As a part of the Summer Training Program, I mandated movie nights.

General rules are as follows: one NEW movie (that neither of us has seen previously) per week; it can include new movies – as in, we’re going out to the theater; and mom gets to pick every 4th week.

Movie Nights may not be an issue in your house. Or, I should be more specific…watching NEW movies may not be an issue, but it can sometimes be a big deal here.

And since I am trying to keep things a little uncomfortable this summer – growth as the goal, y’all – I implemented movie nights. He gets a majority of the picks. I did this on purpose. Still gives him a sense of control. And I knew – KNEW – that Momma’s Pick nights were going to be a bit harder.

Less control means more fussin’.

(But, I think that’s true for a lot of people, not just individuals on the spectrum.)

SIDE NOTE: He’s uncomfortable during school time plenty. I don’t have to plan and implement opportunities for him to grow while it’s in session. Instead, I have to provide a little more rest and haven, so that he can recharge from being challenged so much for a majority of the day.

I wrote it down in his planner…
Movie Night: Momma’s Pick
It was listed under Monday’s TODO list.

I also talked with him about it…gotta plant a variety of seeds in that mind of his.

So, he knew it was movie night. He KNEW it was the week of Momma’s Pick.

I was even nice enough to still give him a choice. I reviewed our Netflix account and told him: “Let’s watch Despicable Me 3 or Pete’s Dragon. You can have the final pick.”

But he fussed and fussed.

Not totally unexpected, but I laid into him for his choice to make such a big deal about it.

I pulled back the veil a little bit too: “Do you REALLY think I wanted to watch the Smurfs movie?! Ah, no. But I respected your choice without pitching a fit and enjoyed the experience with you. And I thought it was funny and sweet. And so, can you please not fuss and just watch the movie, like I did for your pick?”

His vibe was still prickly, but he sat on his side of the couch ready to comply.

And we watched the movie.

(And his prickles disappeared within 5 minutes…)

I was interested in the fact that he chose a live action (we watched Pete’s Dragon, the newest Disney version) instead of animation, but he’s maturing – and I appreciate that.

He struggled with the moments that I expected him to struggle with…and with the characters that I figured he would: “I don’t completely trust her…; he’s so mean and I hate him.”

But overall, he did GREAT. He didn’t leave the movie, as he has in the past. He processed his emotions in the moment and kept committed to what was coming next on the screen.

Could it have been because Elliot was just so darn cute?

Could it have been because our own little dragon, Patches, was sharing space with us on the couch and he didn’t want to disturb her?

Want to know what he said as the credits were rolling?

“THAT WAS AMAZING!”

Oh, this kid.

This movie raised the conversation that sometimes the right choice means breaking the rules. We talked about that, but only briefly.

We talked more about how acting on emotions causes more trouble sometimes than acting on reason and logic; and how, when actions are decided on in anger, people often get hurt.

We both loved the family dynamic and I think, hope for additions to be made to ours as time passes. We’ll see. At the moment, he fills my hands with things to do, my mind with plenty of challenges to overcome, and my heart with lots (and lots) of love.