A Slice of Life…

Why do they all seem to say 7 a.m.?

It’s 5:30 a.m.  It’s dark and cold.  The alarm is a harp because if it was anything else, my nerves would be shot.  The boy went to sleep – finally- at midnight.  Now, here I was awake again at 5:30.  There is no choice.  That is the appointed time to meet the schedule to get to school.

The two, small, plastic-sealed vials lay on the changing table, long since converted to a bookshelf, next to the bed on which he sleeps.  I prop a pillow up against the headboard next to him, sit my rear down, empty the vials into the dispenser and begin the ritualistic 24 minute breathing treatment while he remains asleep.  He tosses and turns and I follow his nose with the vaporized medicine from the nebulizer.

When the timer indicates I’ve finished, I leave.  I pick up dirty clothes.  I gather up dirty dishes.  I head out to the kitchen to prepare the morning plate with two droppers for medications, a cup for water and a plastic spoon for the yogurt in which he takes his medications.  There are currently six to give him in the morning after  the two meds in the nebulizer for asthma finishes, an antibiotic (temporary), another asthma/allergy med, three seizure meds and one for ADHD.  Then there are the multivitamins (since his eating habits are poor) and fluoride when I can get him to swallow, instead of spit it.

Everyone else is still asleep.  I do the dishes, the droppers, the cups, throw out the trash, and get myself bathed and dressed.  In between the morning festivities, I try to read blogs and check Facebook.

At no later than 7:30, I wake the boy.  I get him groomed, medicated, fed, dressed, “coated” and “shoed”.  This can take no longer than 40 minutes at which time we must be out the door to reach his school on time.  I must make sure we have his backpack, filled with homework, iPad, Nintendo DS, and any school projects or snacks.

Usually, I am carrying my laptop, my purse, his water, iPad, a stray toy he has demanded as payment for leaving the house, a DVD, a Diet Pepsi and two vitamins of my own.  Oh yeah, and a plastic baggie filled with precisely cut up pop tarts, halved powdered sugar donuts or strawberry 100 calorie mini cupcakes.  Breakfast of champions – for him, not me.

Finally, we arrive at school.  With a heavy sigh of relief, I hope upon hope that now, at long last, I can pick up my tea and sit down at my work desk to fight injustice.  As I finally put my butt down at my desk, the bell on my phone “dings” with an email from the kindergarten teachers.

Now, a no-no.

Don’t forget snack day, they remind.  Make sure to bring a healthy snack for the entire class.  No nuts.  Fresh fruit, washed and cut up for the entire class would be a great choice, they suggest. What? You mean, animal and graham crackers I can pick up at Wal-Mart are suddenly not good enough?   And so, now snack day eve would somehow have to involve a trip to the store to assure fresh fruit for the children.  Of course, snack day could not be Monday, when the weekend would accommodate the trip.  No.  Our snack days are Tuesday and Thursday.

The phone rings.  It was a call about a medication mix up.  The pharmacy had two prescriptions set to be picked up and wanted to know which was one was correct but neither one was.  Naturally.

Oh well, there was still the afternoon to finish up some work.

All was good.  I pick up my son from school and bring him to the office for a full afternoon of ABA therapy.  I was thinking for sure I’d get some work accomplished.   In checking the backpack, though, I learned that, because he was reading so well, he now had an extra, two-sided activity sheet to do, plus a book to read, plus math, regular writing and reading.  We’d just have to figure out a way to cram it all in to the window between 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m  with dinner, bathroom, bath and medications.  No problem.  There are five hours there!

All was well again.  As I sat back down to work again, the perky ABA tutors came to tell me the boy had an accident and needed a change of clothes.  Oops.  Someone forgot to prompt the toilet before ABA started.  Well, it was Thursday so that was the last of the jeans.  I would just have to fit yet another load of laundry in the mix with the other chores, but surely it would all get done.

You don't want to know how long this took...

Oh, but don’t forget the Weather Mobile art project due on Friday.  The one the two of you have been working on all week.  A little glitter here.  A little glue there.  Surely, that’s nearly done.

ABA ended.  We packed up the car for the long ride home.  Oh.  Gotta get some gas.  Better back track to the cheaper gas down the block.  Musical pumps.  Fun.

You don't know what you are missing.

There were things that needed to be picked up.  Cupcakes for someone’s birthday.  Another detour.  One with temptations I am required to resist.

Come on young man, get out of the car and put down the iPad.  Let me get that door.  His Dora yogurt from WalMart falls out of the car on the asphalt and rolls under the car.  Hooray.  I get down on all fours and fetch the one stray yogurt cup before the boy goes into full on meltdown mode.

And then there is the ritualistic stop for the ever popular Happy Meal on the way home.

At last, home.  It was dark.  I put away the groceries, started the laundry, helped the child in the bathroom and prepped him for a bath.  No problem.  What time is it?  Just 6:30 and all that done?

But wait, I’m hungry too.  Now it’s 6:50.  Plenty of time to do the work sheets, read the book, administer the meds, get the clothes in the dryer, sign off on the book, put away the homework sent home and relax, right?

Oh yeah… that art project.  The one that is for the kids that ends up being for the adults.  The one with the glitter and glue and yarn and hole punch.  That one.

At 9:30, the activity sheets are finished.  The boy has read the book.  The art project is done.  The bath – is cancelled much to the child’s delight.  I’m exhausted.  He has a second wind.

Thank you Friday for finally getting here.  I thought you’d never come.  But before I lay down, I have to fold this laundry.

Kinda like this...


About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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15 Responses to A Slice of Life…

  1. Kelly Hafer says:

    Oh sweet Jesus. I hear you. The only thing I can say is that you are awesome. It might not feel like it some days, but you are. You really, really are. And, now, I have to pay bills, feed and pee the dog, then I promised AJ we’d do something fun. Pretty sure it involves dirt of some kind. Which means a second set of clothes for the day, provided he has any left after the week.

    Is it too early for me to start to drink?

  2. And that was a slow day right? Tonight, me and the hubby are going out to a real dinner w/o the kids for the 1st time since … ahm … over a year ago. I fully intend to have a few drinks. I’ll throw in an extra one for you.

  3. Teresa says:

    A mom’s work is never done. I remember those days…the breathing treatments, oh so much fun. Kids didn’t like them and afterwards always ran around the house on a buzz from the medicine.
    I didn’t realize how bad it was until one day I made dinner and told Matthew it was ready. He disappeared and I found him sitting in the car waiting to go to McDonald’s!

  4. blogginglily says:


    Okay. . . listen. I know I should have paid more attention to this blog post than I was able to, but I need to be forgiven. WHY are frosted animal crackers a no-no??? I’ve been focused on that ever since the picture. I was like “SWEET!! Frosted animal crackers! My favorite!” and then I read the caption. . .

    WTH!! Who SAYS they’re a nono???

  5. Lizbeth says:

    I just igonre those e-mails from the teacher asking for whole wheat crackers and fresh fruit. I asked my kids what they do with the healthy snacks and they all say, “Ewwww, we don’t eat THAT!” Like I was an idiot for even asking.

    And that right there is why I would never want to go back–only forward. It does get easier. It does. We do our nebulizer treatments in the evening, before baths and we’ve just now got him to get everything out and ready.

    Thank God it’s Friday!!!

  6. danidawn says:

    You are truly supper woman. I can relate to the nebulizer treatments they take up a good chunk of time. We have to do 3 different medications in PA’s twice a day. Takes about 45 minutes at a time. I wish I could get her to just take medications. I have to put it in her Pediasure drink at night (3 medications crushed up in that one). They sell cut up apples ready to serve now 🙂 those are a lifesaver for me.

  7. For Little Miss’s birthday party, I sent in two boxes of Ho-Ho’s. I felt bad about it… for about two seconds. Then I ate the rest of the Ho-Ho’s myself 😉

    Here’s to the weekend, right?

  8. Lisa says:

    This sounds oddly familiar, except we luckily don’t do neb treatments. We hide Tate’s meds in lemonade.

    I get so annoyed with the healthy snack thing…especially for a birthday. I’ve taken to sending in fruit snacks…the Motts Medley ones made from veggies & fruit juices. The box makes them LOOK healthy. 🙂

    And the laundry…oh, God, the laundry….TGIF is right!

  9. We’re allowed to mix medicines in the nebulizer? Like albuterol and pulmicort? If so, that’s life-changing… or at least one less step every single day.

    I hope you get a break this weekend. Although for me the weekend is much busier than the week since there is no school!

  10. Teresa says:

    I’m exhausted just reading about your days. You are so competent as well as clean and coiffed. Bravo! I am impressed.

  11. Wow… Have I told you you’re amazing??

    Also, the weather mobile is *so* cute! And I def. hear you on the. freaking. laundry!! I did like 4 loads at the beginning of the week and I somehow still have another 3 massive bag-fulls that need doing!! I can’t do them during the day cause the kids keep messing with the stupid setting and by the time they’re asleep, I usually collapse exhausted on the couch and forget!

  12. I hear you! I don’t know if this was a feeling you were feeling as you wrote this, but I was feeling the isolation that comes with sometimes being a mother with a child with special needs–how many people don’t understand, how much that mom is struggling to stay afloat, how much energy, and how much emotional-pain. Anyways, that’s what it stirred in me. Hugs to you!

  13. Lana says:

    Just another day in the life…

  14. Another day, another…what, we don’t get paid for this?! Sigh. Leave the laundry, and treat yo’self to one of those frosted animal crackers. Stat.

  15. ElizOF says:

    What a week! Phew! You deserve that cupcake; make it 3 cupcakes. No 7 😆 😉

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