Absentminded Professor

Oh, Vincenzo.  I don’t know what to do with this kid.  I’ve written before about how he is forgetful, but his forgetfulness is reaching a fever pitch lately.  He forgets his coat on a daily basis, he leaves his lunchbox at school randomly, he forgets to meet me at the car pick-up on Wednesdays and instead gets on the bus, and he has forgotten to go to 3 of his last 4 after-school soccer classes on Tuesdays.  (The one he did remember to go to was the day I asked his teacher to remind him.)

Every Tuesday after school, I get a call saying, “Vincenzo didn’t show up at soccer today…” and I get mad and think how I’m going to make him pay me the money all his missed classes cost, but then he shows up at the front door a half hour later with a tear-stained and blotchy face and instead I just give him a big hug and tell him we’ll figure out a plan to help him.

I’ve had him write notes in his planner on the day of his after school class.  I’ve given him multiple reminders the morning of his class.  I’ve packed extra snacks on those days telling him to use that as a visual reminder of his class.  I’ve told him to ask his friends in the class to remind him about the class if they see him at the end of the day.  I’ve told him to visualize himself packing up his binder, leaving the classroom, turning a different way than usual and ending up at his soccer class.  I’ve told him to picture the bus with a big red X on it on Tuesdays, in the hopes that when he walks to the buses that image pops up and he remembers his class.

Nothing has worked.  He comes home soaked in tears, saying, “I hate myself.”  I tell him not to say that—I won’t let anyone say they hate Vincenzo.  We change it to, “I’m so mad at myself right now.”  I tell him this is just a growing pain, and if it didn’t feel so bad then there wouldn’t be any need to fix it.  Since forgetting does feel awful, we need to use emotional moments to grow from.

My latest idea is to post this sign on our door and tape a similar one to his planner:

What day is today?
What is today’s date?
What special events/deadlines are today?
Do I have everything I need for those events/deadlines?

This must be what it’s like to live with someone who has Alzheimer’s.  I hope it works because as loving, patient, and helpful I am to Vincenzo, I swear I’m gonna strangle the kid!  I love him and am so proud of him and could not ask for a sweeter, more thoughtful, fun-loving kid, but that doesn’t mean I can’t sometimes want to strangle him, can it?

Cornbread taco bake
Steamed cauliflower with cheese sauce
Candy shop pizza

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