Can’t Sit Still
One thing about Theodore and his ASD is he cannot sit still. He will occasionally stop and watch his favorite video, or sit and eat his dinner (if he’s really hungry), but most of the time he’s moving from room to room, from his chair to sit on the heat, trying to jump on the couch, always flipping his hands. Movement. He craves it.
I remember, as a kid, doing the same thing in class because I was bored. I’d bounce my knee up and down, or repeatedly click my pen, but I am able to control the urge to move. Ironically, my sisters always told me I walked too slow.
Theo — well, he can’t control it. It can drive you nuts. But that’s what he does…it’s not him, it’s his ASD.
Constant movement can be tricky when you try to do things like, oh, sleep! He has always been a rocker, a thrasher at times, but when he was in his crib it was pretty well controlled. Or it could have just been I was too sleep deprived to notice it. Then he got too big for a crib and before we purchased a bed, we had his mattress on the floor. That was last summer. And it was a tough transition. Extremely. Because once he would wake in the middle of the night, usually upset because he couldn’t rock it out, he’d leave his bed, his room, and the meltdown would be carried throughout the house.
Because of this we purchased a bed tent by Ready, Set, Bloom. The tent is unique because it zippers from the outside and provides him a safe place to run to when he’s overwhelmed and — if he so chooses like he did early this morning to get up and rock and roll — he can’t leave the bed! I highly recommend it!!
We also have been using melatonin liquid to help regulate his sleep cycle. It usually gets him to sleep and he stays asleep the night, unless he needs to be changed (yes, he’s still in diapers but is slowly potty training and making progress) OR he is having a growth spurt. If he just needs to rock, he’ll be “quiet”. If he’s hungry, he’ll launch into an array of his favorite kid tunes, until I wake up and see what’s going on.
Moving constantly can also make things like getting a haircut quite the challenge. Combined that with the sensory overload he’s facing… the clipping of the scissors, the pieces of hair falling all around him irritating his skin, the dreaded razor! But he usually manages to sit long enough to get it done. Still? No. Long enough? Yes. Sometimes I bribe him with his favorite treat — Yogurt Melts. Or I distract him with a toy or two. This time we used my Iphone and the Toca Boca haircut studio application. He may not be looking directly at his “customer,” which happened to be quite an unlucky terrier, but he LOVES the sound effects, the hair spray, the razor (which we use when have to sit under the razor), and the hair dryer. I actually saw him laugh and smile a few times tonight while he used it.
But, more important that any app or toy, or bribe, is our lovely hairdresser, Mary Cronk of House of Style. Mary has celebrated every milestone from pregnancy on with us. She’s become a vital part of kid maintenance in this house. With Theo’s ASD I couldn’t find a better, more patient hair dresser than she. And then of course she helps keep my princesses in check too. It’s important that Theo gets used to seeing Mary every few weeks. For, like so many kids with ASD, schedules are important. We lapsed one month because he was suffering from an ear infection. Turned out to be a big mistake: the following month we had a heck of a time getting him back in the chair!
Mary also does something remarkable and unique, I think… she comes to our house. She deals with getting the kids to sit still while the everyday noise, distraction, and dinner, happens around her. Doing hair is art…I find it fascinating. Having to do it while someone’s crazy life unfolds around your scissors? I just can’t imagine having to do that. We couldn’t ask for anything better!
The next few months will be interesting to see if we can continue at home. Currently the triplets sit in restaurant-style high chairs which Theo is quickly becoming too long for… Will the next step involve bringing him to the salon? Probably. As long as it is with Mary, I know we’re is good, and very-stylish, caring hands.