28 November 2012

why i'm glad the tv is on

I speak enough of Little B for you to know the ups and downs.
Now let me show you what life is like as winter draws her cloak closer around us, as the dark settles into our bones and the face she gives Seasonal Affective Disorder in our home, on my son.

B is asked to wake early - if he sleeps past 8, it's difficult to drag him from his bed. 7am is fine, 6am even better. He showers then sits in front of his light box for an hour while eating breakfast, reading a book, doing math, perhaps drawing comics. A book is his preference.

If he gets up at 8:30am because I've overslept (again) and he turned off his alarm, he moans and groans pulls the covers over his head. Repeatedly. By the time he has showered and finished his light it's easily past 10am.

By now he's ready to go to his room to read, listen to an audio book simultaneously, perhaps play Legos. For hours. He'd gladly skip lunch for the quiet solace of his room. When he emerges it's with fits of anger over chore time and resentment of an assignment he slipped away from with the quiet of a cat burgler.

Yes. It's a typical school day. Yes, he has chores to do and lessons to complete. But dragging him from his room becomes a chore to me in and of itself. He is peaceful in there, albeit too wrapped up in his little world. He does not bite angry words from his haven until he is called down from there. I crave peace.

He reads (and listens to) massive amounts of fantasy (dragons, space, etc), historical fiction, non fiction. He will come home from the library with a dense pile of books and need to go back in less than a week. Thus far, the reading material seems appropriate, I cannot keep up; if I read that much I would never sleep. He has a conscience and is bothered when the character kisses a girl and lets me know if there is cussing. (We keep tabs on how much, what kind, and discuss openly. If it's frequent, he stops reading the book. Willingly.)

A recent goal is to find ways for him to leave his room. Reasons to keep him downstairs. A set way to carry on the day without denying his need for solitude.

First, I'm working to have him up earlier which shifts his entire day for the better. As does the morning shower, something we discovered in 2nd grade with him.

Then, the light. It's necessary. A blessing. We didn't even stop using it in the summer. Instead we cut the time back to half an hour. This time of year it's a full on hour unless the day is sunny and we have someplace to be that cannot wait. Half of that is the need for routine, consistency.

I'm finding a designated time to expect chores. That way he expects it. Eventually, it will be habit. In the meantime....well, we're pressing on.

I'm breaking up his room time with scheduled assignments. When they're done, he can find his haven until the next scheduled item.

This week, before we've really set this into motion (I'm in the figuring-it-out stages still), he is drawn to his computer programming book, smack in the center of the house, distractions all around. He is happy to watch documentaries at length (and Phineas & Ferb, the one show all kids agree on at any given time). I am happy to see him downstairs (until the crabby side surfaces when someone annoys him).

I've decided that in the throes of too much room time, TV is preferable, better, and healthier for him and his mental outlook. It draws him out of his exclusive world and I will use it for all it's worth. It will be scheduled into his day in some form. It definitely has a place.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

He definitely sounds like an introvert. Have you read the book "Quiet?" it's about the power of introverts and was recommended to me by the psychologist who did Eliza's testing recently, and jt's on my TBR list at Amazon. You might like to check it out too!