Chef came home from respite this morning to get his lunch about 15 minutes before his bus would arrive.
When he walked in the front door, he had some difficulty maneuvering around his "stuff" he's been piling for a few days in the front entrance - there were about 6 small items in total that were supposed to be for the outside garbage bin and a small plastic bag for the thrift shop. It was a small pile, but a pile nonetheless, and certainly didn't belong in the front entrance where it would cause problems for Chef using the door. Natural consequences.
When reminded (again!) that the front entrance would be easier to use once the pile is cleared up, Chef chose to clear it up! He did so in three parts; two trips to the bin, then down the lane to the thrift shop with the small bag. Just before he returned, the school division called to say his bus wouldn't be running today due to a medical emergency. I told them I'd work on figuring out transportation and if I couldn't then I'd just keep Chef home. I made a couple plan changes, and was phoning the school when my neighbour rang our doorbell. This was all happening within the first 15 minutes of Chef arriving home. Not fun for me; that much more difficult for Chef. Ah, Monday mornings.
I noticed Chef was wearing a dirty, wrinkled shirt when he came home, so I asked him to change it before heading off to school. He made a face and told me it was clean. I pointed out where it was dirty. This was not received well - our short morning together had been very busy thus far. I told Chef to take a bit of time in his room to just relax and find his focus.
A few minutes later, I called Chef down to get his lunch from the counter and go out to the deck. I'd put everything out on the counter (apple,carrots, peppers, rice/beef casserole), he just needed to pack the items into his lunchbag. Instead, Chef opened the fridge. I pointed out that there were lunch items on the counter for him and that his lunchbag was still in the living room where he'd left it last week. He said, "Ok" and kept looking in the fridge. I told him there wasn't time for anything else and that he needed to get his lunch and go out to the deck. With eyebrows down, he got his lunch items together and carried them out the door.
I've often talked with Chef about preparing "dessert" items together, such as cream puffs or rice krispie cake to take in his lunches with the idea that he would have something right in his lunch that would be immediately available for him when he feels like seeking carb-type foods otherwise. I still think this would be a very beneficial idea for Chef's lunches, though his responses to this have been varied - usually he just doesn't want to make items on the weekends, the ingredients often disappear before the items are made, or the items I make disappear en masse, leaving nothing for lunches. When Chef was in his younger grades (and prior to going gluten-free!), the lunches I packed for him were so large that the top of the lunch bag couldn't fold over. In addition, he also had access to snacks that I brought to school for him on a weekly basis. Chef still secretly and successfully sought out food otherwise - food belonging to other students, staff, the food collection box in the hallway at Christmas, etc., etc. At one point, Chef also had open access to a snack shelf in his classroom; I don't recall if he ever accessed it at all, but he still sought out food otherwise. Food remains a very challenging area for Chef when he does not have an adult with 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.