Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Jacket of Rebellion

I originally posted this blog in November 2009. However the jacket issue has once again raised its ugly head. I am totally convinced that when classifying teenagers that biologists should create an entire subspecies just for them. While they may fall under mammalia-homo-sapiens, maybe teenageus-pain-in-the-buttus should be included.

I have come to the conclusion that highschoolboy has reached that apex of teenage insanity that all the childhood experts warn you about. In the past I have regaled you with stories replete with references to the eye-rolling, "my mom is an idiot" body slump, sassy mouthed, girl obsessed video game playing teenager that my highschooler has turned into. However, we are not going to have the "skip a class" moment because I have already threatend him within an inch of his computer and playstation/nintento/Xbox and any other electronic gadget he has attached as an appendage. However, the reason that I say it is now official that he is a full-fledged member of that class of mid-level pre-adult persons is because he is now engaged in activities better described as "cutting off your nose to spite your face."

Let me explain. highschoolboy doesn't like to do anything I tell him. I don't know if it is because I am a bit of a helicopter parent due to his issues or he is just trying to break out in order to develop that adult seperation from mom. Or maybe he is just being ornery. But this morning I told him to put on his jacket. Now we have been telling him to put on a jacket since the leaves turned. He is flatly refusing to listen. It's just amazing that his jacket has become the symbol of rebellion in our home. Let me tell you that the entire episode will be better undertood if you have the history of the progression of the clothes battle.

First he wanted to not stop wearing shorts earlier in the year. I figured that it was an attempt to hold onto the summer when he didn't have too much stress. He also liked wearing the shorts because they are more comfortable than his jeans. There is definitely a sensory issue happening there. So I got him to wear sweat pants instead. OK. so now it is colder and I convinced hm to wear long sleeve shirts, they are soft as well, instead of his polos. I know that many autistic children need to have a specific date on the calendar to switch their clothing routines, but I am not sure that this is that kind of moment. It is not something he has done before, so I am chalking it up to his wanting to be in control of his wardrobe just like any other teenager.

Well the next thing I told him was the jacket. It is now 30 degress outside and he needs to wear a jacket. He huffed and puffed, but I saw him take it with him. As he goes to get out of the car the jacket is not on his body. He conveniently left it in the car and ran into the school. OK, he doesn't venture outside during the day, but a jacket would be a good thing if there was a firedrill or emergency where he would be outside. So the next day I reminded him that he needed his jacket and not to leave it in the car. I was on to him and he didn't like that. Did he think I wouldn't see the jacket in the backseat of the car? Teenage think is not all that thought out.

So here we are in the car this morning and I am dropping him off at school. I told him to take his jacket. He gets out and waives. The stinker has wrapped the jacket around his neck like a scarf. He has flatly refused to put it on. He didn't even throw it over his shoulders. He made no attempt or pretense that it was going on his body what so ever. But he is wearing it in some fashion so I guess he did technically listen. I just need to be more specific next time: "put the jacket on your body with your arms through the armholes-with the zipper in front" kind of specific.

Now we know that highschoolboy is stubborn to a fault. He gets something in his craw and doesn't let go one iota. He is determined to do as he pleases. I could let him not wear a jacket, but in the era of H1N1 and the risk its poses to healthy teenagers I am not about to let this one go. However, I started to think about highschoolboy and what was really going on with him. I know this is not an aspie issue. I know my son well enough to know that this particular issue is not an outgrowth of his autism. In fact, I would venture to guess that if it was his autism in play he would wear the damn jacket because it would be part of his structure. No, I really think this is normal teenage pain-in-the-ass mentality. He has morphed from that cute adorable child in his Winnie-the-Pooh costume into a hormonal, obnxious, rude pre-adult who thinks that nothing can happen to him and brokers no interference in his decision making. I understand that this is a normal stage for him. I understand that he wants independence. I even understand that I am a real embarassment to him, even if he does waive good bye when I drop him off. But when does it go from being normal teenage actions to them just being morons? Or is it sometimes actually one in the same?

I have to say this is a new one for me. At every stage of his development highschoolboy has had an aspie overtone to his actions so there was some way around the issue and someway to address it wthout being head on. I have always found that that was the best way to deal with him. He then comes to his own conclusions and does what is the best thing. But now, I am dealing with a fully underdeveloped frontal teenage lobe that will not cooperate and does not filter consequences and actions as part of the same process. Unfortuantely it seems, the only way to attack the issue is head on..

I do hate having to make this an issue. But there are consequences to getting sick besides feeling really crummy. Missing school, at least a week with the regular flu, never mind the H1N1, when he is already having such a hard time would make it just so much worse for him. And believe you me, that amount of stress he doesn't need. He just really doesn't see that. Like I said no projection of action, and consequences. So what is left. I guess I have to turn into mommy-bitch once again. Why?Because its still my job to make sure he doesn't flounder.

They say as your teen pulls away you have to pull them back. I don't think the experts were talking about jacket wearing as much as they were drugs, friends and unsafe sex. Drugs he knows that with his meds it will kill him to take anything illegal or without a doctor's discussion. Friends he has a nice friend and doesn't like mean people. Unsafe sex, well, he needs a girlfriend first, but we talk about protection and the school does a good job with sex education too. Who would have thought that a damn jacket would be highschoolboy's rebellion? It's actually really quite funny when you think about it. Unless of course, if he gets really sick.

Until next time,