2008-11-19

Fifty-Fifty

So today was a strange day, to say the least!
The first weird thing that happened was I got to Diana's house about twenty minutes earlier than I usually do. I must have flown above the traffic or something!
Once I got there, I realized Abby wasn't there. I had thought she had the day off of school, and was planning on taking her to this one gymnastics open gym that we never would have been able to make it to if she had school. I was like, "I thought Abby didn't have school," and Diana gasped, and I thought she was shitting me! But it turns out, since the day was a half day for the other kids in the district, only the kids who go to afternoon kindergarten classes had school. The morning class kids had the day off!
So I went to Abby's school, beat the bus there, and waited for her in her kindergarten classroom. She was all freaked out. I guess she thought being at school when she wasn't supposed to be was a horrid thing, and the classroom would swallow her up forever, or something!
Anyway, the day went smoother for the rest of the day. We went to the gymnastics thing, which was hella cool. They even had trapeze bars and things! They had a trapeze where you could swing on it, and then drop into a pit of foam cubes. Check this out...

Abby was in Heaven!
They also had tunnels to crawl through, and lots of trampolines, which Hayden loved. But Hayden's favorite part, I think, was another foam cube pit, where she could slide down a Little Tykes slide like the one we have in the yard, and land in the pit! At first she was scared to do it, so I got into the pit so I could catch her. Then she absolutely loved it, and kept signing "more, more, more" so that I'd shove her out of the pit and let her get back on the slide! The reason I had to shove her out of the pit was because, once I was in there, it was nearly impossible for me to get out! I found that out the hard way. The foam cubes are designed to be thick enough to support small bodies, so little kids can climb around in there, and can actually get themselves out of the pit by climbing up on the cubes. But for a heavy adult... impossible! I eventually had to belly-flop onto a mat that was in the pit for kids to jump on, and then I crawled from there onto shore!
So. At least the girls had a fun morning, and Abby is already begging me to take her back next Wednesday. I guess we can probably go back any Wednesdays that she doesn't have school. There's no school next Wednesday, and then there will be winter vacation, so thats probably just enough to keep it special for her!
Anyway. The afternoon went downhill when I picked up Bobby and Candice, the two kids I babysit in the afternoons. Bobby was in rare form from the time I picked him up, laughing maniacally and everything else. At one point I told him he could watch this one show, "If Walls Could Talk," or something like that, and then he'd have to turn off the TV and do something else. So I guess Abby saw a commercial, thought the show was over, and took it upon herself to turn off the TV. Then Bobby took it upon himself to turn it back on, so Abby started pummeling him, and he hit her back. I sent Abby to her room and sent Bobby to the corner, telling both of them that they shouldn't have been hitting. I had an extra talk with Bobby, reminding him that he is bigger than Abby, and to her he is almost like a grown-up, so it is very scary to her if he hits her, plus he can hurt her badly. I know its just his impulse control problems, but still, he can't be hitting five-year-olds, even if he does have Aspergers!
The thing that made it worse was Brandon getting into the scene and screaming at Bobby and getting upset. I told Brandon to let me handle it, I know he's just sticking up for his sister, but just let me be the grown-up. Then I went into Abby's room to have a talk with her about hitting. She was fine and was hiding under her covers but started laughing when I came in. But as soon as I told her she should come out of her room and that she and Bobby needed to apologize to each other, she started screaming bloody murder again.
So I tell her to come out whenever she's ready.
Meanwhile, Brandon has somehow got the story mixed up in that he thinks the whole scuffle started because it was "Abby's turn" to watch TV, so he himself has gone into the living room and started watching his own show. Then Bobby goes in and switches it back to the show that I had told him he could watch, which was, in fact, not over. SO Brandon starts yelling that its Abby's turn to watch TV... even though he's the one watching, and Abby is in her room crying.
By that time Diana's mom and younger sisters had come over, so it seemed like there were about ninety people in the house! On one hand, it was a welcome distraction, because Sarah and Megan started playing with all of the kids and everything and distracting them from their arguing. But then Abby comes out of her room to apologize to Bobby, and Bobby apologizes to her, and then Brandon starts getting upset about the bruise on Abby's head, and starts yelling at Bobby again, and I once again start explaining that Bobby got in trouble already and Bobby got talked to and Bobby's mom is going to hear about what happened and if Bobby does it again he will be in much bigger trouble. But by this time Abby has started screaming again, making me have to practically shout to explain that nobody is allowed to hit, and even though Bobby is in bigger trouble because he is bigger, Abby should not be hitting anyone.Then Brandon puts his arm around Abby and says, "Lets just go," and tries to lead her away, looking disdainfully back at me. The kid makes it ten times harder for me because he wants to be the authority figure, he wants everyone to have to listen to him, but he doesn't want to have to listen to anyone!!!
Ugh.
So, yeah. Not sure what to do about that. On Monday (which I think is the next time Bobby and Candice will be here) I'm going to sit all the kids down together, including Brandon, and explain the household rules once again, including the part where no other kids should be talking when one kid is being disciplined for something. It should be between that kid, and me, and possibly whatever kid was the victim, if there was one. No third or fourth parties should jump in and attempt to discipline each other. I wish this would go for all times, because half the time when its just ABby and Brandon and me, and I'm trying to tell Abby to do something, he's either sticking up for her and comforting her and trying to take her away from me, or he's telling her twisted things like, "IF you don't pick up your toys Nicki is going to call the police and you can go to jail!"
I like Bobby and Claire... I even like Bobby, because he really is a good kid most of the time. His busdriver says he's her favorite kid that she's ever met in twenty years of driving school busses. He loves to converse with adults, learn new things, and listen. He really is a good kid. He's always so nice to Hayden, and would never be rough with her. Because its just clear to him that Hayden is a baby, and he has to be gentle with her. With a bigger, more rambunctious kid like Abby, I think he forgets that she is also much littler and younger than him! His main problem is that he just doesn't know how to act around other kids. And I wish coming to our house could be more of a positive thing for him. He goes to a special school for kids on the autism spectrum, but realistically he's one of the most "high-functioning" kids there, and he knows it. I mean, this kid has Asperger's Syndrome, can sit down and converse with you, can understand rules even if he has trouble controlling his impulses, can do work on a much higher level than his grade level. But he's in classes with kids who have more like classic autism, where they don't have any way of communicating at all, are not toilet trained, etc. My house is one of the only places where he gets to interact with "regular" kids. I would like it to be good for him. I would like him to feel like he has friends here. But instead, I feel like, between him, Abby and Brandon, I'm constantly putting out fires!

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