How to Say No

October 6, 2016

I knew we should have studied before Robert went for his swimming instruction.  But we didn’t.  I got a call from a distressed close friend and talked for over an hour.  There was no time for learning before the swimming lesson.  There was no much time after the lesson either.  Robert returned after 7PM , ate his dinner, and wanted to study.  “Work, work”, he said and that meant learning.  I asked him to take a shower first. During his time in the bathroom I planned to reduce the number of worksheets to two or three.  And that is what I did.  I would rather avoid any teaching that evening, but I knew that with Robert’s OCD it was not possible.  So aiming at only completing two or three easy worksheets seemed like a fair solution.  There was one page from Saxon Math.  With the exception of one problem (finding the measure of the third angle in the triangle) all other problems Robert could solve easily and quickly.  Then we had two pages from Fun Deck &More.  Oral exercises in answering “yes” and “no” questions and “what” questions.  Although in the past, Robert not once demonstrated confusion with “yes” and “no” answers,  recently he seemed on a good track so  exercises should not take much time.

And they didn’t.  But Robert was not satisfied with this amount of learning. He knew that something was missing and soon he found three pages from Social Studies grade 3. It was the  chapter Communities Have Rules. So we went through that as well.  It was 10 PM and I was tired.  Very tired.  But Robert was not giving up yet.  He knew that we didn’t read the following chapter from Horizon Reading to Learn.  He searched for the pages with questions to the lesson 123.  “Read, read, read” he said as he was pulling them from the pile I had hidden them.

I tried to say”no”.  I was tired. It was very late.  But I couldn’t.  I knew I would have to be very strong to refuse such demand.  I knew it would take at least 20 -30 minutes to convince Robert that it was too late for such an endeavor.  I knew that not reading  would leave Robert  anxious.  Too anxious to sleep.  Besides, there was something in the expression on Robert’s face that melted my resolve in a second.  He really wanted to read.

And so we did.

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