Today it was back to school after mid-winter break. And, well, let’s just say we’ve all forgotten how to do Monday mornings.
I overslept which meant Rob was running late.
The girls stalled getting changed out of their PJs.
Of all the days to sleep in, Theo picked today. I had to wake him at 6:45 which is pretty unusual. This meant I could probably get a bottle of milk + boost in, but there wouldn’t be enough time to get him to sit down and eat his oatmeal.
One thing, lead to another, and as I was getting Theodore ready, I heard Olena say that she was going to get ready. I thought she meant bring her backpack into the kitchen, so I could pack her breakfast.
I thought it odd that she was putting her jacket on, but I continued, bringing Theo outside by 7:30. We had just enough time to sit on the rocking chair when the bus pulled into the driveway. Since the boss didn’t have enough time to rock in his chair he decided, instead, to stage a sit in, in the snow of course. I had to scoop Theo off the porch and out of the snow, and bring him to the van. Once he got to the van, he was cool and definitely ready to go.
Then I made the mistake of going back inside.
Olena: “Theo’s gone already?”
Me “Yes, honey, they bus came already.”
“Already? I wasn’t ready. Next time he can’t leave until I am ready to go outside.”
“Honey, it doesn’t work that way.”
It was one fight after another… the shirt was too itchy, the backpack (or packpack) was too heavy, the wrong shoes were packed for the day, etc.
And then, there was Gretchen, all ready to go… minus the fact she had no boots on her feet. Everything else was on…hats, coat, mittens, backpack, socks … but she was heading out the door with nothing on her feet.
I lost it. What the heck happened? Why does this routine surprise anyone?
SO I had two grumpy girls and placed them on the bus. And one frustrated mommy.
Is it time for work yet?
The next blow, so to speak, came during lunch time when I was filling out papers for kindergarten. I filled out paperwork for Theodore even though with his ASD we will be looking at a specific BOCES program for him in a few weeks. I know he won’t be going to kindergarten with the girls, but I figured I’d fill out the paperwork anyway. The district will need it.
And then came a question that hit me like a ton of bricks. Language.
Does he understand English?
Does he read?
Does he speak?
What?! How do I answer this question? Yes, of course he understands English. However, he is non-verbal. I don’t know if he reads. I can’t get him to sit still. He does not speak. One day, I hope he does. I truly do. If he doesn’t, that’s fine too. My only hope is that we develop some form of communication and many of our meltdowns and problems could be avoided, I think, if we had something in place.
Does he speak? I got so worked up that I cried. Ugh.
I had to take a minute. Slow down. Take a breath. Reminding myself of the most important thing: he is trying. He is leading you by the hand to show you what he wants to eat. He is getting his own treats at the sitter’s house. He is trying!! He’s also working on his picture communication system at school.
He is trying.
Everyone was in a good mood when we got home. Dinner went well and the girls and Theo were pretty happy.
Then the night-time crazies kicked in. Usually, it’s the girls who put up a fight to go to bed. Tonight it was Theodore.
For some reason, he did not want to go to bed. Put him in his tent, and he thrashed around, and started hitting himself in the head. I had to lay on him to keep him from repeating this. “Why the hitting?” I asked him.
I tried to leave but the tantrum continued, and I couldn’t let it so as Rob took the girls in their room and read a story to them, I dealt with Theo’s meltdown. He was hot…and so was I.
I didn’t know what to do.
Since he was hitting his forehead I figured maybe he had a headache (I had one too) so I gave him some Tylenol, and a bit of Benadryl to help him sleep. I thought maybe he was coming down with something.
Looking back at it now, I think he was playing me. He just didn’t want to go to sleep.
I ended up sitting with him on my lap, rocking him back and forth, and before I knew it he was asleep with his head against my chest. Tylenol doesn’t work that fast.
In those few quiet minutes alone I told him that no matter what that I loved him unconditionally. But that sometimes I just don’t know what to do…
You think he thinks the same?
I got him into his bed, and broke down again. I even told Rob, “sometimes I think I just can’t do anything right.”
Wow, what drama!
But, it’s true. Somedays it just feels as if I’m in Judith Viorst’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day.”
I just need to take a step back, and have my mom tell me what Alexander’s mom does…that having bad days happen everywhere, “Even in Australia.”