My twelve year old daughter made breakfast this morning and let me lay in bed a little longer than usual.
Not that it let me sleep, of course. The dog's incessant bored barking has been a problem over the last few days. And of course Ciaran is getting the End Of Summer Fever.
Let me explain.
Ciaran started school at 2 1/2. Young, right? But it was a special half-day program for kids with Autism. It was so good for him!
He thrived in that structured environment.
I want to point out that he thrived, because a lot of moms and dads new to the diagnosis, are terrified of sending them to school. And why wouldn't you be? If your child has trouble communicating, you've spent their whole life making sure that their needs are met and that they're understood, when they can't do that for themselves. Trusting someone else with that responsibility is huge and scary. So, again, I want to tell you that my son came alive in a new way, when he went to school.
I've learned to be organized, because I'm running a big family, and if I weren't organized, I'd lose my mind. But it's not my natural state of being, and it's not really how I run my day. We do a lot of child-led activities in our house. Which I think is a fancy way of saying I totally blow as a mom who plans stuff. It's just how we roll. Unfortunately, that doesn't suit Ciaran really well. And as hard as I try to provide him more structure, I can not compare to what they offer him in his classroom.
Ciaran doesn't like school breaks at all. For a while, he would ask to go to school on Saturdays. The weekends would bother him. I mean, come on! Lazy teachers, taking the weekend off! Didn't they know that Ciaran needed them? So, needless to say, Summer is particularly difficult in terms of change in his routine.
Lucky for us, he gets about five weeks of a Summer program, but that still leaves a lot of Summer to be filled.
That is at least two solids months of trouble to be found. I'm really not kidding with that. The latest thing has been sneaking my car keys and climbing in the van. He hasn't done anything more than that, but I'm looking for new places to hide my keys and maybe the van.
Most of his life, I have have spent figuring out what the new thing was that he was going to do, and learning how to stop him before he really gets hurt.
It's like being the parent to a tiny, unintentional, super-villain.
Summer is particularly rough for that, both because he has so much time, and because the weather is fantastic out. He's just not capable of quite as much mischief when it's twenty below. When The End of Summer Fever sets in, the screaming to talking ratio changes dramatically, and with a couple of Aspies in the house who really can't stand screaming, you can imagine how well this goes over. He's also coming in frequently for physical contact with me. Sort of like, frequent needy, clingy hugs. While I love the affection, and do not want to understate how much I appreciate that my kid is affectionate, I can get a little touched out as the day wears on.
At this point, he can't wait to go back to school, and see his teacher again. And if I'm honest, neither can I. Because he gets so much of what he needs there, and I get a break. When he's in school, the time we have together isn't my figuring out how to keep him occupied and out of trouble, it's spent really enjoying each other.
In other news, to the creators of Annoying Orange, I hate you with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns. May the fleas of ten thousand camels infest in your armpits. Because Ciaran loves you, and he's quoting the show incessantly. Turns out the name Annoying Orange wasn't chosen without reason. It totally lives up to expectations.
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