Saturday, March 10, 2012


How does a ten-year-old exercise his autonomy?

What does he do to assert himself? Refuse to eat his dinner? Is he mouthy? What is typical defiance at this age?

In my house, it has taken the form of bus refusal this week.

Our older son has decided that he can lie down on his belly across his seat on the bus.

"C'mon, big guy," the female attendant said to him when he did this. "You have to sit up."

Our son didn't budge. He rarely moves for a sweet voice. Sweet voices are usually attached to sweet people, and, in his opinion, sweet people pose no real threat. Suddenly, all eyes were on me.

I'll admit it. I silently was cursing as I made my way back onto the bus.

"SIT UP!" I said sternly. It worked, and I felt like I could rule the world. For good measure, I sprinkled a little extra dust of my authority on him by saying, "You sit on your bum until you get to school and stop this nonsense!"

Take that.

As I turned around to exit the bus in all of my greatness, my child immediately flipped onto his belly and spread out across his seat. That little stinker. I whipped around to face him and called out his full name, which every parent does when he/she really means business, and I started counting.

"FIVE, FOUR, THREE..." By the number three, he had returned to an upright position and was sitting nicely in his seat. I have no idea why this works. Perhaps it is because my children have seen me grow fangs and breathe fire? I'm not sure.

Gee, it would be awfully embarrassing if they ever called my bluff!

Feeling invincible yet again, I turned to leave the bus only to discover that this child, in his way, was thumbing his nose to the authority in his life. Once again, he had flipped over onto his belly.

"SIT UP!" I (almost) yelled.

He sat.

"No tummy!" I ordered.

"Tummy!" He said.

"NO tummy," I corrected.

"Tummy," he corrected as well.

"If you lie on your tummy, no pool," I threatened, remembering that he had wanted to visit a local pool after school that day. Yeah, fat chance this one will work. This child does not understand a verbal threat of his present actions leading to a distant consequence. I was losing, and everyone around me knew it.

"Pool," he said.

"Well, you won't get it, buddy, unless YOU SIT YOUR BUM ON THE SEAT AND RIDE THAT WAY TO SCHOOL!" I instructed. With that, I held my breath, turned around and walked. I walked deliberately, feeling the weight of each foot as it connected with the floor, wondering what was going to happen.

I exited the bus and watched it back out of our driveway. And, then I exhaled. Whew. It worked. I had won. Yet another example of some excellent parenting. Strong. Firm and convincing. I showed him that I am large and in charge. Yessir.

These thoughts were swirling in my head as I stepped inside our home and made my way to the coffee machine. I still had one son at home with school phobia/severe anxiety, but, to be sure, special needs were not going to beat me today!

The telephone call was completely unexpected. How long had they been gone--two minutes? Transportation headquarters called to let me know that the school bus was reaturning with our older son. Apparantly, as soon as the bus had pulled away from our house, he tried to lie down on his stomach. He was seat hopping, climbing over the tops from seat to seat, in order to find a seat where he could get away with this. His little bus was chaos on wheels.

Back outside I went to collect my defiant one. We stood face-to-face when the doors of the bus parted.

"No tummy," I said.

"Inside," he said to me. And he stepped off the bus and walked into our house.

I could tell that it was going to be an interesting week.


  1. Good solid parenting in the face of inability to comprehend consequences seems to be a wash. *sigh* So, bus riding~out. Going to school at all~out. Are you thinking home schooling~in? There goes your sanity break! That's a tough call, really tough.
    God loves you Amy and so do I.
    Those little angels sure know how to work it, don't they? Special needs has never meant not smarter than the average bear. They have to be to survive. So maybe you're teaching them survival skills! Yeah, let's go with that! ♥

    1. Jo, this was one of those weeks when I thought for the millionth time, thank goodness I don't have a desk job. I'd be the worst employee going! These kids!!!Trying to get one to ride the bus to and from school...trying to get the other to even step foot in school...GOOD GRAVY!! I'm not qualified to homeschool the older son. He needs so much. I've considered homeschooling the younger son again. I was doing it just a year ago at this time. Not sure what's going to happen.

  2. Lol! Great post! So glad to hear another mom fess up to fangs and breathing fire! I would like one day when I don't reveal both!

    1. They don't come out as often as they used to, and my kids sure do remember them! Hahahaha!

  3. Gosh you're such a good writer. I'm just speechless.

    1. Thanks! And, so are you! Besides that, I'm ashamed to remind you that English is my first and ONLY language. You can write in more than one...

  4. i can feel your stress, amy. defiance requires consistency.. which you maintained, yet it doesn't always work.... so how was the rest of your day? your week?

    1. This was a challenge! He did it the rest of the week! And, each time, he seemingly won by getting a nice chauffered drive to and from school in our van. Frustrating for him to hear all we said but to do what he wanted anyway! By Friday afternoon, school told him if he didn't ride properly on the bus, he would not get his i0ad at home, and mom was not coming to get him. It was rough going, but it worked. I have no idea what will happen Monday...

  5. Good job on trying! I ended up having to take my oldest all the time to and from school - he was kicked off the bus. Which was safer for the other students on the bus. Can your son understand consequences? Mine could to a point, but I don't know if he would understand that not sitting down on the bus would equate to not going to the pool. Well, he might have understood, but definitely not liked it, and made the afternoon even more difficult. My son learned quickly that not behaving in school meant getting picked up early by mom, so if he didn't want to do what he was told in school, he acted out. *sigh* I wish I had some magic words for you.

    1. Yes, you absolutely see my challenge here.

      Our son understands consequences...the sooner the better...but also knows that in this case there isn't much people can/will do. The worst that would happen was that Mom would drive him. Woot! I did not let Transportation back out of driving this point he only posed a minimal threat to the aides which I felt could be eliminated with staffing changes. However, that didn't take away the problem. He still was exercising his independence. I hope the threat to take away his iPad with poor behavior works...

  6. I hate those stubborn streaks!! Drives me bananas. When I start counting it is because I am that close to a meltdown myself. LOL


  7. Hahahaha!!!! Our older son is driven by numbers. I can't can't UP with him because, well, that never ends, right? But for some reason if I count DOWN he will act immediately. Unfortunately, as you also saw, he chose to reverse that act almost as quicly. Grrrrr.