For the past few days, we have been schedule freaks. OK, everyone except Dale Jr. He does what he does, when he wants to do it! For everything else, we have pre-planned, pre-made where available, and pre-decided, all before the kids get out of bed in the morning, or after they go to sleep at night.
The J-man’s teacher (hi Mrs. Jennifer!) and his OT (hi Mrs. Jamie!) came over on Tuesday afternoon, and had some good, solid, concrete suggestions about his current sensory issues. The suggestion that we all thought would be the best was to use a picture schedule at home like they do at school. I mean, we already had what we thought of as “routines” but those routines seemed to leave a lot of downtime, and downtime is NOT what the J-man needs right now.
So, man, have we kept him on track! And it seems to have helped, to a certain extent. We’ve still had the “stop, drop, and flop” happen a few times but there has been less stimming and random screeching. WAY less putting hands over ears. I am, however, tired of Pinky Dinky Doo, since we can only have the TV on during the scheduled TV time now, and that’s all the J-man has wanted to watch. Thankfully, he asked for Rachel today. YAY for Signing Time!
We’ve added an enormous amount of brushing. It seems to calm the J-man immensely, and he really likes it. I think if he could request it, he would. In fact, sometimes when we’re done with the “brushing and squishing” routine, he hands the brush back to get whoever is doing it to start again – and so we do.
We’ve changed our eating style – we used to eat in the living room, on tray tables, watching the evening news. My mother will be pleased to know that we now eat at the table, together. This means I have absolutely no idea what’s going on in the world right now, since, as I mentioned, if the TV is on, it’s Pinky Dinky Doo. I don’t stay up late enough to watch the 11 PM news. Tim is up that late, but it’s because he’s working. With all of the hands-on parenting, he’s not really getting any work done during the evening the way he used to. Yeah, our schedule still has some kinks to work out (like, when to MAKE DINNER for the parents) but I’m hoping we figure something out soon because otherwise, Tim just doesn’t sleep, and that’s bad.
Last night, it all came together because Dale Jr took a nap right about the time I needed to put dinner in the oven. The J-man and Tim were outside, swinging, and I scurried around getting everything ready. Right before dinner was ready, Dale Jr woke up, so while I fed him, Tim got dinner out of the oven, then I finished everything off and we sat at the table. The J-man finished his nuggets and applesauce quickly, then asked for “sticks.” When I gave him the container of sticks, Dale Jr was starting to get fussy sitting in his high chair.
Tim and I have given up talking during dinner because we’re shoving food in so fast, but we weren’t anywhere near done at that point. The J-man calmly picked up his container of sticks, walked around the table, sat down at the chair beside Dale Jr’s high chair… and stayed there, looking at him while eating. Since Dale Jr ADORES his big brother, that was enough to make him happy, at least for long enough for us to finish eating. The J-man saw someone in trouble, thought through how he could make it better, and did so.
That action brightened our day. It was just a little light, a match struck, but it stayed lit long enough to light a candle. I look forward to many more candles burning brightly.