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Posts Tagged ‘conversations with special needs children’

Monday Minute: Waffles and Ketchup and Mustard, Oh My!

So last week I jumped around for a minute of related material spread over the course of the day. This week is the exact opposite – the entire conversation happened during a matter of minutes and was bizarrely and loosely connected at best.

Setting: Dinnertime. Children eating broccoli quiche, belgian waffles and hot dogs (we were out of sausage so I improvised). The unusual array of condiments at the table was probably partially to blame for what follows – syrup, chocolate sauce, ketchup, and mustard were all needed because of the presence of both waffles and hot dogs. So it should come as no surprise that James had his waffles lathered in mustard, M dipped hers in ketchup and A was using the chocolate sauce (for his waffles and hot dogs).

Key (there are too many people in this house): J = James, M= Margaret, A= Adam and I am in bold.

J: Can I have some more waffles?

You just had 4 pieces.

J: But I want one with ketchup.

James, that’s so gross.

M: No, it’s good, see? (holds up waffle dripping with ketchup)

J: And chocolate syrup.

No, you need to pick one dip at a time.

(Sighing, I get up and proceed to the kitchen to take another waffle off of the iron)

J: Margaret, stop it! Stoooooppppppp!

(calling from kitchen) Margaret, stop. James, stop yelling at your sister!

(walking back into the dining room I find M 2 inches from James with her lips pursed)

Margaret, leave James alone!

M: I’m just teaching James manners – look, look at his mouth!

It is also rude to point in someone’s face.

M: But his mouth is wide open.

(I feel bad about my table manners obsession momentarily, until James puts 6 inches of quiche crust into his mouth at once)

J (mumbling through the crumbs): No it’s not.

James, that was 5 or 6 bites, not 1.

M: Yeah, James.

J: Stop it!

Okay everyone stop talking to each other unless it’s pleasant. James, did you have a fun day with Scott and Kristin?

J: Yeah. So, I really love Kristin (his stepmother).

That’s great – did you have a fun day at the zoo with them today?

J: Yeah. Did you know Scott is married to her?

Yep.

J: Whoa. So how did he get married to her?

The same way I married Dad. Remember?

J: Oh – yeah.

M: Scott is a prince.

What?

M: And Kristin is a princess so they got married.

Okay.

M (to me): You can still be a ghost, if you want.

A: And I’m a witch!

M: And I’ll be Dorothy.

Finish dinner or we’ll run out of time for a movie night. Please.

M: You’re not a witch, you’re 1. And I’m 3.

A: No I’m 3 and you’re 1.

J: And I’m 12. Can I have some more waffles?

No, you can finish your other food but no more waffles.

M: May I be excused?

Yes, go ahead.

M: I’m going to the bathroom before our movie time. Don’t start it until I get back!

J: Can I have one more –

Not. Another. Waffle. Not one more bite.

(A immediately shoves his entire remaining waffle into his mouth at once)

J: Mom, look, Adam is not using good manners!

(Adam starts to gag)

Adam, you spit that out right now!

(Adam promptly throws up on the dining room floor)

M (from upstairs): Mommmmmm, I pooped!

J: Am I being good now, Mom? Am I using my good manners?

“Monday” Minute: Lesson(s) In Disability Etiquette

I started this on Monday – does that count?

We were two blocks from home when a child being pushed in a wheelchair approached us. He was obviously significantly disabled, and was making continuous loud noises as he passed. I cringed as I watched James stop dead in his tracks and do a full 180 to keep his eyes on him. And point.

“James,” I hissed. “Put that finger down. Now.

“But Mom,” James replied, finger still hovering. “That kid is making really funny noises.”

I pushed James’s arm back to his side. “One: it is rude to point, at anyone. Two: that child is disabled and can’t help making those noises. And three: It’s not nice to comment about other people, especially right in front of them.”

Margaret, who had been silent up until this point, chimed in “Yeah, just like your noises, James!”

I inwardly groaned. But James replied, “Oh yeah, like all of my noises. Right, mom?”

Hmm, perhaps this would be a teaching moment, I thought. “Yes, James, kind of like your noises. Remember sometimes you make lots of noises while we’re walking or at home and they don’t make any words (or sense) either?”

“Riiiiiight,” James said, as if I was making all the sense in the world. “Does that boy get in trouble?”

I paused. “What do you mean?”

“For making noises like that? Like when you and dad tell me to stop making noises and if I don’t you get mad at me?”

Ouch. “Well, James, that boy might not be able to help the noises he makes, but we want you to do your best to listen to us when we ask you to stop doing something,” I finished lamely. And it’s annoying and embarrassing and we’re being impatient and short-tempered whether or not you can help it, I want to add, but I don’t want to give him too much to think about at once.

James will probably not point at another kid in a wheelchair. I hope I can learn my lesson half as well.

Monday Minute: I Have No Money

I know, I know, it’s no longer Monday, but I didn’t get home from my epic subway journey after tennis until bedtime, let alone the dinner I was now supposed to throw together. Needless to say, the kids and I raced each other to bed last night and they only won by a hair. But my nearly 4 hours on the subway yesterday provided me with more than a sore back and headache – by now you can only imagine how much material James provided for the Monday Minute in that length of time. This conversation was by far a crowd favorite, though.

James is in italics, my responses are in bold.

This particular moment started with a woman coming into our subway car to announce that she was homeless, hungry and needed money, however little we could spare. She projected very well so it was impossible for my children not to notice her. As she passed subway passengers one by one, pleading loudly, James asked (also loudly):

Do you have any money to give that lady? (as if it wasn’t awkward enough)

Not this time James – I don’t have any cash on me.

Oh right, not even for the vending machine after tennis today.

Nope, not even spare change today bud. Sorry.

Why don’t you have any cash?

Because I forgot to get some from Dad’s wallet this morning. All I have are my cards.

Why is all the cash in Dad’s wallet?

Because he gets it from work.

Does Dad take care of all the money? (the man next to James smirks)

Well, Dad makes all of the money but I help take care of it by paying the bills and saving it.

But Dad makes all of the money?

Yes.

And he keeps it all in his wallet?

And the bank.

But you don’t have to work like Dad so you don’t have any money? (man next to James snickers out loud)

No James, we share the money. I work in a different way taking care of all you kids.

I can’t believe he has all the money in his wallet and you have no money! We couldn’t even go to the vending machine today. (I am now feeling laughed at on all sides of the subway car, though James is dead serious.)

I’ll be sure not to forget next time. (very, very sure)

Maybe he will share some of it tomorrow.

James, he will share money with me anytime, I just forgot this morning.

Do you think maybe you should work so you can get some of your own money?

I think maybe I will just continue to live this life of luxury and take some more out of Dad’s wallet tomorrow morning.

Good idea! And Dad can take some more from work.

Something like that, James.

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Interestingly enough, the homeless woman did not pause to ask me for change.