When Aaron has an ache or a pain, it becomes the center of his conversation and his thoughts. He also thinks that it should become our main focus as well, and he does everything in his power to see that it does just that. Of course, Aaron’s main power is his mouth……..so he talks and talks about his ache or his pain until he himself has become a regular pain……to us. It can be quite an interesting circle in which we find ourselves.
For instance, Aaron’s leg. He bumped his leg on the van at his day group, so he says, and it must have really been painful……..at least to hear him tell it. There were two little open scrapes, too, so band-aids were needed – as was lots of sympathy. I gave sympathy until I was blue in the face, and still he talked and talked and talked about his poor leg. I assured him that his leg was not broken, because he was sure that it was, and that the bruising would heal as would the scrapes. But Aaron is not one to let go of a topic too easily.
“Mom,” he said. “I hurt my leg. When I walk it’s like I bend the bruise.” And he waits for the appropriate sympathetic response.
“Mom,” he said another time. “My leg hurts. It’s like the sore has been spread up.” And he waits once more for the sympathy that he hopes is coming.
“Mom,” he continued yet again. “Did I break my muscle?” And he doesn’t even notice my sigh as he looks yet again for his mother’s soft sympathy. But the sympathy from mom is not as heartfelt and sweet now, he notices. Mom is more to the point now and doesn’t even stop to look at the hurt leg. So he tries another tactic.
“Mom,” he blurted out. “I hate my body!” And with this, Mom’s head jerks up and she looks alarmed. Ah, Aaron thinks……….I got a better response with that one!
“Not my whole body,” he explained, “but my leg part!”
And Mom very nearly took his leg part apart in order to hit him over the head with it! But Aaron didn’t know that, thank goodness, and after a little, partially sympathetic talk he was once again happily assured that Mom did still care about his pathetic leg.
I was very happy when his leg was better and wasn’t the center of Aaron’s universe. However, this morning Aaron said that he threw up some. He also threw up a little yesterday morning. He seems fine and I suspect it may be from all the peanuts that he’s eating at night when he reads before bed. Whether he really threw up this morning is a mystery because I didn’t see it. The fact that it’s Monday and that he has to go to his day group may be more a motivator to him than anything. The throw-up card could come in handy in order to be able to stay at home. And so began his list of symptoms, beginning with the throw-up.
Seeing that this didn’t elicit an immediate “You can stay home today, Aaron” from me, he went to his next malady. “Mom, every now and then right now my head hurts.”
I know, Aaron, but here’s your coffee and I’m sure that will help you feel better.
“Mom, I threw up.”
I know you threw up, Aaron, but I bet that after your shower and your coffee you’ll start feeling much better.
I didn’t challenge or confront him, and I went busily back upstairs to finish getting ready. Soon he was in the bathroom, saying, “Guess what I saw in the mirror this morning?” And with that, he held up his arm to show me………..what? He continued, “See, Mom? Bumps!”
Aaron, those are skin tags and many people have those under their arms.
“They’re not bumps?”
Nope……skin tags. So Aaron disappointingly headed for the shower, returning several more times to talk. I finally asked him if he wanted to stop at Dillon’s on our way to meet his group. He could get something to take with him to eat, I told him. I could see that Aaron was very interested in that prospect, so off he went to take his shower. Having something else to think about rather than throw-up and headaches and skin tags was working wonders.
I felt like we were out of the woods when, after his shower, Aaron stood in my bathroom and talked non-stop about clone armies, Republic Commando, squads……..and then moved on to mutated viruses of various sorts. But there was no talk of his various ailments or that he was too tired to go to Paradigm, and I felt that we were almost over the “I don’t want to go today” hurdles. Some people may call it bribery, but I still always remember what Aaron’s wonderful teacher, Tom, used to say……”Sometimes you have to make it worth their while.” Sometimes re-directing Aaron’s thoughts from his “I don’t want to’s” to something more pleasant is just beneficial to all of us. It may be a cup of coffee, or saying that Jackson can ride in the van with us, or a stop at the store on the way to his group that will help Aaron to turn the corner and to quit obsessing about himself.
Of course, as we walked in the automatic door at Dillon’s, Aaron……in his bright orange shirt………..held both arms out to his sides as the doors opened and actually pushed one a little bit. “Aaron!” I hissed. “Don’t do that!!”
“What, Mom?” he replied. “You don’t want me to be Hercules?” So for two aisles we discussed why Aaron was not Hercules and why I didn’t want him to be Hercules and why couldn’t he be Hercules……..as he grabbed two containers of his favorite croissants and a Gatorade and we stood in the self check-out line, where he gave me a little whack on my behind.
“Aaron!” I hissed again. “Do NOT whack me there!”
“What, Mom?” he again replied. “You don’t want me to hit you on the butt?”
Aaron, stand here and bag your food. And no, I do not want you to hit me there. And don’t ask why again because you know why. Aaron, come here and finish bagging. Aaron, don’t back up into that person behind you. Yes, those skeletons are there for Halloween. Don’t back up! Here, bag your Gatorade! No, don’t take the bags yet. We’re not finished. Aaron, where are you going?
Sigh. Dillon’s seemed like such a good idea when we were at home. I grabbed the receipt and quickly followed Aaron out the doors, thankful that both of his hands were full of grocery bags.
No Hercules this time! But there WILL be a next time. There always is with Aaron.