We seem to be coming to the end of a nearly three-week spiral. We haven't had a long haul like this one for awhile - I don't recall the last one that's been to this extent where Chef does little more than sleep/rest during evenings and weekends (and attempt to argue/tantrum at any suggestion to do otherwise) for such a long period of time, regardless of whether the activity possibilities included chores/responsibilities, videos, playing with his nieces, or outings, etc. Today will be Chef's second day home from school this week, aside from the day off all students had on Monday. Yesterday evening was the first sign that Chef was ready to get back on board with participating in day-to-day living without attempting to struggle with me about it, though he seemed to continue to have difficulty focussing, and his energy level continued to appear low and he tried a couple of times to come up with reasons to go back to his room.
On Monday, Chef's poor hygiene had caught up with him to the point that my daughter and I woke up to realize the upper level of our house smelled horribly like body odour and a hint of it was starting to hang in the air on the main level. Chef was asked to open his window, but after receiving no response to that nor to my knocking I covered my mouth and nose and opened his bedroom door. Chef was in bed and rose up on one arm with a very grumpy look on his face. I opened his window, told Chef the house smelled from his body odour and he needed to take a bath immediately, and walked quickly towards the door. Chef yelled that he didn't smell bad and got up and closed the window. I went over and walked Chef to the other side of the room and told him "the whole freaking house smells, son, and you need to stay away from the window and you need to take a bath immediately." I re-opened the window and left the room gagging. Chef escalated. I opened windows upstairs and downstairs while Chef's yelling and whining grew louder. After 20 minutes, I told him he'd used lots of time for that already and it was time for him to move on with his day or take the noise outside. He took it outside and repeatedly yelled, "I don't stink, fuckface!" Fast-forwarding to just over an hour later, Chef and I debriefed. We retraced choices that had lead up to the smell of the morning, and Chef agreed (again) that it would have been easier to wash everday and wear clean clothes.
About three weeks ago, before Chef had run out of clean clothes, he'd worn the same outfit for 10 days in a row. He's now run out of clean clothes days ago and states he doesn't know where the rest of his clothes are. He was reminded that he's often left clothing on hallway floors, outside, etc., and those are donated to the thrift shop. He didn't argue that, but said he thought he had others but he doesn't remember where they are. We discussed again the importance of clean clothes being in the closet and dirty clothes in the hamper - that makes life simpler when it comes to keeping track of clothes and having clothing easily accessible. Last night he said he plans on doing his laundry today. He'd also said he was going to do it last Thursday, Friday, Monday, and yesterday, so hopefully today's the day.
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.