A lot has been weighing on my mind lately. Today, on my out for work Max was going into his compulsive breakfast behavior. There are a few behaviors that occur regularly that have become obsessive. As most parents and especially parents of children on the spectrum, small simple things can take hours to get through and can ruin the entire day! As I was driving to work I continued to think about how the morning went with the sugar? I don’t ask, I just keep moving ahead and am hopeful that our great loving grandma was able to do the same this morning. Thank goodness for her and her patient soul.
So, these repetitive, obsessive, and compulsive behaviors may look like a “terrible two tantrum” but they are defiantly so much more. In today’s example, Max has a “ritual” when making toast. Toast in our home is a frozen cinnamon toast Eggo waffle. Max will make it himself with some help. The toast is cooked and then spread butter (or in our house Earth Balance Butter because we are diary free) with a cinnamon sugar over top.
So…the sugar! While the toast in the toaster, Max will get the container of sugar to make more topping. However, when he makes the topping he has to add enough white sugar to cover the existing cinnamon sugar. Then he gets the cinnamon and adds the cinnamon to the sugar, puts the lid on and shakes. So, yesterday the container was too full to add another layer; however, Max was unable to abandon his ritual and push forward. He instead had to have a time out and then in return he abandoned his toast all together and opted for another food. This morning, without prompt he was making his own breakfast! Great right?! Yup, until he got to the sugar. Sugar is going all over the counter and the floor and as grandma and I tell and suggest that the container is full and we don’t need to make anymore; he presses on. So, today…I left him making a mess with sugar. Already running late on a Monday morning a delicate balance in place. I don’t want to set him off because our daughter is still sleeping, it’s a school day and I’m going to work and leaving him with grandma. I decided to let him continue and let grandma decide how she wanted to move forward with the behavior. She gets the broom, I walk to the car.
This post is for everyone not just moms and dads with children on the spectrum. Just remember that a smile, laugh or kind word to a parent when they are running late is the best choice. To the outside world, my child looks like any other child. But, he has days that he struggles. Days that he has obsessive and compulsive behavior or just an overstimulating environment. Tomorrow will be better and someday I will laugh at the sugar!