It was one of those mornings… I was woken by fighting between the kids. I felt sick, but dragged myself out of bed anyway, to break them up. I don’t even remember why they were fighting. I’m sure Chip fights just to curb his anxiety, and Dale is so over being targeted that he has started to respond in full fight mode. It took me just a few moments to stop and direct them before my phone rang. Taz had forgotten his saxophone. Now I needed to convince Charlie to drive it in to him. After being told “I can’t” by Charlie, I complete quick calculations of his day’s activities, then suggest a time. Problem solved by mum.
Charlie is finally up (NOTHING short of a forest fire makes him rise before 8am) and letting Muttly (our dog) out. Charlie has breakfast and I continue to run down the list of morning requirements. Curtains, check, breakfast eaten, check, milk back in the fridge, check, breakfast dishes to kitchen, not yet. MUST summon the chipmunks.
Requests to have the dishes cleared are distracted skillfully by a lost jacket, which I locate, then Dale is discovered to have lied about making his lunch, AGAIN! He can refuse to eat some days, especially now that he’s sick of the one and only school packed lunch he will eat. All I can do is be sure he has the option… and worry.
I’m NOT saying Charlie does nothing here. He opens curtains, locks the back door, and points out things left on the table while he’s eating. He helps me remind Chip and Dale of what they were doing, warns them if they become mouthy and asks me if some things are done yet. It’s just that if ANYTHING goes wrong, I’m the one who is great in a crisis, thus I do the extraneous, emergent and unforeseen, EVERY DAY.
After I perform shoe location services (I mean, seriously, I don’t even wear their shoes, EVER), I proceed to the quick paced walk to school necessitated by Dale having cuddled and patted the cat for the fifteenth time to say goodbye. Even Francis is over it! During this walk Dale fires constant questions. Chip tries to talk to me too, and Charlie will ask about important things or talk through reminders and such. One conversation at a time PLEASE! My in demand status is constant. It just doesn’t let up. I was once up visiting my father when thinking he was on deaths door, and I fielded constant phone calls about child care co-ordination, what to feed the kids for dinner, children in conflict and the famous “mum, I don’t want 2 minute noodles” call from young Chip. I love my family, but as Charlie heads to work and Taz, Chip and Dale into school, I definitely sigh with relief. I take a 1 hour break when I get home, just to get my energy up before commencing washing, tidying, appointment organisation and transportation and services phone calls. Thank goodness for the quiet house.
This is the time when I’m actually sufficiently free of distraction enough to think, problem solve, organise and write. Of course, the house beckons with a constant state of mess, but I have become skilled in storing the “messy house” alerts in the “it doesn’t matter, the child tornado will restore it to the usual state by 4pm, so what’s the point?” box. So after spilling the contents of my wrung-out mind onto the page (the ultimate in stress reduction), it becomes necessary to do activities that allow my mind to untangle. Coupling the completely boring washing folding with television that doesn’t require thinking is the perfect combination. After all, I will need the mind flexibility and the fire extinguisher at the ready by school pick-up time. Never mind that it’s a good idea to have planned ideas for dinner by then. Every day I forget to do that…
Who does crisis management in your household?
Have you figured out how to stop your ASD family from talking to you all at once?
What do you do to give your mind a break during down time?