January 17, 2011


 "Why can't I do that?"
"Because you're short.  So you can't reach it yet."
"You have long arms...
"Did you know your wingspan equals your height?"
"I already know that.  It's weird..."
"...but true?  You really like those books, don't you?"

Da sister and da baby brother boo clean up after pancakes every Saturday (or holiday, like today).  Da creature asks a thousand questions, and she patiently answers each of them, while insisting that he help with the dishes...she's "teaching" him how to do the dishes.  This is her method.  She stays cheerful and doesn't give up HER agenda while he, the Great Distracto, attempts to derail everything with a stubborn determination that has yet to equal hers, but rivals that of a mongoose facing off with a cobra.  They are deliberate about the combat, and she has always won.

It was that way in Top Soccer, too.  She could work with any kid, any disability, because she'd assess what he/she could and could not reasonably do, and then make workarounds that meant they'd stay focused on soccer and fun while avoiding the sentimental pitfalls of the WHINE.

In my house, pancakes seem to banish the WHINE.  Da Creature knows that if he just does what I ask him to do...measure this, read this, get me the eggs, smash yolks, cut butter, "stir", "sift" (in quotes because his version of these activities is not what you'd normally expect from those verbs), and generally put up with not getting what he wants RIGHT THIS INSTANT, the pay off is bacon and pancakes.

He can get a bad case of the WHINE, though, about most everything else.  The WHINE is a phenomenon that adults/teachers create in their disabled kids/students.  It is the way of the "give up".   The way the child has of communicating that the activity at hand is distasteful or difficult and that he or she is so afraid that he or she will fail, or disappoint that they just make this whine sound and try to change your mind about whatever it is you want them to do.  Da sis's workarounds are brilliant.  They never ever once acknowledge the whine, but address it with action and a smile.  We'll do this.  We'll do it this way.  No, you can't do that instead...we're gonna do THIS.  She never "validates" the WHINE, she never allows them to feel bad, and she ALWAYS gets her way. 

Sometimes, I have to admit, I do give in to the WHINE.  I let him give up.  I give up.  Everybody needs a cheerful non-giver-upper in their lives, no matter how obnoxious that person can be when you REALLY don't want to do something.  Without her...he'd never even try to put the flour away on the top shelf of the pantry.  (I'm so glad he's still too short...it won't be long before there's no where left for me to put things and I'll have to engage him on every object I care about, which is a very daunting thought.  But for now...it's all good).

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