A family's story

Summer vacation began last week. It was more like a watered-down version of our summer schedule, though. This week, the true test begins. We all have a new routine, again, and it’s throwing me off. I am such a creature of habit and LOVE my routines. When they are blown to bits, or changed significantly, well, I struggle almost as much as my boys do. I guess they come by the anxiety honestly.

I was up at 4:30 this morning. On my own. I can’t even blame my children this time. I had that sense of uneasiness that comes when routines change. It is akin to the start of the school year jitters I used to get as a kid. I laid in bed and dozed on and off for another hour and a half. Cole, my little alarm clock, went off at 6:00. “Mam! Mam! Mam! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Ma! Ma!….JA-AKE!” (Guess he knows that his brother is an early riser.)

I rolled out of bed and got ready for the day. Once I was put together, or, at least somewhat thrown together in a not-totally-haphazard-way, I got the kids dressed and we popped down stairs for breakfast. I got the coffee brewing, and put the tv on for the boys. I set about getting their breakfast of champions ready–cheeze-its and strawberries & blueberries. (Held the fruit for Tate, who informed me that my choices were “too squicky”.)

I was watching the clock, as Jake’s bus was coming to get him at 7:45. Down the block. Granted, as an “official” third grader, my son is more than capable of walking down the street to catch his bus. However, it was his first day, and his jitters were in full force. We managed to get down there with plenty of time to spare. Hubz stayed to help out today, which was greatly appreciated. Tate was all kinds of anxious about Jake going to school, and he kept telling us that he wasn’t going any where.

Once Jake was off to school, and Hubz left for work, Cole, Tate and I hung around. Tate was scripting quite a bit, but was otherwise okay. We had talked about day camp with him over the weekend. This morning he told me he didn’t need to go. I said he did, and he grunted at me and shook his head.Β Awesome.

Tate’s therapist showed up at 8:30 as we had planned. They worked on one of Tate’s programs before we left. I drove Tate and his therapist to the day camp location, which is about 3/4 of a mile from our house. We drove because Tate’s anxiety would have turned a 20 minute walk into a 40 minute walk. I briefly introduced Tate & his therapist to the teacher. Then I left. To say I had butterflies in my stomach is an understatement. More like a flock of geese.

Cole and I burned an hour at the park. It was sticky. I was sweaty. But we ran around, climbed up ladders, stairs and slid down slides. I pushed Cole on the swings. We had a fun time. Once we hit the hour mark I played the concerned Mom card and said we needed to rehydrate…and he was ok with that, as long as we got to watch Scooby Doo. It was a deal.

We had to get Tate and his therapist at 11:30. When I got to the building, I made sure to stay out of sight. One glimpse of me, and Tate would have bailed. The class was singing a song that I recognized from Tate’s repertoire at school. I was able to sneak a glance of him getting jiggy with it in the classroom. I was glad he was enjoying himself. When I asked his teacher how he did, she said, “Ohhhh, he did greaaaaat! See you on Wednesday!” I asked his therapist. He did pretty well, considering it was a new place, several children and staff he didn’t know, and was loud. He parallel-played with peers, and even commented on a few things his peers said during class–appropriately. He colored his rainbow picture with a proper grasp. He needed prompts to switch colors during coloring, and to not stim in the sand in the sensory table in the classroom. He scripted a lot during the day, and had minimal flapping. He needed some prompts on the playground, but did ok. I’ll strike this up in the “progress” column. A year ago, this never would have been possible, even with an aide.

As we waited for Jake to get home on the bus, Tate’s afternoon therapist arrived. She waited with us, as Tate refused to leave the bus stop without Jake. The transition back to home and therapy did not go well. He had a 15 minute meltdown. We don’t see those often, but when we do, they are exhausting–for everyone.

I’m a little nervous about this afternoon. Jake will have his math tutoring at 3:30. Another transition. Another place. Tomorrow after his afternoon ABA therapy, Tate has OT. This is Jake’s last week of lacrosse, but he has practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and a tournament on Sunday. And Tate has day camp again on Wednesday and Friday..and on Friday, I believe he will be going solo, as the therapist who is supposed to work on Fridays isn’t quite ready yet. It has me incredibly annoyed with the director of our ABA therapy. How do you work with autistic children for 20 years and not understand why a parent is beside herself because the therapy schedule has a huge gaping hole?!

In 4 weeks we change schedules, again. Summer school will be over, and Jake will do full-day, full-week day camp. Tate will be done with his day camp. I’ll be potty-training my stubborn youngest child. The fun continues…..

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Comments on: "Settling into Summer Routine" (10)

  1. It’s funny how we get as anxious as our kids when it comes to a change of routine! I did the same last week when our “summer school” started. I don’t know how you keep going with all three of them. I felt that meltdown was coming somewhere – I see as Toots gets older, he holds it in and then it bursts out in a meltdown later. The therapist was with you? Did he/she help get you through it?

    Try to take a breath here and there! Don’t take on the whole summer at once! How about just a couple hours at a time, mom? πŸ˜‰

    • The therapist was with us…and was able to help us out. The biggest issue was that Tate was still stuck in his anxiety loop, and it was driving his other behaviors. She started to apply deep pressure, and repeated the same soothing phrase, asking him to use his words to let us know what he was feeling. He came down from the meltdown after that.

      I know…I am breathing. Definitely need to break it down…just my perseverating on those schedule changes that drives my hyper-focus on the chaos ahead! πŸ™‚

  2. Yikes. I got tired reading all you were doing about halfway through the post! πŸ™‚

    Our daughter isout of school but the boys are still in it for a few weeks more. . . . . . I don’t know if we’re really ‘looking forward’ to having the twin terrors at home all day everyday for a few weeks.

  3. Mom2MissK said:

    Wow! Talk about exhausting! Now I remember why we decided to stop at one child πŸ˜‰

    The little side paragraph about Tate in school sounds *so much* like my Little Miss…. Gettin’ jiggy, stimming in the sand… And you — so excited about that parallel play and “appropriate comments” — I LIVE that progress note πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you started leaving comments here and there on my blog… Otherwise I don’t know that I would have found you and Tate.

    Sending summer sun and some energy bars to keep it al going!

    • Thanks, Karla! I found you through Karen, actually. πŸ™‚ I can really relate to your posts with Little Miss. Thanks for the kind words and support! Glad you stopped by and found out more about us!

  4. We just went to our ESY orientation meeting last night. I’m enouraged.

    • Oh, yes. That Family Guy totally is Cole.
      Is this Lily’s first go-round w/ ESY? I hope she does well!

      • Yep. . . first time. It’s kind of neat in a way though, first of all we met in a room full of parents and they started talking about the kids getting their lunches and starting to eat. . . and I’m looking around thinking, “my kid will not get her lunch and eat it by herself”. . so I raised my hand and asked and they put my fears to rest. Then someone else said, “my son needs his vegetables cut a certain way,” and another chimed in, “my daughter will only eat (insert whatever).” At first I was like, Lily is not going to fit in here. . . they expect way too much. . . and the next thing I knew, i realized I was in a roomful of parents whose kids were all in the same boat, and the ESY folks just smiled and nodded and told us how they’d handle it. It was interesting being in a roomful of parents and NOT being the one parent whose kid needed so much more than the others.

        We’ll see how it goes. I think it will work well.

      • Oh, I like the orientation idea. Tate did ESY the past 3 years, but ours was half-days, four days a week, for 6 weeks. This year we opted out of ESY in favor of more ABA sessions. I hope that the ESY program for Lily goes well!

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