Friday, March 2, 2012

Two Tough Hours

I have been trying to keep our New Year resolution to have Kai exercise more. We don’t have time to run very often, but I have been trying to get Kai out at least a couple times per week.

The last time we went, he ran nicely, staying on pace and not complaining one time. So, I was hopeful as we departed to go to the Rec Center yesterday.

He seemed to be in a good mood, not whining about going like he sometimes does. And we even got through having him tie his own shoelaces (with a little help) without too much difficulty.

The Rec Center is only about a mile from our house as the crow flies, but to drive there you have to make two left turns at busy intersections. When a large number of cars are lined up to turn, you may have to wait through a couple of light changes, with a long wait in between each time.

As we were stopped at one light for what seemed forever, Kai’s throat-clearing tic, which has returned in recent weeks, got particularly vociferous. It was a sign that he was feeling anxious.

The short drive to the Rec Center easily took 15 minutes and Kai’s mood had changed dramatically in that time. It took a long time just to get him to walk from the car into the building.

We wanted to start stretching, but he said he had to use the bathroom first. As it was a one-person-at-a-time men’s room, we had to wait for someone to come out before he could go in. And when it was Kai’s turn, he entered and started screaming.

I went in to see what the problem was. He said he hated this bathroom because it was dirty. In actuality, it wasn’t really dirty at all, though it was a bit stinky. He started to pee, but was shaking his you-know-what in anger, spraying his own pee around the edge and outside of the bowl.

Of course, I had him clean it up (though I had to clean it up afterward to get it really clean).

By this time, my hopes of running were dim, but since we were there I still wanted to try.

My wife was calmer than I was and she led us in our stretching. But Kai whined that he did not want to run.

I could see that we were not going to run this day, and told him that we would leave. But I added that he would not be allowed to watch any videos or use the iPad the rest of the day, as he had not given a good effort. He did not like that idea, so he insisted that he would run.

We walked one lap to warm up. But when it was time to start running, he again said that he did not want to.

I threw him his coat and told him that we were leaving. He would not have any video time.

He started yelling that he would run, but we told him that it was too late. He had a chance and did not run. There would be no more chances on this day.

We drove home, arriving about an hour after we had started out, having accomplished nothing but getting everyone upset.

And then it was time to do homework, which he refused to do for quite awhile, even tearing up the paper at one point. Eventually, he did his homework. It took about five minutes to do, just a fraction of the time he spent complaining about it.

It was a draining couple of hours.

And I question whether it is worth trying to do the whole Family Run thing if he hates it so much. On one hand, the confluence of the light signals and stinky bathroom may have just been too much to overcome and we should try again. But I know that he doesn’t really enjoy running, even when I get him to do it.

Perhaps I need to try something else. Or maybe change my approach.

Though the whole thing is tiring to think about right now.


  1. I think you are just doing a great thing - we just have to keep at it - we have the thing every weekend with the family walk
    But we insist and the whining has got less ( not gone - just less ) after MONTHS of trying
    The thing that I always remind myself is something that a mom said in her blog ( open up and let go )
    I quote her here
    "I often hear in my head an excerpt from an incredible essay I've referred to before, by a mom with a son who happens to be named Ethan and who has autism, who wondered for the longest time why he would learn and grow and yet still be so, well, autistic.

    The answer, I've finally learned, is simple, she wrote. This is the way autism works. There are roadblocks in the brain, mysterious and intractable, and for some children no amount of work or determination is going to change that."

    1. K, I think that as my son has progressed, I have, in some ways, become less tolerant of his autism. When I see him learning with some things, it becomes more frustrating to me that he doesn't learn with other things. But, your words (and hers) are very wise: "That is the way autism works." And I have to remember to keep that in mind. Thanks!

    2. Yuji - how well i know what you mean
      Its the same here - the other day I had to take a business trip - I was to be gone overnite - how last year I was always careful to have a detailed writen schedule
      Last month I thought just telling him would be enough
      But it wasnt
      he cried and cried and cried
      I felt so terrible and had to remind myself that even when R is progressing- his needs for the scaffolding is so high
      Hope I did not sound preachy in my comment - - I just think you are doing such an amazing job

    3. K, oh no, I did not think you were preachy at all! Thank you for sharing your own experience. I guess we all can sometimes forget that our children require special attention. Thank you for your encouragement!

  2. I do admire you for trying! It does become discouraging, doesn't it? Everything that should be easy, fun and not take too much time seems to fall apart and results in a houseful of stress. haha. Would he enjoy something else there besides a run? Some thing with a or other kind of activity? Just a thought. We have a hard time getting our boys to be physically active. It's like pulling teeth.
    Had to smile at the stinky bathroom and retaliation...oh gosh, I can laugh since I wasn't there. lol. We've been working on peeing in a neat way...or at least remembering to put the seat up. Being the only girl in the family makes me the biggest complainer there. haha.

    1. Betsy, we have tried various other activities, sometimes with a bit of success. But in the winter, the choices are limited, so I wanted to do more running with Kai at the indoor track. It is hard... I'm not ready to give up on the idea yet though I will think hard about other alternatives.

      We still have to remind Kai to put the seat up... I don't envy you being the only girl with three boys that you are working on with this.

  3. Yes, I was thinking soccer or something inside at the gym. I hope you find a choice that Kai enjoys.

    A Wii might be a good choice...I hear they do have some workout or others with physical activity included.

    Yes, the toilet seat...haha... but you know at this point, I'm just glad they go in the toilet at all. They weren't toilet trained for years.

    Being able to laugh does help with the stress. So don't forget to do that! Once you're out of the situation, it is easier to do that, though. ha.

    1. We actually have a Wii. Kai mostly prefers to watch than play himself.

      You are right to appreciate the small successes and to be able to laugh off the stresses. A good thought to keep in mind. :)

  4. Sorry to hear of the bad day. Of course, it is easy for me to say this (it hadn't happened to me)...but... it is days like this one which make the good ones so good :)

    1. Yes, you are right. And hopefully we will have some good ones soon. :)


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