In the last few weeks my son and I have been discovering a new relationship because we are being forced to spend quality time in the car almost every day. I pick him up at school and drive to his Brain Balance appointment and then we hop back in the car and go home, all together a good solid hour trip. Now that video games are history – we actually talk! This is a new concept for us. It used to be that we would all get in the car, his head would go down, I would switch on the radio and off we went. He would only wake up with surprise on his face at our final destination. One day I actually drove to Toys-R-Us, went in with his sister, returned to the car (his Dad stayed with him), got back in and drove away and he never realized we had even been! He was totally confused by his sister’s T-R-U bag.
Anyway in the past our son has typically been focused on a certain phrase or saying, it changes after about a month or so, but it is often derogatory and usually something you don’t want repeated out in public, even though he always does. Just lately; however, he has started to tone it down. Our latest verbiage is something along the lines of: “Will I be famous if…” and those if’s are sometimes complex, sometimes innovative and often hilarious. Will I be famous if I jump in the pool and beat all the other kids in swimming? If I make a pair of super fast shoes and run across the ocean to Australia – then will I be famous? What if I throw a golf ball to Australia, will I be famous? Will I be famous if I tell people I found this skull and it’s real?” “Will I be famous if I invent a time machine?” ” … if I use my time machine, … if I invent a potion to make you stay young and stop the pain in your feet (in response to my fibromyalgia) then will I be famous? If I…
Scenario after scenario is coming out and eventually I had to ask him, why do you even want to be famous? Turns out it’s not the fame he seeks, he really just wants to be rich! So today I told him, “you know you can be rich without being famous?” “Really”? he asked in genuine surprise. I assured him, that it was indeed the case. Of course his next question was immediately, “How”? I told him he could invent something, or he could become a lawyer perhaps. “A lawyer” he contemplated, “yes that’s it!”, slight pause and then “What’s a lawyer do Mum?” Then he asked me if I would be happy if he was rich, to which I replied, as every good parent would, “as long as you are happy I am happy, and if being rich makes you happy, then yes, I would be happy!” Anyway, this is such a refreshing change from the usual ‘you hate me, you don’t love me, throw me away, you know you don’t like me’s’ that I am loathe to find myself getting frustrated with his line of questioning, although I confess I am.
Seriously, now that we are not doing it (keeping him quiet via video games), I actually can’t believe we encouraged that kind of disconnect between us. Now, we are trying harder and doing better. He is limited on his screen time to 1.5 hours a day because of the Brain Balance program and to maintain this we decided to remove ALL video games. A little proved to be too disruptive.
I have to admit, the first few weeks were hard with a capital “I AM going scream!!!” on all sides, but now we have fallen into quite a routine. Instead of TV he plays Lego or with his Mario figures. He has begun to create all these small villages and game courses for both his Mario figures and his Lego people. It helped that we bought out the plumbing department in the local hardware store which has made him immensely happy. He spends hours building and inventing little scenarios with those plastic figures and blocks.
He never wants to bring Lego with him when we leave, so while we are in the car we actually talk! I always knew he had an active mind, but wow that little thing is really churning. Idea after idea (not often implementable) comes tumbling out. Mostly, his ideas are too far fetched, delve too far into fantasy or they just run into one another, one after the next after the next with no beginning or end – his mind is in overdrive with inventions and ideas. The point is, not only is he starting to think differently, he is actually finding words to adequately describe what he is thinking. This is big a step forward for sure. Today he asked me how he could keep finding the right words for things! I told him to think it out before he spoke, it seems he wants to be more succinct, add clarity to what he wants to say. Further confirmation to us that his brain hasn’t been working that way at all. He thinks therefore he blurts! Often making no sense at all. Finally, I think he is starting to think ahead! Is this the beginning of impulse control I wonder?? Stay tuned!