The kids started back at school today after 5 weeks off.
Even though he was on a day off himself, Ethan was up before me and had given the boys breakfast and was chatting to them happily by the time I came down.
The next hour went smoothly. We worked as a team. We got a boy dressed each. Ava got herself dressed without too much coaxing. Ethan only needed reminding once to hurry up in the shower so that he wouldn't make the kids late for school (I was working so he was on drop-off today).
By 08:30 all three kids were dressed in clean uniforms, Ava's hair was brushed, we'd taken a photo of them all together, shoes were on, bags and lunch-boxes were packed and we were still all fairly calm and affable. And we were going to be on time!!
By 08:33 Ethan had discovered that Ava's scooter wasn't opening properly. At 08:36 Ethan was still fiddling with Ava's scooter. By 08:37 I was shouting at Ethan to stop fiddling with the scooter, look at it later and get the kids to school. By 08:38 we discovered we'd lost Ava's school bag. At 08:38:30 Ethan started walking off with the boys down the drive. At 08:38:32 I started shouting down the drive at Ethan to stop walking off - we'd still lost Ava's school bag and went back inside to locate it. At 08:38:40, Ethan started walking off again (minus Ava and her bag). Simultaneously I started shouting again (with more vigour this time) for him to stop walking off, nothing had changed since ten seconds ago when we couldn't find Ava's bag. By 08:39 Ethan had stomped back into the house and raced upstairs, followed by Sam, looking for Ava's bag. By 08:41, Sam was crying because Ethan had snatched a toy off him (that Sam had decided he wanted to show his teacher) and had thrown it across the landing whilst shouting at Sam to get downstairs. I was sniping at Ethan for having made Sam cry just as he was leaving for his first day in a new school year. Ethan was shouting at me to stop interfering and that he was going, with or without Ava's bag. Ava, in turn, was getting hysterical about going to school without her bag. Poor old Oliver had been strapped into the pram in our driveway the whole time and so couldn't do much except watch and despair at his dysfunctional (or perhaps entirely normal?) chaotic family.
We found the bag. The kids were late for their first day at school. It wasn't the end of the world. But it was frustrating and stressful at the time when I thought we'd been so on top of things. I don't know whether my scattiness was to blame (I'd moved the bag and forgotten where I'd put it) or Ethan's compulsion to fix a problem right there and then however inappropriate the timing and however urgent the other priorities (Aspergers, or just him? I don't know. But the compulsion only relates to fixing objects - not relationships!). Or were the kids to blame for, well, just being kids? I suspect all three: the combination is explosive at times. And Ethan recognises that he really needs to reign in his temper and self-control as well as engaging with the moment and listening to what's going on. Just as I need to reign in my nagging and intensity...ok, and scattiness.
Every day brings another lesson and another opportunity to practice.