Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A good day for InuYasha...

I suppose it was due to happen, but I still wasn't quite prepared when B moaned to me this morning that he didn't want to go to school :( He took a few different tacks with the subject: he didn't have enough time to do what he wanted to do, how could I have liked school if it was even worse "back then", there were too many tic triggers for him to feel comfortable... It was this last one that was most productive, since after thinking about it, B admitted that it wasn't really school that was the problem but the tic/anxiety triggers that made him miserable there. To his complaint that he didn't have enough time to do the things he really wanted to do, I suggested that he look more carefully at how he does spend his time at home & try to allocate it among more activities. I told him that I wasn't saying that the bionicle online game is a bad thing, but it does seem to be eating his life these days... He was a bit surly after that observation, but I think it was probably because he might be secretly agreeing with me. When we got down to breakfast he was still upset & told me he felt nauseous, so we brainstormed some breakfast ideas & settled on a pear & milk. I was pretty frazzled by that time, plus was trying to finish tidying the house to prepare for our friend Daryl, who cleans our house every 2 weeks, to arrive. B brightened almost as soon as the pear hit his tummy & was very chatty when Daryl arrived. By the time we got to school he was in good form & ready to start the day. Whew! I did sit with Cherie, his consultant teacher, for a while discussing options for the days that B is not coping well. She said that they have started a tic-tracking chart, to see if there are any patterns to his being triggered. Her main sense is that B starts out doing well most days, but his coping skills are stretched pretty thin by afternoon. Afternoons are when the non-classroom activities take place, such as music, spanish, & PE. Also, the last half-hour of the day is occupied by clean-up & organisational activities, which B does not cope well with because they are unstructured. Right now he does his homework during this time, but I told Cherie that I could also pick him up from school earlier if it would help, assuming he'd be ok with doing his homework at home. I told her that I'd probably plan some sort of structured activities for part of the afternoon if I started picking him up earlier & she thought that would be a great idea.

What got me thinking about structured activities was that C & I had been discussing the trip to Japan that we're planning for next June. Looking at all of the stresses of making such a long trip to a new & different place with such a particular kid has made us realise that we'll have to do some special planning or we're not going to have much fun. Reading in the guidebooks that C got out of the library that Tokyo is incredibly crowded made us wonder if we should go there at all... But there's a lot there that we think B will enjoy. We've read about 2 science museums that we think would be great to visit, & the guidebooks say that Tokto's a very kid-friendly place. I think that carefully planning to go out early, before things get too crowded, will work just as well there as it did in Washington DC. Tomoko has warned me that people will be attracted to B's blond hair & long, braided rattail, & will want to ruffle his hair & pull his tail. She promised to tell her family not to invade his space too much, but what about the rest of Japan? C suggested that we make sure he has a light-weight hooded shirt he can wear to cover his hair when necessary. We're not as worried about his attracting the attention of kids because all of our vacation experiences have shown that B seeks out kids to play with, usually after hanging back to watch for a bit. I suspect he'll have no trouble speaking to them in Japanese, since he doesn't suffer from "stage fright", & Tomoko has told me that she thinks kids are going to love his, uh, colourful vocabulary :) And when C & I were talking about B's day yesterday & thinking about his coming home from school earlier, I realised that this would be a good opportunity for he & I to research places in Japan that we are thinking of visiting. I remembered how much he enjoyed visiting the Lincoln Memorial last June. Looking for the spot Martin Luther King, Jr. made his "I Have a Dream" speech from gave B something to look forward to, & our reading & discussing the Gettysburgh Address, chiselled into one of the walls, added even more to the experience. I'm thinking that if we google some of the temples, shrines, & other possible sites to see, we can find things for B to look for & look forward to seeing there. Maybe he can do a research report on Japan before we go. Breaking things down like this & remembering strategies we've used before has made me feel a lot better about making this trip...

Compared to the start of our day, B had a great day at school. B told me that, for some reason, he wasn't being triggered as much at school, so he enjoyed the day a lot more than usual. A great relief. On the way home he asked me if I'd consider letting him watch "InuYasha", which is an anime series that I've been collecting & enjoying very much. I have hesitated to let him watch because there's some pretty grotesque imagery, not to mention lots of severed limbs & a body count to match... I like "InuYasha" because it's got an interesting story line, it's nicely animated, & there's a pretty neat sense of humour in the dialogue. I watch it in japanese (with the english subtitles), so I'm also learning as I watch. So far there's only 2 anime series that B can watch in japanese, & so he doesn't get nearly as much exposure to the spoken language as I'm getting. When B asked if he could watch "InuYasha" I realised that I had been having an internal dialogue about it myself... So I told him what my concerns were & he told me he didn't think they'd be a problem (of course :). So I agreed to let him watch the first few episodes & we'd see if he had trouble with "thoughts" or with falling asleep tonight. He liked the humour & InuYasha a lot, & was impressed by some of the strange imagery (for example, a demon-girl who manipulates humans like puppets with strings made of hair...), which is partly because the images are based on a culture very different from ours. I think that having to read the subtitles helped to take the edge off any images that were too weird, since he couldn't completely concentrate on what was happening visually in the show. We talked about it a bit after watching, then B went upstairs to the tv room (we'd been watching on my laptop) & watched some George Shrinks, a newly rediscovered PBS favourite that I'd taped for him (when he was in kindergarten!) because it was on when he was in school. After dinner he played legos with dad & watched some more George, then it was time for the latest chapter of "Over Sea, Under Stone". He had no trouble falling asleep, so perhaps our InuYasha experiment worked :) B spent no time at all on the computer after school today, no bionicle online game, no surfing his other fave sites. C is hoping that maybe B's gotten all he wanted out of the bionicle game, & I'm wondering if he realised that it really was eating his life... Either way, we'll see if he requests more InuYasha tomorrow :) I enjoyed sharing it with him, with the extra bonuses of B not only being exposed to more spoken japanese, but having yet another topic that he can converse with other kids at school about, since I know that there are kids on his floor who watch anime. Oh, & having another interesting & fun topic of conversation for us as well :)

1 Comments:

At 11:19 PM, Blogger Kristina Chew said...

Funny but the same happened with Charlie today: Anxious mood till he got some breakfast in him, and a fine day afterwards. Stimming tends to be up for Charlie in the afternoon too, and before and after meals.

Japan! Just planning our annual trip to the West Coast via airplane gives me the jitters....

 

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