Tonight, he had two things to do for homework. Let me start off by saying I REALLY hate when teachers say at the beginning of the year that they don't really give homework. Then what the bloody hell do you call this paper at my house with sums on it? A bit of fun? I hate when they say that, because they never mean it. I always hope they mean it, but they don't.
So L had a math sheet full of sums to do tonight, and has a good copy of an assignment (a story) to either write or type up. Knowing that we have trampoline lessons tomorrow night, I knew he needed to get started on his story, and left the math. Most kids could likely do both in one night, but not L. He works so slowly that both things would take him until midnight, if we're lucky, to finish.
I had L sit down at the table with the laptop around 6:45. I set up the page for him with a title and the font size set. All he had to do was type.
Now, he doesn't know how to touch type, but anyone can hunt-and-peck. Some, faster than others, but anyone who knows letters can do it. There was a colossal amount of crying tonight. It started with him typing a few words, and I suppose then started to realize just how long this was going to take and began to feel overwhelmed. In hindsight, I should have broken it up for him; had him do two or three or four sentences, and then have a break. But hindsight being 20/20, and given the time constraint we're under, that wasn't what happened. Instead, he cried for a good twenty minutes after I lectured him. I stayed calm, but I gave him the truth, and I wasn't second-guessing myself tonight. I'm trying to put an end to this crying over homework. I don't know how to do that exactly, but I'm starting with having him realize (hopefully) that unlike last year, I'm not going to give in to it. I do believe that some of this behaviour is manipulation, and not just his anxiety. He's smart enough to realize that he can pass off his unwillingness to do any sort of writing as anxiety.
Of course, as I'm sitting here reflecting and writing away, I'm having doubts. I can see now (now that I'm not looking through a red haze of frustration and anger) that it was the enormity of the task that threw this all a-kilter. Once his brain sets into the mode of "this is a huge amount of work, I can't do this, I'll never be finished" it's too hard to snap him out of it. Simply sitting there and telling him the logical things like "the sooner you work on it, the faster it will be done" doesn't register with him. All he sees is a sign in his head saying, WARNING - TOO MUCH WORK AHEAD - SYSTEM OVERLOAD - SHUTDOWN IN PROGRESS.
I've been communicating with his teacher through email quite well; she even responded to one of my emails on a Sunday night. However, I don't want to be one of those parents, you know, the ones that the teacher sighs as she sees your name pop up on the phone or inbox and she thinks, "Now what?" I will have to schedule a meeting with her in person quite soon. I did explain his situation, but I know she doesn't quite get it. Of course she doesn't, how could she, she's only known us three weeks. So I need to explain again how homework is such a huge strain on our homelife. How it almost nearly always ends in his tears, and my head pounding, and me feeling like a failed mother.
Tonight didn't end well. And although I didn't raise my voice at all, if I could do it over I would definitely have chosen to ignore some of his remarks instead of responding to them. He went to bed early (well, at the time I'd like him to go to bed every night actually but can never seem to be able to achieve) and told me that he hates me. He was also crying and sobbing, saying that no one understands him. I guess tonight I didn't act very understanding of him, and simply treated him as though he were any normal kid, perhaps his brother (if his brother ever behaved in this way I'd either laugh or think something was seriously wrong). I didn't say anything hurtful, or yell, only told the truths.
This means I've now tried what the social worker lady suggested, which is to go back to treating him the same as his brother. I didn't think that would work, and I think after tonight it kind of proves it, unless some miracle happens overnight and he gets up tomorrow morning and finishes it.
And The social worker, I've been meaning to write about her, but haven't got to it yet. I am losing faith in her, ever since she stated that she's never seen a kid like L before, and keeps asking us why do we think he does that? DH was getting annoyed with her I think last week, he kept saying (and it was true) if we knew that we wouldn't be here! She's not yet given us even one useful idea, just keeps asking us the same sort of questions. I'm glad we're not paying for it, but I feel that once again we're back to square one with no ideas of who can help us.
So not such a good night. Thanks again, school, for ruining what could have been a great family night, for leaving me feeling sad and guilty that I wasn't the best mother I could be, and desperately hoping that by morning, L will have forgiven me.