Sunday, October 10, 2010

Don't believe everything you see

At this point in the game, I am considering throwing the television out the window.  I can only watch it when my son is asleep.  He takes everything literally.  So when a commercial for a new shoe insole claims it will 'save your life' my Aspie child is begging and pleading with me to buy the shoe insole.  The conversation goes something like this:

My son: Mom, you gotta get this shoe insole I saw on tv!!! (excitement coursing through body, hands flapping)
Me:  Why?
My son:  Because the commercial said, "Why suffer the rest of your life?  These shoe insoles are revolutionary!"  Then a guy held up the insole and said, "These insoles are a life saver!  I feel like I'm walking on air!". (He repeats the commercial exactly, even with same voice inflection)
Me:  You realize those don't really save lives, right?  It's a commercial.  They say all kinds of crazy things to try to get people like you and me to buy whatever they are selling, including shoe insoles.
My son:  So, they are lying?  Why would they lie to us? (Disbelief and sorrow showing through his face)
Me:  No. Technically it isn't lying.  It's using speech figuratively for the purpose of selling a product.
My son:  Huh?
Me: Go ask your dad to explain it to you.  I'm just confusing you further.

 This is the scenario that happens any time the tv is unleashed.  Cartoon network commercials caused even more confusion.  Dolls magically sparkled and danced on their own while young girls giggled and proclaimed their love.  Tonka trucks roared to life, drove themselves over mountains and through swamps narrowly escaping monsters.  Every 10 minutes my Aspie came roaring into the room bouncing wildly while excitedly explaining the amazing new toy that he absolutely had to have.  The first few times he actually did get the toys, he was very disappointed that they didn't do exactly the same things as shown on the commercials.  He would whine and complain and leave the toy lying in the corner untouched.  I soon learned to explain to him at the toy store exactly what each toy was capable of and the limitations. Every time he holds up a toy begging to bring it home with him I take a few minutes to ask questions such as, 'What do you think this toy does?  What do you plan on doing with it?', and to explain what it can and cannot do.  This has helped us greatly in choosing toys that he will find actual pleasure in.  I also learned to replace the Cartoon Network with National Geographic science shows, commercial-free PBS, and G rated movies.  This has decreased the amount of time his brain spends pondering the super power abilities of toys.

Do I really want to throw out the tv?  No.  It's the one thing I can turn on to finally allow my brain to power down at the end of the day.  Most days my brain is over-worked desperately needing a respite.  It would be nice though if I could turn it on for a half hour while the sun is up to take a break.  However, on the bright side at least I get more things accomplished during the day now.

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