Morning Ablutions

I sit in the mornings and watch the other four about me, bustling around. I get ready last. With four of us using one bathroom (and the second bathroom being used by the boy and Aphrodite, the foot-biting cat), I wait and watch. It takes time for my body to get ready to move, so I don't mind sitting and watching and directing the movement when folks get off track.

We've come a long way; the girls, fixed in the rituals of the morning, actually move pretty smoothly. Bobby, on the other hand, still requires constantly redirecting to keep on track. He disappears and someone has to go get him. No matter how many years pass with the same schedule, it doesn't seem to reach automated processes for him. He'll ignore direct requests offered several times (we don't give him more than one thing at a time), and it makes the morning interesting to get him through the morning tasks. He gets dressed on his own smoothly; it's just everything else. He is easily distracted and gravitates back to his room to play a game or watch tv or pet a cat.

I wonder, at times, if this will eventually change, if my time with my son will ever not be spent in redirecting him. And yet, there are tasks he can do and stay focused. He's now an excellent cook and prepares meals from start to finish with no assistance and no need for redirection. He's taken over most of the cooking responsibilities, so good at it is he.

He is a bundle of contradictions. So are the girls, and I am reminded that so are my husband and I. Remembering this, it seems to me, is key to acceptance. If I accept that Bobby is easily lost, unless it is one of his interests, then I am not frustrated with near-constant redirection. If I accept that my husband has his strengths and his weaknesses, I don't take those weaknesses personally. I accept and work around. The same goes for my girls. And when I offer acceptance of others as they are, without rancor and bitterness, I am offered the same acceptance in return. No one bemoans the reality that I will sit for an hour working out the pain and restoring my hands to full use. No one bitches about pouring me coffee.

When we give grace to others, we receive it. And when I wait until my children and husband are done getting ready, I get the bathroom to myself. Just saying. It works for me.


farmwifetwo said...

Have you ever thought of posting a social story... list of things to do.. or a pec strip.. beside his door in his room. Then, he can go and check to see if he's done everything he should do.

melbo said...

I so needed to read this this morning. You very often give voice to thoughts I've had myself.

I have started getting W ready for school and am experiencing a similar thing. I know he's only little but we've had the same morning routine for a while now, but he has been needing a lot of re-prompting to do the very familiar things. I had been getting annoyed with that and then mad at myself for being so impatient with him.

Re farmwife's suggestion about the schedule - while doing a wardrobe cleanout over the weekend, I found one that W's occupational therapist had made for him for this exact purpose.

He was pretty excited as he loves those so we've put that up on his door and he's been using it in the morning. I hope by the time school starts in January it will be a habit for him.

Re distractibility, we just got results back from his cognitive assessment and they suggest he is easily redirected to task. This seems to be more true of an unfamiliar task than something he is used to doing. I wonder if this is true to some extent for many of us too? If there's a certain degree of familiarity we can get a bit comfortable with it.

Anyway, thanks again for a great and timely post.

KWombles said...

farmwifetwo, thanks; yes, we used those for several years but had to redirect him to go read it. :)

Thanks, melbo. We used a schedule for the girls until they got used to it and no longer needed it. They were invaluable.

What does work for Bobby is using his phone as an alarm, but it has limited alarms that can be set. We use it so he remembers to get his sisters off the bus.

farmwifetwo said...

Worth a try. My youngest has made his own morning routine and all I do is put his breaky on the table, my eldest gripes about the nagging. Wouldn't matter if it was written down or not he'll still whine his way through it.