Thursday, May 2, 2013

Celebrating the word "JERK!"....well, sort of.

The other day I received a behavioral note from Aidan's science teacher in the form of an email that most parents dread.  Aidan is a pretty well behaved child who has his moments like all other kids do, but in school he is usually spot on.  I still endlessly brag about him winning the "best manners" award in kindergarten many moons ago.  Notes are something I have come to expect with my youngest one, Owen, who is neuro typical and seems to be a 30 year old man trapped in a 6 year olds body, but for Aidan, this was definitely out of the norm.

So yesterday morning as I laid in bed after my alarm so graciously awakened me at 6am, I checked my email from the day before and there it was.  I could already see the first few words in the email and knew it wasn't a "we just love you and your whole family" email.  The main point of the email read:

"Aidan called another friend from the class a jerk"

First, I had to chuckle a bit at the polite way his teacher interjected the phrase "another friend".  If name calling is flying around, I doubt the friendship is intact at the moment, however I appreciated her optimism under the current circumstances.

I went into Aidan's room where he was slowly getting up himself and asked what had happened in science class yesterday.  Aidan being Aidan fessed up right away.  He doesn't lie.  Like most kids with Asperger's they just tell you the truth whether you want to hear it or not.  Sometimes that can be a great attribute and other times, not so great.  What had instigated the science class showdown was a piece of notebook paper.  Aidan had asked the kid next to him for a piece because he was out but was told "NO!" That response then precipitated the verbal assault; "JERK!".  Immediately after Aidan let that word fly so eloquently out of his mouth, the same kid went to the teacher and told on Aidan.

Now me being a very sarcastic person by nature, I immediately asked Aidan what any mother would.  "Did you then call him a narc?"  He didn't know what that meant but it seemed to be the next relevant follow up question.  Then I got to thinking.  This was the first time Aidan had shot back verbally at another kid besides his brother.  He was able to recognize that this kid was in fact being a jerk, and expressed it. Although Aidan is able to sometimes know when he is being picked on, it is definitely a skill we are still working on.  Like most ASD kids, Aidan struggles with picking up on social cues and teasing from his peers, but this time, he was spot on!  I did a little happy dance then ran to tell my husband (Scott).  We both took that moment in the wee morning hours to stop and appreciate Aidan's recovery process.

Of course I ended up doing the "mom" thing over breakfast and told Aidan he can't call people names, even if they are being unkind.  He understood and promised me he wouldn't do it again in that," mom you are boring me to death with this speech", voice.  However, I have to admit, it was a proud moment being able to celebrate the word "jerk", even if I had to do it quietly.