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Wii Like Mario Now

For those of you who read me, you know that the Nintendo DS proved to be an absolute nightmare on many levels. Stink would obsess about when he could play it next. He’d make the finger movements in class when he should have been working on his writing assignment. He’d make the ever lovely Tarzan “ah ah ah” warble. His eyes would dart up down and round and round like a mad scientist tic-toc clock buzzed on Red Bull.

It didn’t matter how many expectations we’d set in order for him to play the game:

  • pay attention in class
  • no interrupting
  • no complaining over homework

My little gamer would ultimately break his end of the bargain. This resulted in many tears and feelings of shame as I ultimately held onto my end of the bargain which meant NO MARIO.

While I am not a mother who frets over my child’s self-esteem when it comes to doling out uncomfortable consequences (sorry, that’s life, kid) – I found it heartbreaking when I knew from the start he couldn’t control his impulses due to the very machine he was jonesing to play.

We found ourselves in a constant no-win circle. I likened it to telling a junkie they could have a shot of heroin only if they were able to meditate for an hour each day once/week and gain ten pounds back in the process.

It just so happens that I had enough of this Mario B.S D.S. right around the same time the school administration informed us about starting an I.E.P. evaluation for Stink.

Stink cried to mama when I told him that his hand held would be gone by Thanksgiving.

Mama cried to Papa when she was convinced Stink would be labeled as a special needs problem child by Christmas.

Along with the extra emotions and tics that come with Tic Trick or Treat… it was a fun Halloween season at he Frazer domicile.

We all got over ourselves around the time we moved the Christmas tree into the living room late November. The lights on the tree seemed to illuminate the best thing to happen in our house since Mario moved out: Sanity.

You can imagine my dismay, then, when Papa recommended that Santa buy Stink a Wii.  After smacking Rex over the head with a yule log,  I agreed. It made sense that the bigger screen and inability to transport that damn little box from place to place might dissipate tics and hyperactivity. We could buy movement games in addition to his beloved Plumber Lover.

I did provide a caveat though: If it caused any of the same symptoms as the DS, it was going to end quicker than Kim Kardashian’s wedding.

One month in, I’m happy to report that we have seen ZERO of the side effects we’ve seen with the DS. Stink still rushes to play his beloved Mario right after school on Fridays (no screen time during the week) but he’s fine with his 2 hour minimum.

His game time is tied into good behavior at school and home. So far, he’s doing phenomenally.

(Well, he still finds it hysterical to take pictures of his mother’s ass, such as this classic from Christmas Eve, but he’s 9. I’m into refining him into a nice young man, not a saint.)

In even stranger news, we finally heard back from the school about the I.E.P.. Turns out he doesn’t qualify based on high academic test scores and a fine enough ability to interact with others. He’s quirky. He’s odd. He’s stubborn as hell. He needs to curb the interruptions. He spaces out. But he doesn’t need an I.E.P.

I’m telling you, without even joking, that I I’d bet dollars to gluten free doughnuts that this I.E.P. process never would have gotten started if we hadn’t given him that D.S. in the first place last holiday season.

Of course, one will never know, but I’m relieved to know what our path is now. We have a few choices:

  1. $20k art school where he can tap dance his way into improv P.E. and be as quirky as he wants because, hey, we’re paying for teachers to “understand his eccentricities”
  2. Kick his butt into a better classroom management routine where he has consequences and rewards based on behavior

Guess which option we’re choosing?

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About Andrea Frazer

Find me at www.happilytickedoff.com! I'm a produced television, magazine, newspaper and national blog writer available for freelance writing in the areas of faith, parenting, lifestyle and healthcare. In addition to ghostwriting and content creation, I am proud to be publishing my first book. Called "Happily Ticked Off," it is a humorous mom-moir about raising a son with Tourette Syndrome. I can best be described as Erma Bombeck meets Nora Ephron. I live to connect with others through writing, authenticity and just a wee bit of sass.

4 responses »

  1. I am very stubborn and argumentative, and I’ve noticed it in J (and assumed I passed that little gem to him) but now I’m wondering if you consider it a common co-pilot to TS? I know stubborn/defiance is a symptom ADHD (J has no hyperactivity but definitely the AD part). Anyway, would love to hear your thoughts!

    Reply
  2. @Erin – I am not stubborn nor argumentative by nature (I have lots of other demons, but not those) but my husband IS very stubborn. It’s downright MADDENING and something I consider one of his worst traits. (Sorry, Rex. I don’t care if it’s a good business skills, it’s painful in relationships.) That said, Rex is working on it big time. But he did pass this onto Stink.

    My two cents is that it’s part Stink’s disposition, part due to impulse control issues that are such an intricate part of TS. As you likely know, 95% have a co-morbid condition with T.S. which is either OCD or ADHD or both. Dom has the ADHD portion.

    Like your son, the ADHD isn’t shown in hyperactivity but more ADD which, now, is just considered ADHD Inattentive.

    ADHD is the “me me me” disorder – seriously, it’s called that. When you see your son’s reactions based partly on “he can’t help it” then it’s easier to treat. At least for me. It doesn’t mean no consequences or it’s not okay, but I simply know this is part of Stink now and I’m less ready to throw him off the curb with a sign that says “Will work for Talking Back.”

    My challenge now is to find out how to curb this stinkin’ defiance from the inside out. I am doing the diet and supplement deal. But I truly believe his brain chemistry needs altering. I don’t think behavior classes alone are the answer. If you have a bad foot, just learning how to walk on the other one is an option, but why hobble? Why not balance out the feet?

    For this, I have 2 choices:

    1. Meds
    2. Some sort of “brain re-wiring” alternative like Brain Balance, Neurofeedback, Lens, etc.

    Of course #2 is expensive, so for now it’s behavior and consequences, good food, good sleep and positive reinforcement.

    Woooooo… I had more to say than I thought.

    Was this helpful? What do you think, Erin?

    Reply
    • Yes! So helpful! I definitely see Josh’s co-morbid condition as the inattentive (AD) part of ADHD. It literally takes 20 minutes to find and put on shoes in the morning with me slowly losing control of my patience after 72 reminders…He’s better in school, but I notice he’ll drift off during reading group or take a really, really, really long time to just choose a book. Josh also has the arguing/defiance part. For example, when I do finally blow my top (he still doesn’t have his shoes on and I’m dragging him up the hill to the bus) he’ll still be explaining to me why it’s my fault for not putting them on him myself or not feeding him breakfast fast enough, as well as the bus driver’s fault for coming early, etc, etc. I do need to just realize to a certain extent he can’t control it and just lighten up. I mean do you really need shoes for school?! When you say “impulse control” what do you mean? I’d love to understand that detail more…I definitely notice those symptoms with Josh but hadn’t attributed it to the TS, more the ADHD side. Thanks!

      Reply
  3. Nicely done! I’m so glad that you were able to find a workable solution for this and avoid those damned IEP’s.

    Reply

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