It is Sunday and it’s generally a busy day. My husband and I both work all week and lately, I’ve been working some Saturdays, so Sunday is my only day to get my house stuff done. We have piles of laundry everywhere and I am lucky I get a chance to run a vacuum let alone dust. But on the weekends, I usually manage a “Katie Clean” kitchen (everything gets wiped down and made shiny) and um, maybe 1/4 of the laundry finished. But today, I will most likely get nothing done. Today we’re trying to give Aiden a good day since this past week culminated with him a having a bad day yesterday. As probably any parent of a special needs child will tell you, your sn child generally sets the tone of the household for the day.
Since Aiden has autism, schedules mean a lot to him. He likes to know what’s going to happen all day, every day. Transitioning from summer back to school is usually a nightmare. And this year, the teachers went on strike for a week the week after the kids went back to school. So that disruption didn’t help. We finally have him on a routine. He knows, Monday-Friday is school, Saturdays and Sundays are home days. With the first quarter of the school year wrapping up last week, his routine was disrupted. Since I worked yesterday and wasn’t here when he woke up, I set him up to have a very bad day. A typical “bad day” for Aiden is not listening, getting overstimulated at everything, continually fighting with his brother and sister, humming, flapping and just not being able to simmer or settling down at all. By the time you get him to bed, you feel like you’ve run a marathon…a very loud, confusing, physically draining and annoying marathon. Its difficult not to yell at him, but we don’t. Its hard not to just put him on lockdown for the day, but we don’t. We just deal, pray for bed time to come soon, and hope the next day will be better.
The night after a bad day I spend a lot of time analyzing what set him off and how we can turn it around the next day. This time, I determined it was the schedule disruption so this morning I decided it would be an Aiden day. We started the day with an hour of Baby First TV (not the usual Spongebob or Avengers) and skin contact. He lays on my legs. This was something that he has loved to do since he was 18 months old. Now that he’s 6 years old and tall for his age, he doesn’t lay on my legs as often. But when he needs to calm down, this is usually his go to. Right now, the only reason I have a few minutes to type, is because his dad has him on Angry Birds (amazing how he can clear the levels even my gamer husband can’t). Ann is making us a pancake brunch (one of Aiden’s favorites) and the rest of the day will be dedicated to doing things that will keep him calm and content. Parents of NT (neuro-typical) kids would think this is overindulgent. But for us, this is just what needs to be done to regulate him again and set him up on a good foot for the coming week.
I feel like this is really unfair to my other two kids. My 4 year old, who thinks of Aiden as his hero, will just sort of go along with things. While Aiden lays on my legs, he’ll lay next to us on the couch. While Aiden is on Angry Birds, he will sit next to him cheering him on. Their relationship is amazing and the compassion of my 4 year old is remarkable. My daughter, who is older, tries to understand, but I know she must feel left out when we have days where it’s all about Aiden. I try to make it up to her with manicures or letting her take a jacuzzi tub, but the mother’s guilt of feeling like you’re not giving all of your children everything they need sets in. I never want any of my kids to feel like they were ignored or not made to feel special. But this is where having 3 adults in the house comes in handy. At least we have 3 sets of hands to pitch in and distribute the love.
Today my only hope is to get Aiden back on track. The laundry can wait. The shiny stove can wait. I may have another week of a messy house but hopefully happy kids.