It's past midnight.
My son has made numerous trips to the washroom, accompanied by comments of "I'm sorry about taking all the sugar before" and "I'm just wondering what time it is" and "Mom, are you still awake?" (I'd like to think that he was just innocently making these comments, but he has never done that before after he has gone to bed and I now have a sense that he was actually checking to see if I was actually still awake so he could gauge what he was going to do.)
I figured the numerous bathroom trips were a result of his "Mmmm, sugar!!" choices earlier today.
I was wrong.
When I knocked on his door to say goodnight and see how he was doing, I heard some rustling but no answer. When I opened the door, my son's eyes were closed but his eyelids were sort of squinting - I suspected he wasn't at all asleep.
And then I saw it.
On his floor was a full picnic, blanket included. Apparently he'd been closing the bathroom door then sneaking food into a blanket and into his room under the guise of being in the bathroom. This isn't something new (the "pretend to be in the bathroom but actually be doing something else" plan) but he hasn't done this in years. Part of me was actually relieved to see that he had finally taken in a good amount of nutrition, given his poor eating habits as of late. I also wondered if he'd purposely targeted the food that we'd planned for his school lunches this week. His body may have been craving "good stuff" to balance out the sugar he'd earlier ingested or the sugar was effecting him to the point of "needing" more to eat and/or the "school is starting this week" is coming to light in the area of food. And though food-sneaking/gobbling is definitely a less-than-ideal coping mechanism, I'd rather that than the "behavioural meltdowns" of yore.
So there it was, a blanket with some of the food that was going to be used in his lunches we'd planned together for his first few days at his new school: a half-eaten basket of pears, a basket of peaches, empty bones from leftover chicken, and a package of rice crackers with only a couple missing. There was also a bottle of mustard (half-empty) and a bottle of salad dressing (empty). Oh, and a box of animal cookies from my daughter's room; empty.
I hope he sleeps through the night.
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.