There wasn't a sound from Chef's room until around 9:30 this morning. A few minutes later, I was in the washroom and heard Chef's door open then close. I left the washroom quietly and peeked in his room. No Chef. I walked downstairs and saw him quickly disappearing around a corner. I walked through the kitchen and into the living to find Chef just starting to duck down between the china cabinet and loveseat. He was wearing only socks and had a blanket wrapped around him (he has gone through/gotten rid of numerous pairs of pajamas). I told him to go back up to his room, followed him upstairs, and told him to get dressed. A few minutes later, I told him it was time for a room check because I didn't know if he'd been sneaking downstairs other times during the night. He made an angry face and grumped at me. I reminded him that he was the one who was breaking rules and when he gets caught breaking a rule, it is not ok to take that out on someone else. He grumped again. I told him he could fix his grump or take it outside. He went outside and immediately did some jumping jacks and I called him in a couple of minutes later after I'd checked his room. There were the usual disturbing items but nothing out of the ordinary. Chef came inside in good space. I asked him to return to his room and to sing so I would know that he was in his room. He is presently singing in his room without issue while I'm doing up this morning's blog entry.
It would be great if Chef participates in school-lunch prep today. He hasn't at all for the past few weekends. When he doesn't participate at all, I don't either. That leaves Chef having to prepare his school lunch the night before or in the mornings. He's been leaving it til mornings, then just grabbing an apple or an apple and some crackers or occasionally some leftovers. He hasn't had consistently good school lunches for two weeks now because of his weekend choices. I wonder if he's tired enough of that to make a change and do some lunch prep today.
***UPDATE: After a late lunch today, Chef shovelled the neighbours' front porch (very small) and made a pathway to the parking lot, then came in and independently made his school lunches without issue. He offered to make supper ("to help make up for how I acted today") and was reminded that he gladly could but he would still need to do weekend chores (two household chores - he is also technically supposed to be doing extra chores to pay back for stolen/damaged items, etc., but is behind just on his regular day-to-day stuff at this point). Chef cooked liver, mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables for supper. It was great. When it was time for dishes, Chef moved very quickly and had the kitchen finished up in about 20 minutes. When I checked the dishes, they weren't clean (I don't mean in a "teenager not cleaning dishes" way or that there were a few missed spots, etc. There were lots of food bits, etc. ) It was great that the usual dragging out of the chore hadn't accompanied the "not cleaning" but it was very clear that Chef again hadn't made an effort to actually wash the dishes. There were no rags for Chef to clean the little washroom downstairs because he's gotten rid of the rags and we weren't over at the thrift shop so he could replace them because he was tantrumming on Saturday. It's all a chain. At this point, I really do believe that it is mostly all a ploy to do whatever it takes to get out of chores. I've suspected that over the years when it came to some things; as time goes on, I'm more convinced. I could be wrong. I realize chores involve a lot of steps and some planning, which is why Chef has written helps to use (which he doesn't use, but he no longer whines, etc., when reminded of using helps), but sneaking through the house to take stuff also requires steps and planning. Repeatedly throwing hard snow/ice at windows also requires steps and planning, evidenced by Chef taking the time to find the "right" pieces and tossing unworthy pieces onto the ground. Independently making his own school lunches requires far more steps and planning, yet Chef is very successful in that area when he makes his lunches on the weekends, and very successful when independently cooking meals otherwise as well.
And so, the chore saga continues...
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.