You know how in Lord of the Rings, the whole craziness with the One Ring started because the King of a King of a King didn’t just get rid of the darn thing when he had the chance? The King’s name was Isildur, and the Ring was titled ‘Isildur’s Bane’ because of his doomed choice. We may not have the One Ring in this house, but we do have Scout’s iPod.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPod. I have an iTouch and it is my lifeline, no doubt. Where would I be without my music, my calendar, my Word Warp game?? The difference between my iTouch and Scout’s is that I can put it down and walk away when need be, without a complaint. At this point, I’m about ready to toss Scout’s iPod right out the window.
Scout has always been obsessed with anything electronic. TV, computer, computer games. Which of course is quite normal in this day and age, Aspie or not– I dare to say we are all addicted in some form or another. Last Christmas all he wanted was a Nintendo DS –a handheld computer game that you can take anywhere and everywhere. We had already made our rule of ‘no electronics during the week’ throughout the school year because we figured it would result in less distraction from the things that are truly important to do…you know, homework, after-school activities, dinner with your family… Those things were all getting rushed through just to get to the beloved electronic of choice. Then when it was time to turn off said electronic, we had more whine than Orson Welles. (we will sell no wine before it’s time.) So the idea of Scout having an electronic device that COULD go anywhere and everywhere with him didn’t strike me as such a grand idea.
However, I am also realistic. In this day and age it’s pretty hard to get away from this stuff. If you don’t have it at your house, a friend certainly has it at theirs. And it really does bring Scout so much joy, which in his anxiety-ridden life is something that is definitely needed. We had a long talk with him, telling him that if indeed he was going to get a hand-held game there would be some definite rules to go along with having one. We ended up getting him the Touch because we figured it was more useful with the music on it as well, and would last him longer. Plus new games for that are much cheaper and easier to get!
At first he dealt with the rules very well. He was just so happy to have it that they seemed like a fair trade. Now so much time has gone by that the privilege has gone right out the window. (like I wish the iTouch could.) All I hear all week long are very audible sighs and mutterings about how Scout just can’t WAIT for the weekend to play his games again. The weekend comes and every chance the boy gets he’s on that thing, and asking for a new game. All the while complaining that the weekend is too short. Monday morning he climbs into my bed and the first thing out of his mouth is “I don’t want to go to school! 5 more days until I can play my iPod!” His world revolves around the damn thing!
Recently he’s tearfully confessed to sneaking some games in after he’s gone to bed. We try to turn all of those applications off at night but sometimes we forget one! The iPod has been temporarily removed for a night or two and us parents worry about his ability to resist giving in to temptation when he knows something is wrong. This morning he came up and told me that he played again last night…only to laugh and say, “Just kidding, Mom!” Needless to say, I did not find that joke funny.
I knew I should have stuck to my original gut-feeling and just avoided this hand-held gaming thing all-together. Coreman thinks the solution may be to actually let him play a bit here and there on school nights, when everything else is done–the idea being that maybe it won’t be such a big deal on the weekends then. I just don’t know, I can’t help but feel like that wouldn’t work on Scout like it probably would on most neurotypical kids. The problem is that more than likely Scout will NEVER get it out of his system…at least until it’s replaced by another obsession that takes over his life. sigh.
Any suggestions, dear Aspie parents??? Short of throwing the device into the fiery crack of doom, WWYD??