Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Positively No Negativity

Kiddo has an aversion to symbols or words denoting negativity. And by aversion, I mean outright hatred. Whether it has to do with feelings, words, or ... math(???? Yes, math) ... he cannot cope with anything that is not positively framed. 

My child goes to behavioral therapy to help him cope better with frustration and anxiety. When a person’s verbal skills are dysfunctional, it can lead to a lot of angst. Therefore, learning to express himself beyond throwing things is paramount for my child. Especially since the stuff that looks choicest to throw is the most expensive stuff in the room.

Fortunately, I have yet to make friends with those who own an ancient Ming vases.
Being lowbrow has its advantages.

Dealing with challenging emotions is made even harder since Kiddo doesn’t want to admit they exist. We do ‘feelings’ exercises every day, and he is quick to point out there is no such thing as anger or sadness. A transcript of a typical conversation follows: 

Me: How do you feel when someone won’t play with you? 

Kiddo: I feel happy! 

Me: You’re happy when someone won’t play with you? 

Kiddo: Yes. I feel happy. 

Me: I would feel sad or angry if my friend wouldn’t play with me. 

Kiddo: No, you are happy. 

Me: Show me a sad face. 

Kiddo: No. I am not sad. I am happy. 

Then he gives me a big fake smile to show how happy he is while plugging his ears to avoid hearing anymore negativity, as evidence below:

The school photographer charged me mucho bucks for this.
 They found out I express my unhappiness much better than my son does.

Kiddo’s dislike for negativity extends to the written word ... specifically the word ‘not’. At school as they study contractions, he makes a big stink about even laying eyes upon that word. When he reads out loud, he covers all nots with his hand. Words like ‘didn’t’ and ‘won’t’ are fine. But woe unto you if that three-lettered obscenity crosses his path. 

It got so bad last year that long car trips turned into a screaming nightmare. I never realized how many signs proliferate our highways that contain the word ‘not’, and my son greeted every last one of them like the coming of zombies.

A gazillion of these, summer vacation 2014. I counted.

Now we have encountered a new enemy in the battle against negativity. Subtraction. Kiddo wants nothing to do with it, and it has nothing to do with the usual general angst against school and homework. 

I know this because he will do addition all day long without a fuss. He counts by tens, learns about money value, and puts things into sets, never batting an eye at the work. But show him a minus sign and the apocalypse is on.


A shot of my son’s school during benchmark testing last week.

He’s gotten to the point of writing hilarious notes to his teacher. On his last math worksheet, the top half was filled with addition problems. The bottom half was all subtraction. The top half of the page was answered with great accuracy. On the bottom half, he scrawled ‘Coming Soon’ rather than work subtraction. 

I’m an awful mother, I suppose. Rather than trying to discuss the necessity of doing his work, I erupted into laughter and put the paper in the ‘save’ stack. That’s definitely my kid. 

It would be nice if we could follow Kiddo’s example and erase all the painful emotions, the ‘nots’, and negativity of life. At the very least, maybe he’ll show us how to find the positives in everything. If there’s one thing Kiddo has demonstrated in his 8 years on Earth, it’s that he not only learns but teaches as well. I’m taking notes.

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