Chef's morning tantrum had used up all of his "extra laundry time" as well as the bulk of his "getting ready for school" time, plus it was only about 15 minutes before bus arrival when Chef put in his load of laundry (the one he was supposed to put in on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, etc!) While Chef was outside tantrumming, I'd already phoned the school and bus driver to let them know how the morning was going. (Chef knows that if he misses the bus due to inappropriate choices, he has a day of chores at home. If he does a good job of doing chores first thing in the morning, he can have R&R time in the form of being in his room but without entertainment. Those of you raising children who are living with RAD know full well how that will have gone over the first few times!)
When Chef came back up from the laundry room, he glanced at the clock and said, "I'm not going to make the bus" then he went to the sink and started dishes. I tried not to show my complete and utter shock; needless to say, I was very relieved. A few minutes later, Chef glanced at the clock again and said, "I missed the bus. Did I miss breakfast time too?" I asked him if he usually eats before or after the bus comes. "Before," he said, then returned to washing dishes. A few minutes later he asked if he could go down to put his clothes into the dryer. I reminded Chef that laundry is one of his weekend responsibilities that he chose not to do, and that he had the opportunity to do so before leaving for school. Since he didn't go to school, he was now on a chore day at home and would have another opportunity to finish his laundry the next morning again before leaving for school. Chef's reply? "Yes, Mom." This made me happy.
Chef puttered off and on with dishes throughout the morning and made his school lunches for the week (green rice noodles with tofu, vegetables, and hot sauce - sure did NOT look appetizing to me!). At 11:30, Chef's support worker (spends 3 hrs with Chef on Mondays) came over and stayed with Chef through lunch and getting the dishes done. Have I mentioned how thankful I am for him??
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.