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New Patterns

  • Posted on May 18, 2012 at 8:00 AM

So, the new morning routine is improving.  Once the boys are in the van, they settle right down, which tends to make it a better start to their school day—or so I thought.  I recently learned that there’s a lot of pinching going on no matter how smiley Ben is when he walks into school.

While we’re still working out the kinks of getting Brandon and his little brothers to school, I’m sure we’ll get a handle on that.  Of course, afternoons are a bit trickier.  See, I’m used to having to get the boys ready for school in the morning, so changing the timeline and adding a few extra steps—while not convenient—is manageable.  In the afternoons, when it’s time to pick up the boys, is something different.  Before, it was a matter of Mark waiting for the buses.  If he had to be somewhere else, I’d wait for the buses.  Now, before the buses even come, I have to be out the door and at the school.

The timing is different, and this makes a difference.  For one, when I’m sleeping during the day, this time is right when I’m usually sleeping.  If I’m working during the day, this time is right when I’m knee-deep in a project.  We’re talking years of habit here.

The boys like to see me when they come out that door, especially if it means they get to leave before the noisy rush of their peers’ departure.  The trouble is actually getting me there!

So, I’m trying to adjust.  I’m trying, I’m trying, but I’m not really adjusting yet.  The fact that my workload is higher than it has been in a long time isn’t helping.  Every moment is important.  Every project is intense.  So, I’m trying, but this habit is difficult to change and now isn’t a particularly good time to change it.  The middle of the afternoon is not a cue for me to stop working or stop sleeping, but it needs to be.  I figure, by the end of the year, when it’s all over, I’ll have gotten it right.  Of course, by then, it’ll be time for another change.

Until then, we’ll keep trying.  Handling each new bump in the road—like today, when my mom will be picking up the boys—as it comes, as best we can.

Big Changes

  • Posted on April 5, 2011 at 6:42 AM

There are some “big” changes underway in our household.  Mostly, at least from my point of view, these changes revolve around me working a lot more.  This is good, because it means my business is succeeding.  This is bad, because it means I’m spending more time away from my family.  It’s all an adjustment, and Alex is having the hardest time with it.  Just about every time he sees me, he grabs at me, often lovingly but sometimes out of frustration.  As much as he’s used to me working so much, he’s not used to me working so much!  He wants more mommy time, and I’m trying to give it to him, but I also have to do the work I’ve agreed to do.  On the plus side, he’s also connecting a bit better with daddy (Mark), so that’s helping him to adjust to my new schedule.

Along with this, something unexpected has “happened.”  I’m putting “happened” in quotes, because it hasn’t actually happened yet.  It might though, and it’s looking promising.  This something isn’t “big,” it’s HUGE.  Basically, if it happens, it involves moving.  Not just to a new neighborhood, but to a new state—across the country.  It means a new house—a nicer house.  It means, eventually, rebuilding this house.  It means having more money and more “toys,” like an iPad and/or a laptop for each child.  It means more space and separate bedrooms (instead of Willy and Brandon sharing the living room, because Alex and Ben CANNOT share a room and neither of the big boys want to share a room with either of the little boys).

Like I said:  HUGE.  A kind of success I wasn’t even planning on, didn’t even consider until it was (tentatively) dropped in my lap.

So, how does a family with three autistic boys deal with such big changes?

A lot of foreshadowing, even though it’s only tentative, is the biggest thing.  We talk about it.  We think about it.  And we talk some more.

Planning is a really big thing, too.  Not only would we be up-rooting our three boys; we’d also be leaving my step-son behind, except for the summers.  Leaving him physically behind.  Painful.  Hard.  And that by itself requires a lot of planning, making sure we have enough safeguards and stuff in place that he’ll be okay and won’t feel left behind, even though he’s choosing to stay here.  Plus, of course, trying to make the whole thing as easy on the three boys as possible.  I haven’t even come close to figuring that one out yet.

But what else?  It’s too soon to act.  We can’t make any picture for the little boys and it seems too soon, too tentative to make a social story for Willy.  So we talk and we plan and we worry and we hope.

Changes are hard.  Dealing with the relatively small change of my new work schedule is a challenge.  Preparing, even tentatively, for the big change…huge change...that’s something else.