Tea Almost Together

A few weeks ago, I attended workshop on issues related to executive function. It was a nice review of the topic I was already familiar with. What was new for me and quite interesting was what the presenter said almost on the margin of the main topic. She remember her former Quaker School which held weekly hour of silence. The oldest children came to the hall first and stayed for the full hour. The youngest came last and remained for only a few minutes.
If this digression caught my attention it was because,that is precisely what Robert needs. Staying a few minutes silently, without moving, without watching TV, without asking for one of the same thing over and over. A few minutes to just look around, contemplate (sort of), and try to be at peace with himself.
Of course I knew that even five minutes of sitting and doing nothing would be too much. Although in the past, I frequently gave Robert a choice, “Robert do you want to study or do nothing?” and he kept answering, “Do nothing.”, he really didn’t mean that. Neither did I. I wanted Robert to leave me alone for a few minutes and Robert wanted to just watch Netflix or DVD.
“Do nothing”,meant that I wouldn’t have to do anything with Robert.
That was by the way one of the most useful phrases I stole from Winnie the Pooh.
So I tried to keep Robert seated for a minute, maybe two. Very hard. For him and for me. I gave up. For now.
Yesterday, after we finished shoveling the snow, I asked Robert if he wanted hot tea. Without really thinking, he said, “Yes.”
So, I made hot tea for the three of us, took it to living room, to drink it together. Not the dinner, where everybody is kept at the table by the abundance of food, but the drink Robert doesn’t even like too much. The drink you sip between periods of light conversation,
or silence. It had to be very awkward for Robert. He ran away a few times, only to be called back. He had many excuses to get up: bathroom, tissue, taking a teaspoon back to the kitchen sink. But for the most of the fifteen minutes he was with us and he drank all his hot tea.

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