I don’t usually like talking about the kids too much, I don’t want to invade their privacy like that. However, I’m at a loss as to what to write about for Autism Acceptance Month. So I was like, dude, write what you know. And yknow, this came out.
So, as we all know, it is rather important to have routine in an autistic household. It is, however going to vary from family to family as to what works. For us, we tend to find our routines in the midst of all the chaos that is our household. I’ve been pushed by social workers and the like to make tables and lists and routines up the wazoo, and yknow what, there is such a thing as too much routine. Or maybe I’m just saying that to make myself feel better about the fact that I’m kind of a stumbler through life, on a good day. But whatever, by stumbling I happened to have come across what works for us. So, points to Slytherin. (Yea, Im a nerd, Slytherin house, woot woot!) The following is our morning routine, or rather, what barely passes for one. And I’m perfectly okay with this, I’m not looking for advice, just trying to show what it’s like for us, all of us being autistic, and all that…
First, the oldest of the offspring wakes at 6.30. Yea that’s right- he wakes himself. His alarm goes off a full hour before mine. He pokes his head into my room to tell me what time it is every thirty minutes. He gets dressed as he watches either his favorite Youtubers or Rick and Morty. Normally, I don’t get to sleep for that hour, though. My kiddo is barely a pre-teen and bombards me with “where is my ____?” questions usually for that hour as he finds his shit. Not only does he get dressed by himself while yelling at me the whole time, he also gets his bag ready (unless I remember to do it the night before) and he gets his snack and keeps an eye out for his ride to show. All while announcing what he is doing in between questions of where things are. It works for us. I have serious issues with sleeping (as some autistic people do) and waking. While it is difficult for the pre-teen kiddo to fall asleep, which is something we are working on together, he has no issue waking up… yet. The Destructo Beast (DB) usually sleeps through all of this right next to me. A heavier sleeper than the rest of us, I can have a full blown conversation (we don’t have “inside voices”) with the kid for at least most of that hour before she stirs. Eventually, she wakes and goes out to the living room and yells for yogurt, juice, and cartoons.
By the time DB gets up, I’ve peeled myself out of my bed. The kid (I have no clever nickname for him, and I’ve asked if he wants one, he said no.) is grabbing his bag and out the door yelling “my ride is here, bye!” by the time I’m getting the DB her juice. The time is somewhere between 7.40 and 8.00 by now, and the DB is supposed to be at school at 8. This school she goes to is basically a pre-school, so her being late isn’t that much of an issue. As long as she is there before 9 the teachers don’t give me too much shit about it. Honestly, I pay for her time there, I wonder why they give me any shit at all sometimes, considering they get paid regardless. But that is beside the point. On a good morning I get her there at around 8.15. On a shitty morning, when my fibro is already in flare, it takes a bit longer. I’m working on it, but I can’t really predict these things. It doesn’t matter what time I go to bed the night before, the morning is an issue all on its own. Sometimes, it seems, if I barely get any sleep I manage to get her there closer to on time. But, yknow, it varies. I cannot predict these things. Even if I have everything ready for them, clothes, bags etc., it still doesnt work out the way it *should* the next day. But I continue to digress. (Notice how the REAL issue here is my fibro, not Autism. Just wanted to point that out.)
Where was I? Oh right, the DB has her juice, yogurt, and cartoons. I scramble her clothes together (if I haven’t gotten them together the night before, which I usually don’t) and then proceed to attempt to dress her. She has a tendency to- playfully- make it difficult to dress her sometimes. And she is so darn cute that I don’t ever really get angry about it. I might get slightly irritated but we manage. After she eats, drinks, and is dressed we head out the door. The walk to her school is short, maybe ten minutes, if that. Some mornings we drag that walk out, as she gets distracted by things, and I get distracted by things…
Mind you, all of this happens before my first coffee. And most of the time I head out with DB while still in my pajamas. Then I head back home and make a cappuccino, caramel flavored, of course, and sit at the computer checking my FB and whatever else. This morning I took my time walking back, I found a few photo opportunities. I’m feeling particularly gross today because I have been sick the past couple of weeks, and my stomach has been gymnasticating (that’s a word, right? No? Whatever, it works) it up like crazy and I’m exhausted, so going up three flights of stairs to get back into my apartment was more than a chore. Anyway, after my fb and coffee I then dress and get ready for whatever crap I have to do that day. Perhaps that is a post for another time, idk.
I want to end this post by saying that I don’t disclose my mornings in any way to complain about how hard it is to raise autistic kids or whatever. I mean yea, we have our rough times, but we also have an understanding… well the kid and I have an understanding while doing our best to accommodate the DB until she is old enough to join this understanding of ours. The kid and I work together on many things, while we are both autistic we have many differences and we clash rather often. For example: I cannot stand being touched, the kid likes hugs, we have to compromise and he understands why. That sort of thing. We worked out our mornings a long time ago, he prefers to do things himself pretty often and he knows that if he needs help he can tell me and I’ll push past my boundaries to do so, if at all possible. So while we have our issues, I have to say that we don’t persevere despite our autism, we do things this way because we are all autistic and it works for us. I have actually tried doing it the way others have “advised”, and it does not work… It just doesn’t. That is the thing about an autistic household, especially when all of us are autistic, not just the kids, things are just different. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.