I woke Chef early this morning, at 7:15am instead of 7:35. He independently started his morning with 10 minutes of exercising (woohoo!!) then put his clothes into the dryer when I reminded him then went back to exercising for another 10 minutes. He had quite a bit of difficulty focussing this morning; I suspect as a result of the laundry addition to his morning routine. He rushed around but even with verbal prompts he wasn't really doing anything (and still wouldn't use his morning routine lists), didn't have breakfast and when I questioned him about why he was just taking one container of food for lunch, he opened the container and said, "but I put lots in there!" I reminded him that he needed to take other items so he wouldn't feel like saying that he took someone else's food because he didn't have enough in his lunch (many, many times!). He showed me the contents of the container again and said that was a lot of food and that he had mixed everything into the lunch; he then started reciting the items he had put into the container but was cut short when I reminded him that he needed to be out for the bus. At two minutes before he needed to be out for the bus, he still wasn't dressed (not naked though, was wearing his bathrobe!) and grabbed his clothes and ran out the door. I waited, then opened the door and asked him what he was planning on doing with his bathrobe. "I'm taking it to school again and then I'll put it away when I come home." "Is that a good plan?" "No."
I've discovered that the upstairs medicine cabinet is now being used as a food-stash, evidenced by the empty containers, empty jars, empty bags, etc. One of the jars had contained either rice flour or potato flour, unless Chef had just dumped that out and used the jar to hold something else. I suppose that stash was part of his early-Monday-morning food adventures, since Chef always needs to do a check before he goes upstairs. Stashing in the medicine cabinet is new. And since school started, urinating in his bedroom has returned.
Chef's school called at lunchtime. When his EA had momentarily turned to help another student, Chef had slipped away and had purchased 3 cinnamon buns and a hamburger from the cafeteria with money that wasn't his. This (purchasing food with money that isn't his) has already happened at least one other time at school this year; this is Chef's 12th day at school. I decided to have him brought home, and sent a taxi to pick him up.
Chef quietly spent the afternoon in his room without any form of entertainment.
Later on, Chef played all sorts of games around not doing chores - again. Eventually I told him he could have a cold supper and go to his room (Chef has actually always seemed to love being in his room even though he has no entertainment there. I once had him sit on his bed at the advice of a teacher when he was younger to see if that would deter him from refusing to go to school but he happily sat there and said that was better than being at school. That said, sometimes I just need some Chef-free space). I put out one of his lunches and a salad mixture he'd chosen from the grocery store. A few minutes later, Chef announced that he couldn't finish his supper because he was too full - I can count on one hand the number of times I've heard Chef say he was full. He and I chatted later in the evening about choices and responsibilities and how much more enjoyable life is when one has free time to watch videos or read or paint, etc. We also chatted about the importance of being a contributing member of one's family and community. I also reminded Chef that if he doesn't want to be GFCF, then he needs to discuss that with me rather than trying to sneak as much gluten as he can into his belly (though Chef has had food issues all his life, not just since he became GFCF). He told me again that he knows the GFCF diet helps him. I tabled the topic for another time and he went off 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.