2/23/10

Who is the smart one here?

It's hard for other people to understand why I and the other antagonists struggle so with Orangeboy. It's not that we don't like him or appreciate him- well, I can't really speak for his siblings on that. But I can appreciate certain things about him. I understand that he thinks a little differently from the average kid, his interests and priorities are a bit outside the typical, and I know he is very smart in his own way. He can be very funny - although usually unintentionally - and sometimes he is even polite and helpful.
The struggle comes because he IS so smart and normalish. I just cannot fully reconcile in my mind the discrepancies in his functioning and behaviors. How can he go to school and be in the gifted program and make straight A's and yet I have to explain to him over and over how to properly wash his hands, how to anticipate when he might need to use the restroom, how to open the inner bag in the cereal box to get the cereal to pour, and that our little dogs (who have never bitten him) are not trying to attack him they are just growling at eat other playfully?
It seems like things that are simple for most are impossibly confusing for Orangeboy, but things that are challenging for most are simple for him.
He likes math and numbers, as I've mentioned before, and he can create long columns of multi-digit numbers and then add them in his head and he creates complicated scoring formulas for games on paper that only he understands. From Sunday school, he can remember details from Bible stories that even the adults usually forget; like the King's name and how many were in his army and what river they camped near.

But then, at home, I go and do something silly like ask him to take his sheets off his bed so that I can wash them. He goes to his room and doesn't come back. I go to check on him and he is playing the computer and has taken everything off the bed and thrown it on the floor.
"I meant for you to BRING the sheets to me."
"Oh."
"Can you get your sheets and bring them downstairs?"

A couple of minutes later I hear him groaning and hmmpfing and I look to see him trying to haul a mound of bedding down the steps - comforter, pillows, sheets, extra blanket, mattress pad - everything.
Me: "No, no. JUST the SHEETS. I only need to wash the sheets and pillowcases."
He: "(whining) I don't knooowwww!"
Me: "You don't know what sheets are?"
He: "No!"
Me: "Sigh. You know, this isn't the very first time you've done this. I thought you could do it without help this time."

So I explain to him that the sheets are the thin, cloth things on the bed. They are called sheets because they are thin like sheets of paper. I tell him that I just want to wash the fitted sheet, the top sheet, and the pillowcase. I explain what a pillowcase is. It encases the pillow and matches the sheets.

The next time I ask him to bring his sheets for washing, he brings the fitted sheet along with the mattress pad but not the top sheet.

"Ok, close, but this bulky thick thing is called a mattress pad. I don't need to wash it right now, but I do need the top sheet. The top sheet looks like this fitted sheet except it is flat and doesn't have the elastic fitted corners."

The NEXT time he brings the sheets and pillow without the pillowcase.
"I need the pillowCASE not the pillow."

He sighs every time I correct him, as if I am the most ridiculously picky and demanding person in the world. And yet, if I say it's 8:00 and it is actually 8:03, he will correct me. And if say we're having pasta for supper, he'll ask "what kind?"; to which I respond, "What does it matter? It's all the same except for the shape!"

One weekend I checked his room and said, "I think I really need to get your comforter laundered. Could you ... oh never mind, I'll do it."

And my parents wonder why I don't get the kids to help more around the house.

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