A few minutes into watching the Super Bowl as a family, I became doubtful my boys were going to make it beyond the first quarter.
While there was sleep to worry about on a school night with the game starting well after 6:30 p.m., I’m referring more to the patience level it would require to even get through the national anthem with all of us in the same room.
Carson immediately insisted we all stand for God Bless America and remain upright for the Star-Spangled Banner. That was fine and probably the right thing to do actually, but since it was his little brother’s idea it came with reluctance from Beckett. Carson’s insistence quickly became physical when Beckett started to get his lean on some nearby furniture near the end of Gladys Knight’s beautiful rendition. Screams from Beckett that Carson was bullying him by grabbing him and encouraging him to stand up made me laugh initially but quickly grew on my nerves. I was back laughing again when Beckett wondered aloud whether a bird was going to fly out of Knight’s hairpiece.
Then came the kickoff and boredom quickly set in. With the game a dud, Carson was quickly on his iPad until his headphones died, while Beckett was busy testing my knowledge on a wide range of topics, from professional basketball players and my height at 10 years old to his teachers’ educational backgrounds and why middle school didn’t have recess.
I honestly think the kids would have been on to other things if Pam hadn’t found a commercial bingo game to play during the breaks in the game. The concept was you put a chip on the block that represented your commercial. For example, if an Audi commercial came on, anyone who had a block with that name on it put a chip. That game kept their interest until I won, leading to complaints of cheating and unfairness.
By the time halftime rolled around, Carson was ready for bed. After the halftime show, I told Pam I would pause the game, so she wouldn’t miss it. I then put away my phone for the night so I wouldn’t get updates or texts from buddies about the happenings.
I figured I would hang out with Beckett, who in turn said he was going to his room to play video games before it was time for him to go to bed. Rather than join him, I let him go because he was annoying me with his constant interruptions with questions about anything but football. I then sat in silence for the next 15 minutes and was asleep before Pam came back downstairs. I woke up from my quick nap and went upstairs to make sure Beckett was in bed.
When I said good night, he asked me if the Patriots were still ahead 10-3. It turns out he had been seeking updates from Alexa about the game and didn’t remember that I had paused the game, so Pam wouldn’t miss any of it. When I came back to check on him about 30 minutes later, he was still awake and said he couldn’t believe the Patriots won another Super Bowl.
There were still 10 minutes left in the game, of course, but he had again forgotten we were behind real time.
Carson’s latest obsession is his FitBit.
For those who don’t know, FitBit is a company that offers numerous models of activity trackers that double as watches. They allow individuals to track their steps, heartbeats per minute, calories burned, distance traveled and sleep patterns. I’ve had one for five years. Beckett got one a couple years ago, and Carson received his new one on Christmas. It was clearly his favorite gift.
Many kids on the spectrum are prone to obsessing about certain things they find enjoyable. They like a routine and tend to fixate on objects, people or activities they like. The FitBit is definitely a source of focus and affection for him currently.
One of Carson’s obsessions throughout his life has been numbers. He really likes math in general, especially data and number comparisons. That’s why his FitBit and the accompanying app that allows him to track his motions are fascinating to him. When I first showed him his stats on his online dashboard, I could see the joy as he clicked on all the various data points.
While it can become a bit of distraction at times, we like that he enjoys the FitBit. It gets him moving and keeps him active. When he doesn’t reach his daily step goal, it’s a big deal to him. That’s why one night he made 10 laps around the house right before a shower to pick up some late steps because he was close to his goal.
The only negative of this new love would be he’s extremely competitive about. I wouldn’t normally view that as an adverse thing, but he can’t stand if someone is getting steps and he’s not. He makes me take mine off when he goes to bed. When he’s showering, he wants me to wear his FitBit band on my free wrist so he can get credit for any steps I take while he’s getting clean.
He’s not above a little cheating so long as he gets the steps and it helps him reach his daily goal.