Monday, December 20, 2010

A Little Dose of Reality

Well those pesky executive functioning skills are rearing their ugly head again. You remember those skills, the ones where your child learns to hang up their coat, put on their shoes before they leave the house (hopefully their pants as well), organize their school binder and their cubby, with increased awareness, as they get older, of necessary life skills, all with the desired intention of having a well ordered successful life. PUT LAUGH TRACK HERE.

Sometimes I do think that no matter what we do and no matter how hard we try, our kids are just not going to get it. Recently collegeman has taken it upon himself to organize our emergency supplies. We do keep food stored away in case we are snowed in and the food did come in handy last year during the snowicane (here). But in the ensuing aftermath of that 5-day forced camping trip, we never went back and reviewed and replenished the stock. Truth be told, I had so much going on this year and so did hubby (aka Wise Old Sage or WOS) that we just didn’t have the mind set for rifling through everything.

So here we are at the advent of another winter and no one had ventured towards the emergency food supply since last winter. WOS in looking for a project for collegeman to do during his 6 week hiatus from school, came up with the idea that collegeman should go through all the emergency supplies. Honestly he half-handedly mentioned it to collegeman, not thinking that he would actually take it to heart right then and there. Normally it takes days of pushing and weeks of leaving the message up on the whiteboard for collegeman to remember to do anything, never mind such a big project. But lo and behold, the other day collegeman sort-of disappeared.

We had thought that he was going to spend time doing laundry (which he gets paid for) and playing World of Warcraft. We had not really thought that he was going to take on any major project especially so soon after finals. Heck the grades haven’t even been posted and he is still sleeping basically round the clock. But no he wasn’t playing on his computer and he wasn’t watching Tivo. Finally it dawned on us to look for him in the basement. Thought that he might be doing laundry or working out on the crosstrainer.

Lo and behold, there he was in the basement with dozens and dozens of canned vegetables, raviolis, and assorted what-nots surrounding him. You see collegeman decided that he had better get the job done, organizing the emergency supplies, now with the winter upon us. I think last year’s adventure had made somewhat of an impression upon him. Camping is not his forte and I suspect that it never will be. He decided that he didn’t want to be caught unprepared so he began to sift through the supplies.

Now what he had not thought about was that the expiration dates of all the food was on the big boxes that all the cans came in. He decided that he had to look at each and every can to make sure that it was not past its expiration date. I heard the commotion in the basement and went down the stairs. WOS turned to me and said go back upstairs. You really don’t want to be here. He doesn’t have to tell me twice that I don’t have to perform any particular chore. If someone else wants to volunteer I am all for it. So up the stairs I went, to watch TV and knit. Meanwhile they were downstairs for the entire day. Going over and over every can and every bar and every bottle of water. I finally saw WOS again right before dinner.

He looked like a man who had just been through the ringer. He was glassy eyed, his hair was disheveled and the look on his face was one of sheer amazement. The process of going through all that food had been made so much harder because collegeman did not use any executive functioning nor organization skills when he first began the process, so WOS had to fix the mess/problem/chaos (balagan) before they had even begun.

In his freshman year of highschool collegeman’s special education teacher kept trying to teach him to “work smart, not hard.” It seems that collegeman has a long way to go in order to figure out the direct route and the easiest route to take to accomplish his goals. Working hard has never been collegeman’s issue. Every experience is new for him and as I have written before it is generalizing those specifics that makes what these children face on a daily basis so much harder than it has to be at times.

Meanwhile the Wise Old Sage, in his wild-eyed state, after having dealt with his first-born’s inability to understand the mechanics of simplicity turned to me frighteningly concerned about his child’s lack of forethought, reason and functionality on even this simple task. He is very worried that at this present time, while collegeman is terrific in school and terrific at learning, he has no common sense and lacks practicality smarts. He adamantly said:

See I knew that without having to be told. But sometimes it’s not bad that they, the spouses who spend most of their days in an office earning the living that keeps everyone fed, clothed and housed, actually end up with that first hand knowledge of what you already knew to be a fact.

Until next time,


P.S. I am beginning to transform hubby's moniker into Wise Old Sage or WOS. I figure that if that is how his sons see him then he is due the title.