On Saturday, Chef came downstairs around 11’ish and made himself a bowl of hot cereal. I decided that we would be going out before chores. Last weekend I had been in the house from Thursday evening til Monday with Chef because he wasn’t doing anything and I sure didn’t want to have another similar weekend.
Chef was in great space while we were out. We spent time at the thrift shop, then came home and Chef cleaned a pile of pruned branches off the deck while I took some nice Fall snapshots in our yard. I reminded Chef that he’d earned extra chores that needed to be done due to his stealing during school, and choices at home. He nodded. He needed to pull out a few things we hadn’t used over the summer and put into a pile on the driveway, then sweep one side of the deck; about a 5.5’ x 8.5’ area. He immediately went into extremely slow mode. I reminded him that we were thinking of going out for lunch but he needed to get this done in a reasonable time. Slow remained. Sloooooow. Sloooooooooooow.
Around 3:30, I brought out a a large salad with scrambled eggs and an apple for Chef. He ate the salad and scrambled eggs right away, and ate the apple around 4. I’d had to wash a pan to cook the scrambled eggs because Chef still hasn’t been doing the dishes. I told Chef that was the last item that would be cooked in the kitchen until the kitchen was clean. We took a long walk around town, took some pictures, looked at wild mushrooms, then came back to the house. While we were walking outside, Chef had agreed that he needed to actually finish his kitchen chore and get his laundry in.
I told Chef he had one hour to get the dishes done. Chef puttered in the kitchen for over 3 hours. I’d been telling my neighbour about the "no-dishes-marathon” that had been going on at our house and the “no cooking in the kitchen til it’s clean” plan. She brought over a plate of cooked corn on the cob and a video. Chef and I each had 3 cobs. Sometime between 6:30pm and 7pm (approx 2 hours or so into the daily kitchen marathon), I told Chef that I wasn’t going to be cooking supper any later than 8pm and I’d only be cooking that late because it was still the first month of school. At 8:01, Chef came out and asked if he could cook supper. I asked if the kitchen was finished. It wasn’t. I told him he could get himself some leftovers for supper. He chose lettuce and carrots, tofu chicken breast strips, and a bunch of rice crackers and went to bed.
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.