Well, things are almost back to "normal" after our August holidays, which is especially interesting since school starts in a few days and my son is usually in complete meltdown mode by now! And though he is still struggling with having to wear clothes and having to do chores, he's back to his "normal" level of struggling with those ideas. He has returned to consistently eating meals again, with only very occasional blips of "I won't get ready for the day until we're walking out the door" moments. If only I could get myself to walk out the door every morning at 6am! Of course, that would only "work" until my son would realize that there really isn't someplace we "need" to be at that hour. After that I'm pretty sure he'd go back to staying in bed til afternoon then complaining that he'd missed breakfast and lunch.
During the most difficult times in the past, one of my ways to get through was to remind myself of how far my son had come; how very much progress he'd made over the years. I haven't reviewed that a lot lately. I think it's because he is in the process of reaching another new plateau and I'm enjoying seeing him working on that, and just enjoying my time with him when he's in good space.
I decided it would be good to revisit "that list" and document it here, so here goes!
My Son NO LONGER:
-smears/plays with feces
-hides feces in his room
-urinates in his bedroom (though I suspect he's still occasionally urinating out his window when he doesn't feel like walking to the bathroom, but I'd still rather that than in his closet, in dresser drawers, in the window ledge, on the walls/ceiling, in the light fixture, etc) ***This has resurfaced since the beginning of the school year in the form of taking empty vinegar bottles into his room and using them to urinate in, with occasional urination on the floor
-tries to pick his skin off (different than picking scabs or picking "at" his skin)
-picks his nose or skin "to get blood to come out"
-attempts to hurt animals
-pinches himself or pulls his hair
-hides in his room when friends/family are coming over/visiting
-destroys footwear (ok, this probably technically shouldn't be on the list yet, but HE KEPT A PAIR OF FLIPFLOPS ALL SUMMER! He wore them everyday and didn't wreck them! They actually started WEARING OUT!! He has NEVER kept a pair of shoes/boots long enough to outgrow them or for them to wear out. I'm very curious to see how fall/winter footwear goes!) ***Chef did great with his summer footwear, but had difficulty switching over to appropriate footwear when the weather changed, and has been damaging his winter boots since he started wearing them 2-3 weeks ago
-exhibits panic when I am not outside with him (though he still exhibits anxiety, often looking towards the house/windows)
-runs towards me screaming/crying when there are loud noises outside
-removes his clothing once he's outside - YAY!!
-urinates across clothing then states he has nothing to wear
-refuses to wear boots in the snow
-fills his boots with stones
-tries to wear turtlenecks and parkas in the summer
-has all-out, destructive tantrums/rages ***Tantrumming has returned the past few months and takes place outside
-bangs his head against walls/floors/doors
-headbutts me (ok, so I eventually stopped bending down to talk with him after the first few!)
-sneaks through the house at night to stock things in his room ***Has been found "sneaking around" twice in the past two weeks
-makes holes in his mattress for stashing food, bits of string, broken q-tips, etc. ***This completely resurfaced once school started. Chef has now completely destroyed his most recent mattress.
-keeps piles of broken q-tips, spitballs, bits of string/paper/etc., along his bedroom baseboards/windows/under mattress, etc. (though we still don't keep toilet paper in the upstairs bathroom or he will use most or all of it to make/hide spitballs in his room) ***This also resurfaced once school started; little piles of mattress foam, string, fluff, paper, etc. are regularly on Chef's bedroom floor
-makes holes in his walls to hide hoards or to try to get at things he wants in the room next to his
-sneaks through my stuff in my bedroom while I'm sleeping at night
-makes numerous trips to the bathroom every night
-taps on the wall to wake me whenever he wakes up
-has to have all the food he sees in the kitchen: as of the past few months, I've been able to leave fruit out on the table. In fact, I've been able to leave all sorts of food out in the kitchen as long as it's on the table. And we can now keep cereal in the kitchen as long as it is in the fridge rather than a cupboard for some reason. There was a time when very few food items could be kept in the kitchen without my son sneaking them off somewhere or quickly inhaling them in the kitchen or in the washroom. ***See December, 2010 posts regarding food
-(more to follow)
My Son's ABILITIES:
-Cooking/food prep(gfcf): eggs, brownies, cookies, almond milk, hummus, salads, potatoes (fried,baked,mashed), salmon, basa, fresh/frozen vegetables, fried onions, sandwiches, rice, cornmeal, pasta, etc., etc. My son would cook every night if he could. Somedays I feel like giving up on chores and just letting him cook!
-Visiting with his nieces: he is very good at smiling/cooing with them
-Visiting with seniors: he loves playing cards/board games with seniors
-is very gentle with animals
-Shopping for Groceries: My son LOVES this activity, and often checks/compares the nutritional values of various items
-Reading: My son is a VORACIOUS reader
-Putting up and taking down tents
-learning to skateboard
-weeding; in fact, he wants to ask the landlord if he can be paid to weed the yards next summer because the yard crew did such a poor job this year
-(more to follow)
For now, I'm off to bed. Tomorrow is our hiking day!
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.