If you live in an Autism house, the title of this post is your life. If you are new to Club Spectrum and wonder what this means, adopt this as your mantra. It will be the cure to anxiety but also the throne in your side. For once it is spoken, it is set in stone. So you better really mean it. First you do your homework. Then you get to do play on the Wii. Oh what? The Wii is not working?? Well then, you are screwed!!!!
My kiddo lives for the schedule. Most ASD folks do. I have to admit. I too, enjoy the comfort a set routine provides. Mainly because I know if he knows what's next, than he won't be anxious which only feeds my own anxiety. If I can nip that the anxiety cycle in the bud, we're already winning. There are some days though, like this morning, I wish we could just not have one. Or be so bonded to it. You see, we had a "snow day" yesterday so the first scheduled event of school was already off the list. We had to make do with that upset and it was a very very very very and did I mention very? long day. It was also combined with bitter temps so going out to play in it wasn't really happening. Last night as I finally crawled into bed I realized "Oh Crap, it's only Friday?!" So now we have two more days of keeping him entertained/busy/out of jail. I'm like freaking out over the idea of what the hell to put in the "First this and then that" plan for the next two days.
You see, there's just no moment of me saying "Go run along and play". We're talking about a kiddo that needs play often modeled for him. Which means I get to play Legos and iPad games side by side with him. Even just putting on the electric Nanny that is the TV set isn't a given. I type this on my phone as he watches twenty two minutes of something. I think it's a kid's cartoon. It's loud and has lots of neon colors. It's either "Adventure Time" or a rave. I'm not sure. But my point is, I have to have one eye on him. There's no telling what he will get into otherwise. One time he walked into the room with my husband's electric shaver in one hand and calling for the dog to come get a hair cut. I suppose I should be happy that he's made enough sensory progress to not only tolerate a hair cut but want to give one as well. Guess we're getting our money's worth on that OT.
Through time and maturity, we have managed to get to that point where we can add a few things to an existing schedule. He's been pretty cool about that lately and I can't tell you how awesome that is. A level of freedom I almost at times don't know what to do with. It's like getting an extra hour of "yard time". Once it's mentioned though, there is no going back. Not unless I want to just schedule in a meltdown, cause they're always a hoot. My husband and I are always having to talk in code or other languages about events. Can't spell them anymore. He knows so Yay for his teacher for doing a great job. Oh and now he's taking Spanish so we might have to switch to Klingon and Vulcan soon. Better brush up. Husband is a Trekkie so he'll be okay.
First Mommy wants a break and a nap and a glass of wine and a chance to pee alone. Then Mommy wants to go to her happy place in her head and pretend to be twenty three again living in her tiny little studio apartment where she wanted it to be like Mary Tyler Moore but it was really like Rhoda Morgenstern's. I want to look at a weekend with no plans. Where anything was possible. I want to get up only when I am finished sleeping. I want to come and go as I please. If it's rotten weather out, stay in. I want to wander in a store with no set purpose other than to wander in it. I want to not worry that I don't have enough of the set foods a certain someone eats to get me through a snow storm.
First Mommy will have her meltdown in her head. Then Mommy will pull herself together, suck it up and make the damn schedule. Pardon me while I go preheat the oven to make some more fries.