The day after the "hidden cereal bag attempt," my son was actually up before lunch! In fact, he was up before breakfast! I heard him starting his day with some exercises at 5am. Unfortunately, that was just far too early for me that day. He handled the news well and started again at 7am. He did some exercises, washed up, got dressed, and came downstairs. He decided to make his own breakfast. He took eggs out of the fridge and asked if it was okay if he cooked up some eggs. "Sure!" I said. "That would be a great idea." He then put the eggs back into the fridge and said he was going to just have cereal. I reminded him he'll need more than just cereal and that some protein and fruit would be good to have with his cereal. He put the cereal back. He then said he was going to have cornmeal. "Sounds good, just be sure to still have some protein and fruit." He stomped into the living room with arms folded across his chest and a scowl on his face. I reminded him to work off his frustration before returning to the kitchen, and that he'd still need to have a full breakfast after that, especially since he hadn't been giving his body all the food he needed the past few days. He did some "stomping" jumping jacks, came back to the kitchen, and had cornmeal, a boiled egg, and an orange for breakfast.
At lunchtime, we went to a local restaurant to eat. My son said he wished there were places in our town that served gluten-free hamburgers because he really wanted one. I suggested that he just order one without the bun, and an order of fries. He grinned and nodded. When the server came, he ordered his hamburger without the bun and an order of fries. When the server brought our order, she placed a plate of fries and a burger in front of me and a plate of fries and a bunless burger in front of my son. My son thanked her and started his lunch. He finished the burger first, then nudged the plate of fries a little to the side to make room for his paper, then sat and read for awhile. He continued reading without touching the fries. I reminded him he had fries to eat. He looked up at me then looked at the fries and said, "Oh, I wasn't sure if those were mine." I asked him whose he thought they might be and he said he didn't know. I did a quick review; Did we talk about what you were going to order? Yes. Did we agree that you'd be ordering a burger without a bun, and fries? Yes. Did the server bring your order and put your burger and fries in front of you? Yes, but now they're over to the side.
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.