Chef spent Friday evening with his sister and niece. I was pleasantly surprised to find that he'd worked on weekend chores. Saturday morning and early afternoon were great; Chef ate, washed up and dressed (still sandals though; he continues to say he can't find his socks because his sister put them somewhere, which she did - on top of the dryer after helping Chef with his laundry. This is the second weekend that Chef has again said that he doesn't have his socks anymore, even with reminders of exactly where they are), and seemed quite relaxed and happy as we ran errands together. We got home just before supper and I reminded Chef that his mattress was still in the front yard and needed to be cleaned up. Chef said ok, then went outside. Glancing outside a few minutes later, I noticed a seemingly angry Chef tearing apart the mattress even more; foam and other mattress bits were strewn across the yard. I opened the door and asked what was happening. Chef looked at me angrily and said that he knew I still didn't believe that he hadn't hidden anything in his mattress. "Well, that's right, but the issue right now is that you need to get your mattress cleaned up so it's not in the yard anymore." Chef started escalating. I reminded him that all he needed to do right now was clean up the mattress and that we weren't discussing anything else about his mattress today. Chef escalated. I reminded him of his anger management tools. Chef continued his yelling and whining and angry facial expressions; I shut the door. Two hours later, the mattress was cleaned up and Chef was calm and inside. He had a quick bite to eat, then we walked down to a small local cafe for an evening of music/jamming. It was interesting to note that when we were listening to the performing group for the first half-hour, Chef expressed some difficulty with the noise-level yet when I went up and started playing with the band, Chef independently and seemingly enthusiastically moved so he was sitting right up front by the band.
On Sunday, Chef attended an AGM with me as well as an afternoon performance, then we spent the evening having a leisurely, story-filled supper with a friend. On the way home, we talked about how Chef had used two hours to tantrum when that time would have been much better spent working together on his lunches for the week then having free time. Chef agreed.
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.