I think everyone knows by now that I have a special needs child. He is 14 years old. Where has time gone? He can be the sweetest most loving child on most days. On other days he can be the most irritating and annoying child on the planet. He will test your patience to the limits and then some. So life can be a little crazy here especially when it comes to the toilet paper!
We quickly learned that routines were a must! He thrives on routines and schedules. He likes to know what is to be expected and when to expect it. He does not, I repeat DOES NOT, like changes. As we all know there are many changes in life and especially with this many people in our house things are constantly changing.
So what do we do? How do we handle the changes? How do we keep our sanity?
Well, we have our basic routines. We have routines for mornings, for afternoons, and for bedtimes. We also have our school routines and certain routines that we follow for extra activities. We try our best to stick to these as much as possible and give him something ‘constant’ that he can count on. By trying to keep things as normal as possible, even when we are away from the house, it helps him to stay balanced.
When there are changes we know to keep an extra eye out for him and they way he acts. He will usually give some kind of warning behaviors before he hits complete melt down stage. His older siblings have learned some of these signs are able to help me intercept when needed. We can redirect his attention and focus onto something that doesn’t upset him or we can try to explain what is going on to him depending on the situation.
There are times, like the holidays, when meltdowns are almost inevitable. We try to watch and listen for clues that one is approaching but sometimes a melt down will come out of nowhere. Once we get him through it then all is well again until the next time. The younger kids have learned that this just part of life. They know to give him space and to give him some quiet time so he can calm down and unwind. They have developed and understanding and show a lot of empathy towards him when he is struggling.
Some of the warning signs are in the picture above. I had not made it into the bathroom to do my morning Swish & Swipe and apparently the toilet paper was on the ‘wrong way’ and which was enough to send him over the edge a couple of days ago. He then proceeded to shred the toilet paper all over the bathroom, unfold all of the towels, and turn everything around backwards. Why? I don’t really understand why but I’m sure it made sense to him in some way.
After spending a few minutes in the bathroom he came out and went to his room and shut the door. This wasn’t normal and when I opened the door he was folding his socks and lining them up. He just kept saying something about ‘the wrong way’. It wasn’t long before someone found the mess in the bathroom.
After this event his older sister had me show her how to ‘properly’ fold the towels so that she can help to put them away right. She also had me show her a couple of other ‘tricks’ to cleaning and tidying up the bathroom to help keep it the ‘right way’. She is also displaying empathy towards him and towards me by trying to help with this.
Being a Momma of many can be tough. There are some days that are tougher than others. This day was no exception but I also know it could’ve been worse if we didn’t have our routines in place to help him. By helping him we are also helping each other. When one family member is struggling it causes the rest of us to struggle as well.
Something as little as the toilet paper roll can trigger a meltdown which can lead to a ‘bad day’. I know there are so many people who argue about what the right way is for the toilet paper. In our house it is the picture on the left, no exceptions!
I encourage you to look for things that you can do to help others in your house, no arguing about what is the right way or the wrong way, just do it.