June 7, 2011
I missed an item on the "what is in Chef's room" list. He also had an old "valet" (for men to hang suit jackets, a little shelf for change, etc.) we'd picked up at the thrift shop quite some time ago.
I was reminded of it when our neighbour showed up at our door last night at 10pm. She held out a piece of wood that had a large metal tab on the side, and told me that had been thrown onto her deck. She said just prior to the wood landing on her deck, there had been a different sound similar to maybe a screw being thrown against wood. My mind wandered through possibilities but also realized there was a slight familiarity about this piece of wood with a large metal tab with the words, "Made in Italy" imprinted on it. Then I realized - Chef's valet. What had landed on the neighbours' deck was the top part of the valet. I went up to Chef's room and told him he needed to come downstairs. He pretended to be angry that I'd woken him and very grumpily sauntered down the stairs.
This neighbour used to provide respite/childcare for Chef when I was working. The more he was the there, the more disrespectful Chef became towards her and her children (who live with various disabilities) and the more things began to fall apart to the point where I no longer had anyone to provide care/support for Chef. To date, Chef continues to harass/disrespect this neighbour and her family at times if he believes I am not in earshot or can't see what he's doing.
To make a long story short, Chef vehemently denied that he had any knowledge of anything landing on the neighbours' deck. He feigned anger at the neighbours for lying about him and at me for believing the neighbours instead of believing him. From 10:00pm til 11:15ish, Chef swore, grumped, and showed many inappropriate responses to the situation he'd created and at the reminders to use his management tools. He did, however, take the valet over to the thrift shop drop-off area as requested. Around 11:15ish, Chef went for a run and by 11:30pm he was back in bed.
This morning, Chef slept through his alarm and through a reminder from me that it was time to get up. When I told him his bus had arrived, however, he jumped up and flew down the stairs, making faces at me and attempting to blame me for him having slept so late. I reminded him that his morning would have gone easier if he hadn't done what he'd done the night before, reminded him that his lunch was on the kitchen counter, and reminded him that he would need to get dressed at school rather than outside (which is what he has often done if he waits til the bus arrives before getting ready to leave). Chef grabbed his clothes and ran out the door wearing the old jean shorts he's recently been wearing as pyjamas.
Restitution: Chef will be paying his allowance to the neighbour for the inconvenience/disrespect/risk of property damage from last night, and will be sweeping her deck and steps for the next week to practice being a good neighbour and good community member.
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.