Did we ever imagine that this is where we’d be this week?
You couldn’t make it up if you tried.
“What’s going on Momma?"...the world needs a spring clean my little lovely, so we all have to stay home until all the bad germs are scrubbed away and the world is fresh and new.
So here I am, here we are, 5 humans, 2 doggos and a bearded dragon called Brussel Sprout. Under the one roof, contained? trapped? Home for the foreseeable with all that that brings with it, good, bad and sometimes a bit shouty. What now? What next? What’s for dinner? How do we do this? How do I stay sane? Who ate all the ice-cream? - “NO, WE CAN’T JUST GO TO THE CINEMA!”
2 weeks ago, my daughter sent me message after message (we live in the same house, she’s a teenager and prefers to text?)! Mum this Coronavirus is coming, its coming and we’re all gonna get it” – my reply “seriously kiddo – get some sleep, it’s not coming here?” (I’m only human?). “But Mum I think I already have it, I have 7 out of the 10 symptoms” (Dr Google doing his/her job). “ you do not have it get to sleep or your grounded”
“why am I grounded?”, “for not going to sleep!” (this is how it goes)
Next came my favourite bit, a singing goofy or duck singing a song of the countries of the world whilst a map it is pointing to turns red in turn showing the impending doom with comic gusto. “See Mum” came the tag line.
“Please go to sleep “– “We are all gonna die” came the dramatic reply………… radio silence, ahhhhhhhhhh she’s gone to sleep?
Nope – “Mum will you buy me a horse?”, mum of the year here replies “you don’t need one you’ve got Coronavirus!” Ah hind sight, reality continues to ruin my life!
Back to today – so in our house, maybe like yours, we thrive on routine and expectation. We get up, we go to school and work, we go home, all is well in the world. We are creatures of very strict habits because in our house we embrace ASD. Anxiety and unpredictability are not kind to us, so what are we supposed to do with the days ahead of us?
We have been processing this new reality gently with hugs, love and reassurance (and many deep breathing breaks) ohh and distraction! Lego, paint by numbers, cooking, movies, ipads, games, very little school work as yet. We just needed to BE. It has gotten us through this week, we have bits of the day that are calm and steady, times during the day are strained and difficult, times when as a parent I feel desperate and guilty for not doing enough or entertaining my children enough because I too need to process this new way of living. I have found not thinking too far ahead is the way, right now we have all the time in the world, so we can take our time – when in our lifetime have we had this opportunity before?
School Work will come when the kids feel they are in a place to learn. As a family we will find our new normal, I can feel it starting to happen already. You will have strategies and plans that have worked or haven’t, I would love to hear them – lets get each other through these different times ahead.
So, in short this week has been one of fear, anxiety, distress, grief, loneliness mixed with moments of the simplicity, humour and beauty of family life being rediscovered and redefined. Managing the stress levels of a child or young person on the spectrum is particularly challenging as these times push all those stress triggers to the forefront with fast moving highs and lows. Sleep disruption, routine turned on its head over night and now an overwhelming need to go out and about???? (the irony)
Let me know what’s happening with you all? Let’s talk. Until next week we are a home in lock down. Loving each other through it (mostly!).