He also has been known to forget his shoes even in the winter, to get distracted walking from one room of the house to another, and to trail off mid-sentence because some shiny new idea flitted past in his head. He was the kid comparing the shapes of the blades of grass in the field in the middle of the soccer game, the one with the trail of papers and pencils and supplies falling out of his bag as he walked from one class to another at school, the one who couldn't finish worksheets in first grade because he couldn't get past the pictures of balloons and stars on the page to find the actual problems.
We chose a very small, very structured elementary school for him; the thought was that fewer external distractions, less noise in his environment, less logistics for him to need to keep track of, would allow him to focus on schoolwork. He struggled - every day. It was a constant battle for him to keep track, to stay on top of things, to meet the minimum requirements. And the actual thinking and learning and using his mind, that part was just an extension of the rest and so it was just boring and unpleasant to him.
When we moved, the new school was the opposite: it's huge, it's crowded and noisy and busy and incredibly diverse. The logistics are fast and spread out and have no wiggle room. The classes are demanding and there are always a million other things going on, to keep track of and to work on. We were very nervous about him handling all this; intuitively, it seemed like a recipe for disaster for him. But we also hoped that maybe the challenge of it was what he needed. What intuitively appeared like it would be good for him had been a disaster.
It took a few months for him to get his footing, but since then he has taken off. He manages to get where he needs to go with the items he needs to have. He remembers his schedule (and his shoes). He manages himself. And he loves the learning. He has taken on challenges, signed up for extra, and excelled at it. He has made friends who are the same as he is and they feed off of each other, accomplishing impressive things.
All of which - you must be thinking - have absolutely not a damn thing to do with D/s....
But it occurred to me that things don't always work the way that seems most intuitive. The simple answer is sometimes just too simple. Maybe, for some people, making things harder or more challenging is what it takes to bring out their real potential. Our instinct with this son was to control his world for him as much as possible so he could manage. As it turns out, he thrives with more freedom, more responsibility, more expectation, more possibility.
It seems to me that there are all kinds of ways of providing control and containment. I go through periods where i feel an overwhelming need for just that - it confused me because i'm not looking for my world to be made smaller or simpler, but i hadn't been able to describe what i felt i needed. My husband has always been a nice guy - whenever i was stressed or busy or overwhelmed, he would step in, take part of the load, be extra nice. Which helped in practicality, but always made me feel worse. Lately, he's finding a balance of raising expectations rather than lowering them, but in ways that make me feel he is more there - without adding to the stress or to the workload.