Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Morning Rituals

Are mornings more frustrating for parents with Autistic children, or are typical kids equally as challenging? Or, is it an individual situation for all? Or is it just my kid who makes the arrival of the bus a reason to jump for joy? For us, the mornings are a chain of daily but always frustrating events.

It starts with just getting him up. My limit to have him up and sitting at the counter allegedly eating breakfast is 7:40. So if he isn't already laying in bed watching a movie since 6am, the gentle rousing starts by 7:20. It's a gentle process. Some mornings are good, he's cute, cuddly, sleepy, responding back a happy good morning to my wake up kisses. Other mornings, he wakes saying he hears voices, crying (still don't know what this is all about). Some mornings ya just know aren't going to be great when he starts out "I don't have school today!". The back and forth begins "Yes you do, why would you not have school?". "Because school is for babies and Coolidge is for babies!". Blah blah blah.... Finally, his long frame stretches and he rolls out to the kitchen.

So now, he's finally at the breakfast bar, breakfast in front of him, legs bent on barstool, gazing at Good Morning America. "Case, take your probiotic and eat." I instruct. 2 minutes later "Bathroom!". Off he goes, goes, then I see him head back into his room. "Case come back and eat your breakfast!". Here he comes again, back in position. He finally swallows the tiny probiotic, and takes a bit of bacon, becoming entranced in the tv. "Eat please". It's now 7:50, the bus comes at 8:20, that leaves us one half hour to finish eating, dress, hygiene, and whatever else we forgot. "Casey, eat!". This is said at least 5 times a morning, all the while, finding myself poking bites into his mouth. He's 9 years old! Ugh.

Breakfast is finally done and the chase begins to keep him from laying back in bed to watch tv. He literally lays down like it's Saturday and is ready to settle in for a lazy morn. "Come on Case, the bus is coming, let's get dressed." Bill gets frustrated with me that I don't let him dress himself in the morning but oh my, thats another whole blog entry, and I choose to pick my battles when they fit my schedule! I finally get him out of bed after much prodding, and help him dress, making him at least put his own socks on. Good for me, good for him.

Two to three times I urge him to come to the bathroom to brush hair and teeth. Finally loping in, I help him brush. He's almost 10 but heightwise we are just about face to face, making it awkward to help him brush, reminding me that I really need to work to make that an independent activity and soon. I wet and mousse the crazy mass of hair that he didn't get from my genes. He needs a haircut...

Finally, we plop down on the couch, 5 minutes till the bus. We did it again, we got through it.


Don said...

Every morning is a battle of "beat the clock" with kids. Some mornings are easy, most mornings involve plenty of "Keep eating!" and "Why aren't your shoes on?" and "Are you almost done in there?" Getting them out the door is time for the big exhale.

I have to ask Casey what kind of mousse he uses. Same as Bill?

Maddy said...

I suspect it's difficult for everyone to get their children ready for school on time but that ours is indeed a different order of magnitude.

We've used everything from schedule boards and rewards, but we still basically shadow them continuously to prompt them through.

That said it's also certainly a great deal easier than 3 or four years ago but it's still a marathon. I used to think it took us 40 minutes, from 7 to 7:40 to get ready but when I think about it, I realise that they're up at 5 / 5:30 and so it really takes much much longer. Also if there's even a hint of 'hurry' that'll turn everything to porridge in a second.

Marla said...

Sigh. Yup, I think mornings are tough for everyone. Ours are quite simple now that we don't have to catch the school bus at seven thirty.