My son was up around 7am this morning. My daughter dropped off her daughter around 7:30. My son was thrilled, and immediately went into "can't focus" mode. The next few minutes went something like this: my son started his breakfast then visited with his niece then went to get his clothes to get dressed then visited with his niece then remembered he had still had breakfast to eat so sat down at the table then remembered he was still holding his clothes which he then put in washroom. He then came out and visited with his niece then said he was going to eat outside, opened the door, then said he shouldn't leave his clothes on the toilet, left the outside door open, ran to the washroom and got his clothes, said "hi" to his niece, and "oh I left the door open" then ran and closed the door, then told me again he was going outside to eat and went back to the door then stopped and said, "I still have my clothes" and ran towards the washroom. This time he actually went into the washroom and came out dressed!
His morning chores followed a similar pattern: a bit of this chore, a bit of that chore, a bit of visiting, a bit of another chore, going back and doing a bit more of what he'd started beforehand. Eventually I told him to take some time to sit and visit with/play with his niece then take some relax-time on his own to find his focus, then get his chores done. My son (I have to figure out something to use other than "my son" or his actual name!) did a few jumping jacks when he went upstairs then took some quiet time for himself (which turned out to be perfect timing, since his niece was starting to go down for a nap). He came back downstairs while I was making lunch. He was very indecisive about what to have to drink with his lunch ("I'm going to make a mango smoothie. No, wait, lunch is ready so I'll just get some water. I didn't have a smoothie with my breakfast though so I'll just make one really quickly"...). Lunch was all ready sitting on the table while he was trying to decide about his drink, so I pointed out to him that lunch was getting cold and lunchtime might be over by the time he decided on a drink. He poured himself some water and sat down to eat.
After lunch was cleaned up, the three of us went out on the deck. My son watered the plants then played with his niece til my daughter arrived around 2:00. On her way home, she dropped us off at the nearby grocery store. While shopping, my son and I talked about what he would take along for food to the music retreat we're attending early next week. We don't know if there will be a kitchen available so we talked about what sorts of "camping food" he could bring along. "That's good," he said. "I like camping food." He chose apples, oranges, bananas, limes, baked beans, rice crackers, tuna, individual containers of "quick-cook" rice, baby carrots, and snow peas.
We walked home (when grocery shopping, my son loves showing how much he is able to lift/carry in his backpack at once but I think he overdid himself this time!) and talked about the retreat. When we passed the local movie theatre, my son started talking about how early people lined up for various movies. This remained the topic of discussion til we got home.
We had a fruit break when we got home, put the groceries away, then my son asked if he could make supper. We talked about what he might make, and settled on corn on the cob with homemade fishcakes. He did an amazing job with them! It's a simple recipe, but he did them up just perfectly and they were nice and light. We each stuffed ourselves with three cobs of corn and a bunch of fishcakes, and watched a bit of the news. After supper was cleaned up, we spent the evening on the deck; my son read magazines (he's presently reading through past issues of "The Beaver") while I mostly rested my eyes.
Around 8:00, my son went upstairs for his bath and was in bed and snoring around 9pm.
This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom (http://richesofsimplicity.blogspot.com/) of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.