Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Anarchy X

My son makes no secret of his dislikes. In fact, he glories in them. These days, he even expresses dislike of things I know he loves. “No!” and “I don’t like (insert thing I just offered him).” He lives to be contrary these days. I live to put him to bed as early as possible each night. 

The daily list of dislikes starts like any other day.  “Hey Kiddo,” I called with forced good cheer, already knowing how this will turn out. “Would you like to go to the park?” 

“No! I don’t like the park.” 

Five minutes later, he’s dressed and at the door waiting impatiently for me to take him to the park.  And so it goes; hot dogs for lunch, ice cream afterwards for a week’s good behavior, reading a favorite book, playing a game.  He doesn’t like any of it ... until seconds later when he remembers he does like it after all. 

Wrath took an interesting turn this morning, however, when it came to the things Kiddo REALLY doesn’t like. One look at his daily schedule this morning clued me in. 

Kiddo needs a daily schedule because his autistic nature requires routine that he can rely on. I need his schedule because I have no brain cells left to remember what I’m supposed to be doing.  Make no mistake; it’s a huge responsibility to mold Kiddo into a decent piece of future tyranny for society to live in fear of later. I know I’m up for the job as long as I keep everything organized. However, if we left it up to my memory to keep track of everything, he and I would spend the entire day in pajamas, unwashed and unsuitable for eventual anarchy. I think it’s obvious that one attracts more minions when they are well-dressed, charming, and routinely bathed. 

I tape the daily schedule on the side of the refrigerator each night so Kiddo can see what’s coming up when he gets up in the morning. It curbs many a worry for him to know exactly what he has to face in the next few hours. But just because the schedule gives him a roadmap doesn’t mean he’s enthralled with the path I’ve laid out. This is how a life bent on rebellion really begins. 

This morning as I staggered from bedroom to kitchen, blearily looking forward to that first cup of coffee which will wake me up just enough to make a second cup, I saw the schedule wasn’t quite the way I’d left it the night before. My darling ray of revolutionary sunshine had put his mark upon it ... his mark being a big, bold ‘X’ over the activities he had decided to rebel against. 

Breakfast and time to play games on the tablet were intact.  However, Writing Skills Workbook had been X’d out. Ditto for Grammar Worksheet and Math. Big, black marks crossed out anything of educational value. ‘Bath’ had also received the exclusionary treatment. He’d already forgotten the lesson that stinky would-be leaders of mass chaos are actually solitary enactors of trifling irritation. Sigh. 

Yet there was a mote of hope. He had left Pick Up Toys, Brush Teeth, and Go To Bed unmarked. Maybe he thought a tidy house and fresh breath would make up for the rest of his slovenly ways. And he seemed to have recognized eventual evil masterminds do need their rest. 

Or maybe his writing hand simply got tired. 

I didn’t even get a chance to preach the benefits of rising above ignorance and body funk. Kiddo was already defending his choice to obliterate his studies.  “No writing. No math. Just tablet and ice cream.” 

It’s hard to argue against logic like that. Yet as a dutiful mother, I tried. “You have to study writing and math. You have to be smart enough to make lots of money.  That way you can hire lackeys to do the crap work you don’t like.” 

“No! I don’t like it!” 

“I believe that’s what I just said.” 

“Go away, Mommy.” 

Ah, such a little despot already.  At least I know the groundwork has been laid. And his refusal to debate in favor of ordering me into exile was a sound tactic, especially since he’d shrewdly caught me before coffee.  I shrugged and walked off. I needed java before I re-engaged in a battle of wits with my young strategist. 

I realized his rebellion couldn’t go unchallenged. I am priming him for larger battles than the ones fought in the home. Genghis Khan II, Ruler of the House on the Corner, just doesn’t cut it. 

It’s not easy being the mom of our future dystopia, but I believe I set a good example. It took the forceful annexation of Kiddo’s tablet to get him to do his worksheets.  I was happy to show him how it works when one has the undeniable power to seize property from other people. He in turn showed his determination to exact his will by drawing a giant, heavy-handed X over each assigned page. In the end however, he did his lessons and we inched a step closer to the day when he assumes his rightful place.  

Quake, little people.  Today, double-digit subtraction.  Tomorrow, world domination.

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