Whose house did I wake up in this morning? Whose children are these? Am I still dreaming? Am I in the matrix? Neo? Pinch me!
Well, apparently this is my house and these are my kids. Normally, I run a very tight ship in the morning. Things are literally scheduled to the exact minute. In order to get everything done with the least amount of resistance, we parade around in carefully choreographed movements, with me as the conductor. This precise timing and routine is the only way I can get 2 kids with 2 different lunches and 2 different backpacks onto 2 different buses headed to 2 different schools, all within 30 minutes of each other. The schedule is a necessity, particularly when you’ve got kids that need routine to function properly.
At one time, we had to use a picture schedule every day. It made the difference between having a decent day versus one full of meltdowns. Our current structure is based upon the success we had while using a picture board.
So, imagine my surprise this morning when I woke up to both kids out of bed and quietly starting their day. No fighting. No monkeying around. No yelling. No running. Just productivity. Really, who are these kids?
I stumbled out of the bedroom in my sweats and slippers to see Prince Charming in the bathroom. What? That should happen 20 minutes from now! Whenever I suggest we move up using the bathroom to before breakfast, he always pitches a fit. But, he’s in there. Willingly. Going. And, it’s not time for that yet! I mask the surprise on my face and walk by nonchalantly saying, “Good morning, honey.” I don’t want to jinx it by mentioning the fact that he’s in there and that I’m proud of him. That could make Grumpy Badger come out of hiding, and I’d rather keep Prince Charming around this morning, thankyouverymuch.
As I’m walking down the hall I hear a beeping sound. It’s too early and I haven’t had my coffee yet. I can’t place the sound and I’m starting to feel a little concern as I hear the sound repeat. What is that? I turn the corner into the kitchen and see Monkey standing in front of the toaster over opening it up and hitting the “stop” button. What is this? I try to force my brain to jump into overdrive so that I can process the information in front of me. Giving my brain a second to turn itself on I say, “Good morning, sweetie.” Then it hits me. Monkey has made his own breakfast!
Words start tumbling out of his mouth and I follow what he’s saying with my eyes, taking it all in. “Hi, mommy! I made waffles.” I see that he had climbed onto the counter to grab a plate from the cupboard, and that he got the applesauce out from the fridge. He had obviously pulled the frozen waffles out and placed some on the rack inside the toaster oven. He had set the timer and done everything correctly. Wow! I’m sort of stunned. I see that he’s not sure how to get the waffles out of the toaster oven because everything is so hot. So, I quickly turn from happy and dumbstruck observer back into mommy mode.
Now, let’s take a moment here to discuss the significance of this. Monkey has always had significant tactile defensiveness, meaning he can barely bring himself to touch stuff that is wet, slimy, or excessively cold or hot. Let’s see here. Frozen waffles…are cold and they make your fingers wet when you touch your warm fingers to them. And, I already told you about Prince Charming’s need for routine, and how doing things out of order is very uncharacteristic. Both of these things are big deals. Big. And they happened simultaneously!
Getting back to our story, I show Monkey how he can use a utensil to safely pull out the hot toaster oven rack and slide the waffles onto the plate. I demonstrate with one and he does the rest, following my example. Then, he tips the jar of applesauce over and pours out a dollop onto each waffle, just the way he likes it. Well, there’s also applesauce all over the plate and part of the counter, but we won’t worry about that right now.
He walks his plate of food carefully over to his chair just as Prince Charming enters the room. They both sit down to run through the rest of their routine as previously scheduled. I pull out their vitamins and am silently marveling about what I just experienced. It’s soaking in. Yes, this really did just happen. I’m proud of my boys, and I share that with them. They flash me their dazzling smiles and the rest of our morning routine is flawless. I even had time to talk and cuddle with Monkey before he left for the bus.
I could get used to this. Here’s hoping for a repeat sometime soon.