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 ( 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.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holidays. Week One.

One week ago today marked the last day of school before Christmas holidays. The time since then has not been a party.

On a positive note, there have been NO TANTRUMS! For this, I am truly thankful.

Otherwise, Chef has spent the past week not getting washed, not getting dressed (and I don't mean in the "pyjama days" sense!), and doing whatever he can to not do chores. He's been averaging a total of about 5-6 hours a day not doing dishes. This is not new, nor is it reserved for the holiday season.

Yesterday was the first day Chef put on an outfit. He'd been reminded the day before that extended family would be coming out for the afternoon. In the morning, he was reminded again and informed that we'd be going over to his sister's place instead of having everyone at our place. At the one-hour-til-departure mark, he was reminded that he had one hour before the cab arrived, and that he needed to have a bath and get dressed. At the 45 minute mark, he was asked if he was ready yet and reminded that he needed to get dressed - reminded again at the half-hour mark and 25 minute mark. At the 20 minute mark, he asked what time the cab would arrive. I told him I hadn't called yet but that we were aiming for 1:00 and he needed to get clean and dressed. He was reminded again at the 15 minute mark that he needed to have a bath and get dressed, and that people sure would not want to see him in a cab or at his sister's place "dressed" the way he was.

At about 10 minutes to one (when I called for a cab, they said the car would be here at 1:05), I used a very firm voice and told Chef to get ready immediately. Now! Now! Now! Chef jogged up the stairs and went to get dressed. I reminded him that he needed to wash the body odour off of himself before putting on his clothes. He poured a shallow bath and splashed some water around. I've heard the non-bath sounds before so I knocked and went in to support him. With the reminder that he needed to quickly bathe, Chef started slowly rubbing the soap up and down one leg. He was reminded that he could bathe himself or have help from me. He started rubbing soap onto his arm. I asked him where his list was for having baths, and reminded him that he needed to start at the top of his head and work down his body, leaving his private areas til last. I'm pretty sure this process would have gone on for quite some time except my oldest daughter suddenly called out that the cab had arrived. Chef started hearing me perform a chorus of "To the Cab, Now!" It's a fairly simple chorus - the same line just repeats pretty much all the way through.

Chef went out the front door, jacket in hand. I went to the back door and started carrying items out that needed to be loaded into the cab. My daughter was loading her baby's carseat into the backseat. Chef was nowhere to be seen.

I ran back into the house, looked through the peephole of the front door, and saw Chef standing on the front step fiddling with his tie. I opened the door, turned him around to face the yard, straightened my arms and released him in the right direction accompanied by another chorus of "To the Cab, Now!" Chef started running across the yard then suddenly called out, "Ow! It hurts my feet!" Then I clued in. He wasn't wearing his boots! They were sitting on the step so I grabbed them and tossed them in the direction Chef was running, told him to get them on and get to the cab immediately, shut the door and locked it, then ran back to the back door to continue getting stuff from the house to the cab. Still no Chef. My daughter and I got everything together, and as I was picking up the last items I needed to carry, Chef showed up by the deck. No boots on his feet. Dude, not cool. Get your boots on! Now!

We spent the rest of the day with family.

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