Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hijacked Appointment

Today Frankie had his appointment to get "fitted for contacts." Poor thing almost came to tears trying to put them in. Putting in contacts requires fine motor skills he doesn't really have AND preventing your body from behaving in a sensible way. At one point he turned to the woman who, with infinite patience, was trying to teach him and said, "It's just that this is like totally contrary to my instincts."

Yep. My instincts would be to blink if uncoordinated fingers were coming at my eye too. But he got them in and didn't actually cry. We all pretended that the watering eyes and dripping nose were purely physical responses to the experience. Actually, I was really proud of him. I have never seen him deal with that much frustration without melting down.

I found out this afternoon that he also had a med check appointment tonight, which gave me the excuse to hijack his counseling appointment. It was a fun-filled family outing. The five of us piled into the van, Hubby dropped me off at the counselor's, and drove off to take Frankie to the psychiatrist who decided not to make any significant changes to his meds, at least not until after the neuropsych evaluation.

I told Frankie in advance that I was going to talk to his counselor. He asked why and I told him that I was worried about how much World of Warcraft seemed to have sucked out his brain and that I wanted help figuring out what to do about it. I told him that it had occurred to me that cutting off his access altogether might be a good idea, but that I thought that would be too hard for him. And I told him that other people had suggested that I put him on a high-protein diet free from all sugar, yeast, artificial dyes and flavorings (I'm exaggerating, but it was fun) but that was too difficult for me. He claimed that neither option was acceptable for true Americans and indicated that he trusted his counselor to guide me through these murky waters.

I had a good long talk talk with counselor. I told him that I suck at behavior mod, learned all my best parenting techniques in Alanon, and was interested in some advice. He got some more information out of me about my family, remarked on how well Frankie has settled seeing as he has only been with us for six or seven weeks (amazing isn't it?) and then made two entirely reasonable suggestions. First we should come up with an agreed upon signal to indicate we no longer wanted to talk or hear about WoW. Second, I'm to attempt to sign Frankie up for one or two classes or activities to give him something else to think about. He also said, "I don't want to recommend anything more specific until after we get the results from the neuropsych evaluation." (Anyone sensing a theme?) We threw around possible diagnoses, agreed that he had a whole lot of Asperger's-y characteristics, except for being good at reading emotions, including sarcasm which seemed pretty basic to the diagnosis.

Anyway, I agreed that even someone as bad as I am at behavior mod can manage to sign up a kid for a class at the Y, and saying something like "Dude, I don't want to listen to anything more about WoW" is right up Alanon-road.

After the appointment the five of us went out to dinner at one of the finer fast food joints. Frankie was clearly prepared for me when I said, "We need to come up with a signal for when we need you to talk about something other than WoW."

He said, "Why don't you call me by my full name?"

"But that will sound like you did something bad. Wouldn't you prefer for us to say something like, 'now entering WoW-free zone'?"

"Naw. Why don't you just say 'Heh. Lastname' (giving his step-father's last name).

"You're certain."


Brian said, "I'm sure going to be saying that a lot."

I picked up my folk, took a bite of the salad I like to pretend is low-calorie, and said, "You counselor also thinks we should sign you up for an activity. What would you like to do?"

"Can I learn rock climbing?"

"Sure, they have a class for that at the Y." I say, continuing to munch.

"Cool. Someday I want to climb Mt. Everest." He precedes to give us copious amounts of information about the mountain, the equipment one needs, and low chances of survival if you don't do it right. "Did you know that are lots of dead bodies just lying around at Base Camp 4?"

"No, I didn't, but please allow me to express my pleasure that you brought that up while I am eating my dinner."

He giggled and choked on a french fry.

Definitely a satisfactory evening for all.


  1. Just for fun I thought you might enjoy the fact that today I wore a button to work that read "Tact is for people who aren't witty enough to be sarcastic."

    Also one in honor of banned books week "Everything I learned about life I learned by reading banned books."

    I once read an article that said you should never use sarcasm in the classroom. My students and I both agree that pretty much means I couldn't speak.

  2. Whoohooo! That certainly sounds like a successful excursion by Doolittle standards! Thank you so much for reading and commenting; I look forward to reading more of your blog. From reading this one post (since we're friends now) I would say "Frankie" sounds Aspergers-ish indeed, especially with the perseveration on matters not of general interest and encyclopedic knowledge of things that capture his interest. I have Asperger's and am...uh...slightly sarcastic from time to time, so I wouldn't get too hung up on that if I were you. Did you fill out the PDD assessment at childbrain.com? That's what finally brought our diagnoses home for me; since PDDs are a clinical diagnosis I like the fact that the online assessment removes any subjectivity an actual in-the-flesh examiner might bring to the table. Cheers!

  3. Sounds like good, sensible ideas to me.

  4. In the short time I have been reading your blog you continue to amaze me with your parenting and your wit. Thanks for sharing! I appreciate all you do.

  5. I'm glad you've come up with a Wow-free signal. Hopefully, that will work out well for you.

  6. Bravo to Frankie for sticking it out with contacts. I tried, but found it so difficult to touch my own eye that I just gave up and went back to glasses.

    Of course, then I adopted a child who only HAD one eye, and had to learn to handle a prosthetic one, but that's a different story!


  7. silph7:05 PM

    I've been a little hooked on your blog for the last two weeks. I'm so pleased that you tend to be a high-volume poster, but somehow every post is so engaging! I don't know whether it's because what you write about is so personal and undistant, or if it's because reading your posts give me a really good glimpse at what one set of parenting experiences can be like, or if it's because of your really engaging writing style.

    I /loved/ the way you ended this post :-)


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