Post-meltdown days seem to usually go more or less one of two ways - either the meltdown continues in different forms, or Chef is in very good space and talks about what happened, what worked, what didn't work, etc., is kind, and appears to regret acting out through the meltdown. Today is the latter. Phew.
Chef waited til we were almost out the door before he got up. He brought some leftovers to eat and we went off to a voluntary music performance I was doing down the lane. Chef seemed in very good spirits and I commented that he seemed to be having a very nice day. He nodded and said that he wanted to be very nice and try to make up for what he had done last night. He did some running on the way to where we were going, sat beside me while I played my music, and commented on the great food they had there for lunch. During the music, he started opening a set of chopsticks to eat what he'd brought. I glanced over at him and shook my head very slightly. He stopped. When I was finished, we walked over to a friend's art shop for a few minutes, then headed towards the thrift shop. Chef still hadn't eaten the leftovers, so I told him he could run home to our deck and have what he'd brought, then meet me at the thrift shop. He did. No issue. While at the thrift shop, we chatted more about what would work for him at school regarding his difficulty with lights and crowds and noise. He said he'd like to wear sunglasses and earbuds, and said that his school staff is now leaving the classroom with him before the bell rings so Chef is not in the hall during class changeover times. I reminded him that he has a school meeting coming up and asked if there were any other things he wanted to see on the agenda. He said he would like to cook his lunches at school, for 3 reasons: other students do that and he thinks that's very cool and wants to show what he can make, his former assistant is the person supporting the other students making their lunches and Chef wants to spend time with him,and making his lunches at school would mean he still gets to make his lunches but doesn't have to use his time at home to do it. We continued chatting while looking at different items in the shop, and I asked Chef again about being gluten-free and whether or not he wanted to remain gluten-free. He asked if there was a cost difference. I said with what we all are able to make the only real difference is when it comes to bread (rice bread is about $6/loaf). Chef's response was, "Oh, well then I just want to stay with the gluten-free. I don't want to switch back." This continues to really surprise me. I wonder if he realizes that.
When we got home, Chef immediately started washing some dishes without being reminded AND - are you sitting down?? He announced that he was going to have an apple!! And then he asked if that was ok! I reminded him that he could snack anytime as long as it was appropriate snack food and not being handled in a sneaky way. Chef then called out from the kitchen,"Mom! I'm sitting at the table and having an apple!"
I haven't talked with him today yet about snacks, and figured we'd chat about food during an afternoon walk.
Very cool turn of events.
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.