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.
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.
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.
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.