Carson was my assistant coach in a recent basketball game.
Because his brother’s games are a little later in the evening, Carson has only been to one game this year. While warming up, Carson came out on the court to help rebound. When it came time for the game to start, he had no interest in sitting in the stands with his mom. As a result, he helped me on the sidelines as the official “water bottle protector,” the title I gave him.
As is the case with most kids on the spectrum, they want to be involved and included. He wants to be like all the other kids, although he’s not and is limited by his disabilities. While he has a nice jump shot of his own (even if it’s between his legs), Carson has no interest in competitive sports. He wants the ball when he wants the ball and will do whatever it takes to get it. The rules are not important to him. Beckett can attest to that as he has been tackled and slapped multiple times by his brother in many sports activities over the years. Beckett seems to enjoy the rough and tumble style of play for the most part.
During this particular game, Carson was a bit of a distraction to me on the sidelines, but he was well behaved. He would only sit down when I would. If I was standing up saying something to the players, he was right by my side gesturing. If I was kneeling down, he was hugging me from behind. Whenever I needed a little space, I would ask him where the water bottles were. He would point them out lined up perfectly on the floor. The bottles were inconveniently lined up many feet away from the bench for reasons only known to him.
When one player grabbed his bottle, and sat down on the bench, Carson made it known his water bottle needed to be put where it was when he was done. That’s how I explained his gesturing as the player was not familiar with how nonverbals kids communicate through body language. When the bottle in question was not returned to its home, Carson was sure to grab it and line it up perfectly with the others. Once that was taken care of, everything was right in his world again.
While I thought everything went well with him on the sidelines, Pam, who was in the stands, had a different take. She said she was a wreck because he didn’t sit down the entire time and I wasn’t paying enough close attention to him. That may be true and may explain why I was hesitant to even look her way during the game, but it was uneventful, which is a plus.
It also reminded me how far our guy has come in recent years. There was a time, maybe even last year, when I never would have even thought of having him on the court with me. Fear of an unexpected behavior or a tantrum would have prevailed. He’s much more predictable now. He just wants to be included.
At the end of the night at bedtime, I asked him if he wanted to play basketball next year because he seems to enjoy the sport. He was adamant that he did not. He just isn’t into the competitive team thing. He seems to know his limits. Instead, he bearhugged me and motioned with his finger at me and him, telling me he wanted to be my assistant coach, though.
Whining gets on my nerves like nothing else.
Whether its adults or my own kids, I find unwarranted whining annoying. I just can’t stand a “woe is me” attitude because someone always has it harder.
There are times in our kids’ lives when they rightly have their feelings hurt or are mistreated, resulting in an understandable need to express themselves about this or that. In Beckett’s case, there are times when he just needs to be heard to get something off his chest. I can respect that.
However, there are other times when he simply whines about aspects of life he doesn’t enjoy. It’s a complaint session. Rather than study for a reading test and get his vocabulary sentences done as soon as he gets home, he would much rather play soccer or basketball outside, play video games or talk to the neighbors. He knows we want the homework done first. That’s always been a rule for us because he usually has sports practices and games later in the evening. We have learned delaying homework will result in a lot of issues for everyone.
Beckett simply wants things his way all the time. I can understand that desire, but we often remind him life is not always about what he wants. Beckett doesn’t seem to understand that and recently mentioned he looks forward to becoming an adult so, “I can do whatever I want whenever I want.” I was quick to let him know that’s not at all what adulting is about. It’s the opposite of his assumption most of the time in my opinion.
At one point, after 30 minutes of debating, I told him the incessant whining about everything must stop. He said he was just “standing up for himself,” by questioning and expressing his concerns. I said we would have to agree to disagree on that.
He responded by asking if I had decided whether his homework could wait for so he could play outside. Silly me, but I thought we had just covered that.