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, June 8, 2011

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service?

June 8, 2011

Chef came home from school in good space yesterday. He usually has a rest time when he gets home and yesterday was no exception - snoring was heard in short order and there were no other sounds from Chef's room for nearly 2 hours. Chef came into the kitchen wearing just a shirt; a long-sleeved, button-up shirt that covered
"everything" well, but just a shirt nonetheless. I raised my eyebrows.

"Really? Is wearing just a shirt appropriate?"
"I can't find my shorts for at home" (because Chef is back down to just one pair of pants, he has a pair of shorts that he changes into when he comes home from school and has been using them as pyjamas as well)
"You can't find them?"
"I left them at school."
"Should they have gone to school?"
"Tell me what should have happened this morning."
"I should have gotten dressed before the bus came."
"What do you need to do now?"
"Put on my robe."
"Quickly. Then we'll do supper on the deck."

I went into the washroom and when I came out I noticed Chef's robe still on the living room chair but I knew I'd heard the back door. Sure enough, when I glanced out, there was Chef sitting on a chair on the deck, eating. Shirt only.

"Is this appropriate?"
"Um. No. I was hungry."
"I don't want your bare bottom on one of my chairs. Get off the chair immediately and get your robe."

I came inside without closing the door behind me, thinking Chef was following. He wasn't. I glanced back out the window and saw him sitting on the deck, eating.

"What did we just talk about that you need to do?"
"Um. Get my robe?"
"Exactly. Get your robe on. Find your focus or your willingness to do what you need to do, whatever it is you need to find to move on appropriately with your evening, find it now."

Chef stood up and started doing some jumping jacks.
"I don't want to see your penis when I look out the window, and the folks across the way sure don't need a show. Come inside, put on your robe, find your focus."

Thump.Thump.Thump. Chef was now doing jumping jacks with his shirt tucked between his legs.

"Dude! To your room. Immediately."
"I'll look dumb in a robe!"
"To your room."

As Chef walked past the living room chair, he glanced down at his robe and said, "Oh, there it is."

When Chef was called down a few minutes later, he immediately put on his robe.

Chef remained in good space the rest of the evening. At one point, he asked again whether we're going to any music performances this summer, chatted again about how his EA is leaving for Africa, we talked a bit about again at how surprised I was that he hadn't wanted to finish a can of iced tea the other day because it was too sweet for him. When Chef started dishes, I went up to see how things were in his room since the ripped-open lining of the armchair and books had been discovered. The concern was that the neighbour thought that the first item Chef had thrown onto her deck was likely a screw or something along those lines. I'd noticed awhile back that Chef had removed a couple of the nails out of the back of his computer desk. And he'd started more toenail collections. All in all, time to do a safety check.

And there they were - little piles of staples that had been removed from the underside of the armchair. The chair's been in Chef's room for over a month, I think, and the lining was just torn open within the past week. The staples will have been removed within the last two days. I'm still not sure when Chef will have taken the pile of books upstairs, nor how he got them home without any of us noticing. I do know that he's sometimes done such in stages; hidden something outside then stealthily brought it inside at some point and hidden it somewhere else, etc. Sometimes he's even forgotten about items he's hidden. I don't usually watch Chef walk from the bus anymore, and there have been a couple of days here and there when my daughter has been home when Chef has arrived at home, so there are possibilities there for stolen books to make their way into the house. Chef always does "a check" before going up to his room, but not always when he is going upstairs under the guise of cleaning the upstairs bathroom so there's that possibility. Hmmm.

At any rate, it's clearly no longer safe for the chair to be in Chef's room. He brought it downstairs and took it out to the trash, along with the remainder of the nails I'd pulled out from his computer desk.

And with that, we called it an early night and Chef was soon snoring upstairs.

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