This should be numbered, but I lost track of where I was, and honestly, I just don’t have the energy to backtrack.
So, being an Autism parent comes with certain “perks”, and I use the term very loosely. I mean, I have way more hours in a day because sleep is not often given readily; who needs 8 hours of sleep anyway? I have a beautiful long mane of hair, well “had”; some has been ripped out and most has just fallen out. I have the patience of the Dalai Llama, or I have become immune to a lot of crap that goes on; selective hearing is my friend. I am the picture of calm, cool, and collected at all times; or at least at night, once I’ve started drinking…
I thought I would share with you a typical day in my household.
Wake up: somewhere between 4 and 9 am to the sound of birds in a meadow… Being slaughtered by wild dogs. More accurately, a tablet at full volume, in my ear, playing the most loud or obnoxious things you can imagine.
Before I am even allowed to think about coffee or using the restroom, I have to: change a diaper, sometimes the clothes (and if so, clean my child’s bed), get him a liquid refreshment, a snack plate, and either a movie or the PlayStation must be turned on. Don’t know about you, but I’ve never been a morning person; I used to own a mug that said “shut up, I’m not done drinking”, which was fairly appropriate. Once all that is complete, I am free to get my Java and relax, for at least 5 minutes, if I’m really lucky, a whole hour.
By which point, it is time for another diaper change (and maybe more clothes), and “actual” breakfast. Morning meals can be a variety of things (within my boys self-imposed 20 food limit), but always takes 30 minutes or more.
At this juncture, my daughter is up and a whole new ballgame begins…
My daughter can only be described as “spirited”, which is the basically the rudest thing one should call a 5 year old. She is not nice to her brother, or anyone else, and thus, when ever she is “awake” I must keep constantly vigilant to her actions, lest her brother beat her silly. He is not violent by nature, in fact when it’s just me and him, we spend most of the time cuddling; but she brings something out in him…
Lunch Time: Okay, it’s officially time for more food. It is by now between 12 & 2 pm depending on the day. Lunch is made, served and eaten within an hour, and seconds are being called for. Another 30 mins to get second lunch made (I see a Hobbit-like pattern forming with their food schedule). Then of course, another diaper change, more juice (5 extra minutes for adding supplements), sometimes a movie or game change as well. I should note that while he is playing his video game or watching movies, he is also watching his tablet and reading a book or flash cards (he really takes multi-tasking to new heights), and sporadically running through the small house at full speed while stomping like an elephant. I’ve broken up 3 fights in the small amount of time between starting and finishing lunch. I’ve also cleaned up 6 sets of flash cards, 10 books, 4 different boxes of toys, and picked up the bedding that has been tossed on the floor so many times I have lost count.
It is at this juncture that I am afforded a small reprieve from having to meet his needs, and am instead enlisted to the pacification of my daughter. Twenty minutes of a school work book – all she has the attention span for – reading a book or two, and then usually some “googling” for whatever she feels like learning about. This takes about an hour or so, and is when it’s time to assist my son again; you guessed it, more diaper changes, snacks, picking up and putting away tons of things, etc.
Dinner Time: It’s now around 4 or 5 pm and time to start the evening meal, which I would prefer to skip altogether, because at this point I am tired of pretty much everything. But I diligently do my mom duty of making the last “real” meal, while I generally have something super quick and easy, like a bag of chips; all while, I break up 4 fights, change 2 diapers, clean even more crap up off the floor, deal with a meltdown over spilled water, and stub my toe twice, all while dinner is “cooking”.
I have enough time after dinner to watch 1 hour long show; lately it’s been Game Of Thrones (I’m only on season 2, don’t judge me, not having cable TV was a bummer for years – that’s another post for sure – but finally found HBO NOW!). Also, first glass of wine!
Bath Time: It’s now roughly 8 or 9 pm and time to coax the children into a bath. For my daughter, who hates water on her persons, this is generally easy; bath’s are one of her favorite pastimes. For my son… Let’s just say, 9 times out of 10, no one is happy. Bath’s can last from 10 minutes to an hour depending on the mood, and I will be called in at least twice to stop someone from doing something. After I have washed, dried and clothed the children they are allowed about an hour to “power down”. Also, more cleaning, diaper changes and snacks. Second glass!
Bed Time: It’s now 10 or 11 pm and I am “done”. My brain can no longer think, and my body wants to jump in the car – for solitude; instead I opt for glass number 3. I get the kids situated in their designated sleeping spots and this is when patience becomes a virtue like no other. I have to sit with my son while he tries to fall asleep; the lights are off, a fan is on for white noise, and I am lying with him for cuddles. This however, can take 30 minutes or 3 hours. He will talk to himself, kick his legs, roll over 18,000 times, and repeatedly ask for kisses (kiss, kiss), until he eventually just passes out; it’s pretty much that quick too – go, go, go, go, go, then, Boom, he’s out. Once he is asleep, I have to get into my bed, which is where my daughter is, and rub her back for 20 minutes until she passes out.
By this time, it’s somewhere between midnight and 2 am (at worst 3), and I am so beat I can barely move. However, now my brain want’s to use this time to “think” because it’s the only quiet time in my house. So I may fall asleep in a few minutes or I may be awake for another hour, just “thinking”… it’s now 2 – 4 am.
This is a “normal” day in my house…
There have been worse and there will be better, eventually… Until the latter decides to grace us, I have my wine… and it’ll have to do.