This week has not been great. Yesterday was particularly bad, with M having a massive rage (over a simple request to put on her socks) before school which meant once again we were late. The knock on effect of being substantially late can mean that the gym hall is in use and therefore M can not do her early PE that includes deep pressure activities to help her calm and focus. This can set a negative spin on the whole day.
With the promise of unrestricted TV and a cop-out tea of fish fingers and smiley face potato shapes I coaxed her into the evening and her Beavers group. I stay as her helper, and mostly I do really enjoy it, and last night apart from some extra curricular running about and requests for big squeezes she did very well indeed. She often needs some big hugs to offset the sensory demands of 20 small loud children in a confined space – I understand this bit very well!
Back home I took a chance that less sleep would be countermanded by a cool down time in the form of a quick bath and I think it was the right option as she went to bed still without meltdown or even tantrum.
The middle of the night she came into bed with me and there was nothing I could do to make her move back out again. I gave up and dozed fitfully.
Now this is where I was pleasantly surprised.My regular 7.30 alarm didn’t go off (or if it did I have no recollection of turning it off). The first I knew of anything was my back-up alarm of 8 am, which leaves plenty of time. However, dd2 (L) was fast asleep in bed and the school bus for the academy leaves at 8.10. This is do-able in an emergency but L had an exam this morning and i did not want her rushing out the door like a banshee without a proper hot drink and something to eat. So, I told her to relax and do her thing while I got the other two ready.
I got clothes for M and asked her nicely to please get dressed as we need to take L into town.
She did what I asked with no problem at all.
Then I explained that they would have to have their Friday treat of chocolate spread on toast as a chocolate sandwich and eat it in the car, along with a packet of juice.
Again no problem “ok Mumma”
Suffice to say I got L to school in time for her exam and then turned the car swiftly round to head back to the village. By this time, I was fairly sure something would kick off in the day. After all, just turning the wrong way out of the house can cause a meltdown of epic proportions most days.
We got to school with about a minute to spare before the bell and they both hopped out and raced into the playground. I felt it only kind to forewarn the staff of the unexpected start to our day in case it caused problems for them.
And I left.
End of the school day – no problems reported and a happy body slam from my girl at 2.30.
Afternoon passed without any raised voices or tantrums.
Then hubby’s train got firstly turned around then cancelled which meant that instead of him bringing ds1 home with him and collecting dd2 to take them to Scouts, that I would take L in and meet him there as otherwise they would both be very late. Another change – “kids, in the car, we’re taking your sister to Scouts. If you like you can have chips” (I am always open to using a bribe in an emergency)
“But it’s pizza night” “Yes I know, I can buy you a pizza instead then”
“No, I think I’d quite like chips actually”
And now it’s quiet. Chips were consumed along with some healthier extras when we got back home, shower done, cuddles and a story and now she is in bed.
I am sitting with a cup of tea thinking how amazing it is that one day the tiniest weeniest thing imaginable can set off a day of untold misery for M, but yet the next day I literally heap her day with unplanned change and she can take it in her stride.
That’s autism for you.