the style of ‘meal planning’ we do because even that gets boring if you do one type of planning for too long.  I move the kids’ bedrooms around, I change the “cling stickers” on the kids’ bedroom walls.  I repurpose rooms and just about every space in our home has seen at least one or two if not five or more revisions since we moved here 7 ½ years ago.  I like change.  I get ‘stuck in a rut’ with routines and I feel like I’m suffocating, unenergized, and unable to get up the enthusiasm about life to continue doing the same thing on a daily basis.

That all probably sounds crazy to people who tell me “children with intellectual disabilities THRIVE on routine and on knowing what to expect.  They do best when they have predictability to their day and to their environment."

Well, I guess I wouldn’t be a very good parent to a child with intellectual disabilities.  :)  Anyway, that’s a total side note to the purpose of this note.  

Kristopher needs change.  

You see, the morning went like this “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.”

I’ll let you leave it up to your own devices to figure out whether it was him, me, or both of us that sounded like that, but THAT is what our house sounded like this morning.

Then I pulled up FaceBook (with those 9 friends I’ve stayed connected to, no worries, you’re not missing anything as I’m only posting on The Cornish Family still as of this moment… subject to CHANGE, of course..!) and I saw a post by one of my very sweet friends that suggested a new way of homeschooling.  It described very much what we do with Kris already.  I must admit, I was pretty down on myself and on how to motivate for homeschooling as well.

After a while I went to go tell Kris that his attitude is not Christ-like and he needed to stop and spend some time in prayer to figure out what he was going to do about it.  Then, I realized I should have been wagging that finger (figuratively, of course) at myself and I went and did the same.

I realized that my own struggles are things that he also struggles with, and that he’s ‘stuck’ in this rut of schooling.  He’s on week 22 and he’s ready for a change.  Not a break from work, because then he’d never want to restart again (though we are going to take next week off for Thanksgiving and hope and pray that the week after that restarts ok!).  

We are a ‘remove privileges’ kind of family.  You earn ‘em, you keep ‘em, you don’t earn ‘em, they disappear.  Unfortunately for Kris, the last couple weeks in regard to his decision making skills and his school work (two separate issues) he’s been struggling.  That means he’s not had several of the privileges that he previously enjoyed.  Namely: electronics.  

Today I started the Grace Game.  In general it was an effort to positively change his attitude.  

Last night he was excited about it.  He even was going to help keep ‘tallies’ on other people in the family, catching everyone “doing good, showing grace.”  (There are no negative tallies and no taking-away tallies, so I thought it would be positive!) The game lasted about 60 minutes.  In that time he grumbled, complained, and was overall NOT showing anyone grace nor attempting a positive attitude.  The game stopped. He wasn’t there to keep track of other people’s “good” while being a BEAR to everyone else!  He was the reason they were earning extra points for showing grace “when it’s not deserved!”

Strike 1 for mom.

Time for reinforcement.  This morning he lost his “up” time, which is the ability to stay up later than regular bed time. After all, if you cannot behave, you must need more sleep, therefore you cannot stay up after the regular bed time.  Makes sense to me.

So that’s when my last resort thought came, you know, the one above where I said “hey, buddy, put some prayer on those lips and figure out your day.”

The one where I followed my own advice and did the same.

The one where I realized he needed more than a game.  He needed a lecture, a few consequences for his actions and some time in isolation.  

No, no, no… that’s not what we headed to.

I realized I needed to change up his subjects.  Change up his chores.  Give him a little freedom.  Loosen the reigns and tighten them in other areas.  Give him some choices.  Let him rearrange the furniture in his own head…

New routine + New opportunity to earn electronics + New schedule for chores = New attitude + New gusto to get it done + New factor of kindness toward other people

Let’s hope this lasts.  

Then again, I know it won’t.  Because in a few weeks, he’ll need to paint the bathroom green.


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