Everything Is Against Him

It’s been a hard week. And it’s only Wednesday.

Monday and Tuesday Jack was late to school. This is sadly too common. He is soooooo slow to get anything done and any hurrying I try to do just stresses him out and delays him further. The school office doesn’t blink anymore when we come in late. They also don’t mark his tardies as excused, though.

The biggest issue we’ve been fighting with is clothing. Monday he had trouble with pockets being too bulky. Tuesday it was that the waist of the pants was too loose. Sometimes things don’t feel good on his skin. Or they feel damp (when they are probably just cold). This pair of underwear goes up too high, or this shirt isn’t the one he feels like wearing today.

Today it was all about socks. They bunch up. They don’t fit right. They feel weird when he puts his shoes on. The heel is in the wrong spot. The seam bothers his toes.

His shoes are a whole other story. He wears one pair and the soles are badly worn down. I’ve bought two pairs in the last two weeks and he can’t stand to wear either of them because they are too tight or too uncomfortable. Even though he tried them on at the store and said they fit!

Homework hasn’t been easy. Jack hates to be corrected. We ask him if he’s put forth his best effort and he says no…so then he has to keep trying. And then he says he’s tired. Or he storms off into his room and slams the door and hides because he’s frustrated about having to think. He did this several times last night. I try to get him to focus on doing what he knows first. We can worry about corrections later. But he stumbles over some of the math concepts and gets frustrated when he can’t grasp them quickly.

I don’t doubt he’s tired, honestly. He is difficult to drag out of bed in the mornings (at least, during the school week). He gets to bed much later than I would like because of how long it takes him to eat, and then the hour of waiting time before he can take his pills, and then the dawdling that happens during bed prep time. By the time I get him to bed my evening is gone, too. We’re all tired.

Time is a big problem. He eats slowly and runs out of time to play, which upsets him a lot. At school he hasn’t been finishing his lunch because he’s afraid of running out of time to play. Or sometimes another kid distracts him from eating.

Jack exclaims, “Everything is against me!” or “I never get to have fun!” Then he berates himself – “Ohhhh, why do I waste so much time?!” and smacks himself in the head.

We try to remind him that he has friends and family that aren’t against him. That clothes aren’t out to get him. That he gets to have fun at recess and he gets to watch Scooby Doo and work on various craft projects. We make deals (he’s been a fan of deals in the past) – if he finishes two pages of homework, we can build or color or craft together. We have reward charts for things he needs to focus on – finishing homework, being gentle with the cat, brushing his teeth without dawdling. Various things work for a day or two before they no longer seem to motivate him.

I don’t know how to help Jack. I don’t know how to help myself, either. I feel defeated and so very tired.

Somehow, we need relief.

6 thoughts on “Everything Is Against Him”

  1. The clothing sound like sensory issues. If you haven’t already, you should read the book ‘The Out-Of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping With Sensory Processing Disorder’. It’s a bible for people with kids with sensory issues.
    Some suggestion on how to deal with it: Make sure all tags are removed from clothes or buy tagless clothes. Buy sensory clothes (you can check out http://www.softclothing.net/). The other option I’ve known other parents to use is to get them dressed in their clothes for the next day and let them wear them to bed. Then they get up in the morning already dressed and there’s no fight.

    For school work, what about working with the school to put him on a modified plan where he has a different set of grading and expectations? I know when my V is tired she can get to the point where she can’t answer simple questions, even though I know she know’s the answer. I can be incredibly frustrating for everyone. So what you have to look at is are the expectations you’re setting realistic for him, right now.

    1. Thank you for the link and ideas!

      I know he is sensory-sensitive, but I’m not sure that it’s to the point of SPD. At least, we’ve always been able to reasonably accommodate it before. I think it’s an issue now because of other stresses and fatigue? Anyway, it’s something I definitely will bring up with his therapist. It’s a real problem when clothes he’s worn before suddenly become uncomfortable! The same socks he wore yesterday didn’t work today, for instance.

      I need to talk to his teacher about a modified homework plan. Some weeks he is totally fine! Others it’s just hell…

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