How to extend the motivation ?

DS, we believe, is quite bright and understand things well. In our opinion, his two main areas, where he lacks are these: (1) Motivation and lack of it (2) Communication effectively what he understands.

We would love to find some "magic" on the motivation part. When he likes something, he goes all the way - not just with the cars (surprise !), but also his learning comes through clearly, in areas when he wants to apply. For example, he doesn't like math very much - my view is that, that is because, in math one is either right or wrong; and he doesn't like being wrong. So learning math is always stressful for him; he wants to check-mark it and finish whatever is in front of him in the paper. Thats the background.

His mother has instituted a process with him, where he earns money and spends money. The way he earns money is by doing things faster than the assigned time. So, if he has 20 minutes to do something, he finishes it in 15, he is 5m early - this will earn twice that - so he earns 10c. He uses this money to spend on what he likes - watching movies, taking breaks, chicken etc.

Few days ago, he was short on cash; he owed his mother some 18c, by end of the day. So, before he went to bed, he declared that he would do one of his chores in 14minutes (which has the allocated time of 20min) and will get the another chore done in 7 minutes (assigned time of 10min). That does take care of the 20c he owed. I was really surprised that he worked this out mentally - the equation I saw was 18 = (12 = [20-14] x 2) + (6 = [10 - 7] x 2)... This has mental addition, multiplication and subtraction...

So where does this motivation come from ? How do we leverage this ? Ideas ?

Anti biotics

DS was ill few weeks ago - and he was on anti-biotics. As he recovered from his illness (flu), we found him extremely engaged and high self-regulatory behaviour - for example, getting dressed quickly (with no dreaming), finishing his homework quickly with full mental engagement etc etc.

We went back and checked our notes (thanks to DW, who diligently keeps diary of each and every day of his food habits, his behaviour etc for the past several years), and we found similar impact/benefit earlier too.

Talked to the doctor here and he said he has heard similar stories from other parents.

Of course, during illness he is also on a very strict GFCFSF (sugar-free) diet, since he just eats Rice-dosa and rasam-rice... (but because of his dehydration, we did give him salt+sugar water).

Wonder if there is a connection between AB and being in the moment !

The Change

DS just had a flu and came out of it - He seem to have come out of the chrysalis phase suddenly ! Wonder if this is due to the Antibiotics, but more on that later..

I (DD) had called home from work. Usually DS doesn't pickup the phone at home. This time he picked up the phone and addressed me: "Hi Red" - this is the way he usually calls me. I was very surprised to hear DS speak. I asked him if DW had asked him to talk. DS replied, that he picked the phone on his own, since his mom wasn't available. Then I ask him, but you had said "Hi Red", what if it was somebody else. DS said, "I saw you name in the phone."... And to us, this was cool - this guy not only picked the phone that he usually doesn't like, but was quite engaged in the process and regulated his response accordingly ! Cool...

Another incident: usually he goes to Gym in the morning with his mom. Few days ago, he was holding the door for DW and her friend to come out. The friend of surprised at the chivalry - his response: I was holding the door for both of you like a gentleman. Additionally, he also remembered and thanked our friend for a very good chicken curry when he met her at the gym - the curry, the friend had shared the day before. He told her that the food was very good !

To crown this all (can there be anything more ?), DS is very scared of the vacuum cleaner noise, such that we use it at home when he is not around. At DS's school, they were trying to make the kids learn to use vacuum, but DS was so scared of it. However, in a class discussion, he had set a goal for himself that he'd use the vacuum and will overcome the fear of vacuum cleaner noise. Two days after that resolution, he spilled cheese by mistake. When the teacher asked" how are we going to clean", expecting DS to say, "I will pickup". To the teacher's surprise, DS said, "I will use the vacuum to clean" and went ahead to do so. His teacher was blown away...he immediately called home to let us know. Now DS feels very proud about overcoming his fear!!!

DS seemed very focused the past two weeks. A few days ago, I tried to teach him frisbee, by breaking down into micro-steps; last weekend, when we went to a picnic with his cousin, he very diligently tried throwing the frisbee and did so successfully !

We are crossing our fingers and toes. DS seems to have gone to the next level of self-awareness and self-regulation. He understands what could offend and is building concentric circles of social behaviour - what is acceptable within home isn't acceptable with his cousins; and what is with them will not be acceptable outside of them.

Will keep you all posted.