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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Aspergers, half-term and learning to relax

Half-term. All five of us at home. Ethan's on a run of early shifts so is home by lunchtime each day. We're trying to embrace the togetherness. But are driving each other crazy!
The kids spend their time either bickering with each other, moaning at me or asking for stuff.
Ethan is obsessively washing clothes and 'tidying up'. He perhaps thinks he's helping. More likely though, there's too much mess and chaos around and his way of feeling in control of that is to take some practical action. If he sees clothes in the washing basket, he has to wash them...now. If he sees a mess on the side, he has to clear it - often into the bin.
I now have four washing loads of clothes to put away. And, with the constant rain we've had this week, the dryer is so over-used it's in danger of closing itself down in protest.
What Ethan doesn't realise is that we don't have enough room in our wardrobes for all of our clothes to be clean. The washing basket handily doubles up as a storage facility! I've told Ethan this before but the information never seems to stick. The washing basket must be empty.
Never mind that there are wet clothes still on the floor from our swimming trip this afternoon, or that tea should have been started twenty minutes ago: we have enough clean clothes to last us the next six weeks without having to wash a single item - so that's OK.
There are other 'tasks' he attends to which drive me crazy. Taking the washing off the airer when it's not quite dry, putting pots away dirty, making the kids packed lunches but making the sandwiches with old, slightly stale bread that I was only keeping for toast, getting the boys dressed but putting them in each others' clothes so that Sam's trousers are pedal pushers and he can barely breath and Oliver's tripping over the three inch extensions to the bottom of his. Ethan doesn't seem to notice. Mind you, neither do the boys. So maybe it's a man thing.
I really am grateful and lucky to have a man who gets stuck in, helps out at home and mucks in with the kids. I probably need to relax a bit more.
Like, this week, I've felt obliged, almost to myself, to incorporate some kind of wholesome, educational, worthwhile activity into every day. Whether it's homework, times-table bingo (Ava isn't fooled by me trying to dress this up into a game!), drawing a picture for a poorly old lady down the road, or going for a healthy bit of fresh air (in the rain): I've had it drilled into me by my mum that each day has to involve some kind of duty. I find it hard to just sit around and chill out. Or hang out at the park with friends all day.
So maybe this half-term should be about me sitting around a bit more, allowing the kids to sit around, and allowing Ethan to do whatever he needs to do to feel more in control of his environment.
I'll just have to sneak around after him hanging the damp clothes back out, changing the boys trousers and retrieving what he's 'tidied' from the bin!
Happy half-term everyone!

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