Monday, March 23, 2009

Routines and Ruts

I think most kids are routine oriented. Consistency is very secure and comforting. When you are trying to figure out the world, too many surprises can overwhelm a young mind. I have always been a big proponent of a daily routine, and I, myself, am very routine oriented, too. But Garrett takes routine to a whole new level. Things have to be almost exactly the same everyday, or he gets upset. For example, Good Night Moon has to be read to him every nap time and every night or he starts screaming "Goonite Moooooooon!!!" We can read other books, too, but we have to read Good Night Moon.

When he gets home from school at 11:15, he has to listen to the CD with "Hokey Pokey" on it. I'm figuring out that one activity has to lead to another. I used to think that eating lunch triggered the CD, but now I see that coming home from school is the trigger. We were on Spring Break all last week and no Hokey Pokey music was required during lunch. What blissful peace and quiet I enjoyed during lunch. Today was the first day back to school, and when Garrett came home, the first thing out of his mouth was "Hokey Pokey."
Garrett's playtime is also very predictable. He has a limited number of toys that he plays with regularly, and he plays with each toy the exact same way each time. For example, this dump truck:

I bought that dump truck for Garrett on his second birthday, a year and a half ago. He loves to push the dump truck and feel the clicking sound the wheels make.

He has been playing with the truck the exact same way for a year and a half. Talk about a great value in a toy. How many toys do your kids play with from a year and a half ago?

Actually, Garrett likes any toy that he can push. I think it has to do with his Sensory Integration Disorder. Pushing something gives him a better sense of where his body is in space. Here he is pushing a toy vacuum cleaner. Too bad he can't push the real thing!

And here he is pushing a toy lawnmower. I'm sure Daddy would love for him to push the real thing, too.

This past Christmas, Erin got a Hannah Montana guitar from her cousin. She played with it for a few weeks and then moved on. Well, Garrett got a hold of that guitar and made it his very own. The guitar has buttons on the front that play Hannah Montana songs when you push them. And Garrett loves toys where you push a button and music comes out. But this guitar also has an On/Off switch on the back. If the switch is in the off position, the buttons won't work. This concept is completely amazing to Garrett. Here is Garrett pushing some buttons on the guitar.

When Garrett's playing this game, the conversation goes something like this:

Garrett pushes buttons, "Working."

Garrett turns guitar over and turns the switch to off.

Garrett turns guitar back over, pushes buttons (no music comes out), "Broken."

Mommy, "The guitar is broken, go throw it in the trash."

Garrett quickly turns guitar back over and sets switch to On, "Working!!!"

Mommy, "You fixed it."

Turn guitar back over and set to Off.

And the game continues like this for up to 15 minutes, over and over again.

His sister's Hannah Montana "MP3" player (What can I say? This Christmas was dubbed the Hannah Montana Christmas) has a similar on and off button that enables/disables the other buttons. Garrett is holding it in his hands.

The toy is "broken" and suddenly "fixed" or "working" with the click of one On/Off switch.
This is over 50% of his playtime. He has a few other games, but they're pretty similar to these I have described. I guess this is Garrett's way of feeling secure in the world, knowing that some things are very predictable, when the big bad world can be so unpredictable for a little guy.


Anonymous said...

Talk about Garrett reading Goodnight Moon every night.
Mary read the same book one summer vacation I don't know how many times. [I took the book and hide it so she would read another.] Mary was closer to Jr. High School than Garrett is now. Mom

Mum-me said...

We have to read the same books over and over but only for a week or two at a time, and then they get 'hooked' on another one. I was taught (when working at pre-school in my teens) that you should choose 3 books to read to children each day - one 'new' book, one 'familiar' book, and one 'favourite' book.