This Is What a Typical Day Looks Like When You're a Mom to a Kid With Autism
I'm not a morning person. I'm still shocked every single day when my kids get up early. When will they start sleeping in? I even married a man that literally turns off his alarm and pops out of bed. No snooze! "Who does that?!" Now add autism into my morning routine, and you've got what I like to call a hot mommy mess.
Here's what our day looks like. Somehow we survive and luckily get to wake up each day to do it again.
6:30 a.m.: My bed becomes a trampoline. My 5-year-old son with autism barrels through my door every morning with LOTS of energy.
6:45 a.m.: I finally slip out of bed and let him have it for bouncing. This is my chance to quickly get ready (hair brushing optional).
7:00 a.m.: My son starts scaling the cabinets like Spider-Man. He will also hand me photos from his picture board of items he would like to eat. You know . . . M&M's, lollipops, and coffee cake.
7:15 a.m.: He is not patient, but when it comes to food, he will finally sit still and eat cereal. I set a timer for 10 minutes to keep him sitting still at the table with his brother. We are trying to teach him the concept of meals and that he must stay seated until the timer (aka the meal) is over.
7:20 a.m.: He is already asking for "more" and trying to get down.
7:30 a.m.: Now it's time for a little exercise called "getting him dressed." I chug coffee, and proceed.
7:35 a.m.: I'm still chasing him around the family room trying to get him dressed. He laughs and thinks this is hysterical. Most days I laugh, too. But on days we are running late, this is where our mornings can take an ugly turn.
7:40 a.m.: I get socks and pants on him. Then, my son takes off running again. He hates putting a shirt over his head.
7:45 a.m.: I calmly remind him that it won't hurt to put on a shirt. I even place my head in as proof. He will begin the standoff, holding his collar for a few more minutes until he is totally convinced to put it on.
7:50 a.m.: He is dressed and ready to get his shoes on. Oh boy! More coffee needed, stat!
7:55 a.m.: I put his jacket on and zip it up before putting on his sneakers.
7:56 a.m.: He kicks off his shoes and runs around the living room one last time!
7:58 a.m.: I put his shoes on again . . . and again.
8:00 a.m.: My kids and I walk to the car. Luckily, my son loves this part of the day. He enjoys the music and window watching.
8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: My son receives intense applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy all day at an amazing school that specializes in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Some days I go to school with him to learn techniques to communicate better with him.
2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: More time spent in the car picking up his brother and eating snacks. He is always starving after school and starts requesting snacks the minute I buckle him in. I always have a bag packed with his favorites.
3:35 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Constant requests for food, TV, movies, and to jump outside on the trampoline, regardless of the weather. He is known in the neighborhood for jumping barefoot — or without pants. He keeps life interesting.
He keeps life interesting.
5:00 p.m.: He expects dinner to be ready and served.
5:30 p.m.: I finally pull together a meal. We set the timer again. At dinner, we also try to instruct him to eat with utensils. He has low muscle tone and weak hands, which means he eats like a caveman.
6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.: Play time for the family. We all head to the family room to toss a ball around, build puzzles, play music, or anything else we can do to keep the TV off while getting out every last bit of his energy.
7:00 p.m. to 7:20 p.m.: Bedtime routine begins. He recently began to take a shower, which is life-changing. Before he was afraid of the noise it made or how it felt when the water hit his skin. I thought he was going to take baths for the rest of his life.
7:20 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.: Time to wrestle him into his PJs. It takes even more convincing to wear a pajama shirt.
7:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.: We read his favorite books and leave him to bounce out more energy. That's right, he needs to bounce some more.
8:15 p.m.: He is finally calming down and blows me a kiss goodnight!