It's been a challenging holiday season. Urinating in the bedroom (which hasn't otherwise taken place for months) started again a few weeks ago, evidenced by the large, urine-filled vinegar bottle discovered in Chef's room - I'm glad a container was being used.
On the morning of Dec. 20th, there was an all-too-familiar-and-really-bad odour coming from Chef's room. Nothing was visible, which made my heart sink with the thought of having to check the carpet and vent, but as I followed my nose I found the source - four incontinency briefs stuffed in the 3-inch space under Chef's desk. I called the school to let them know Chef was accessing someone's briefs. When Chef arrived home he made it clear that he was furious with me for contacting the school. I reminded him that it isn't cool to take someone's briefs and even less cool to use them to hide urine in his room, and that he needed to take the briefs out to the garbage immediately. Chef stormed up to his room, came down a few minutes later with a bag of garbage, and stormed out the door. When he came back, he sullenly had a bite to eat then stormed back up to his room. Hours later, Chef had made four trips to the washroom but didn't answer when I called from the bottom of the stairs so I went upstairs and reminded him through his door that his respite family would be picking him up shortly and he still had things to do to get ready for Christmas. I heard what sounded like a book dropping on the floor - I asked Chef if he'd heard me and heard a low 'yes' through the door. An hour later Chef still hadn't come down so I called him from the stairs. "I know!" was the response from his room. Chef still didn't come downstairs and didn't come down when called for supper. At 6:30pm, Chef slowly came down with a very grumpy look on his face. He slowly started getting a rag and cleaners out then asked if he could have supper. I reminded him that he was supposed to have supper but had chosen not to come when it was ready, then asked Chef if he was going to get himself a quick snack before getting his chores done. Chef growled and humphed then started slamming around in the kitchen. I reminded him that he could be appropriate or take it outside til he was ready to be appropriate inside. Another growl but no more slamming, then Chef moved on to whining about not being able to find anything for a snack. A few minutes later, Chef's respite family pulled in and suddenly Chef was racing around putting food into containers. "Am I staying til Monday?" he asked. "No, we talked about this. You'll be coming back Saturday night because you need Sunday to get yourself ready for Christmas. There's no more urine in your room? You took those out to the garbage?" "Ya, you even SAW me!!" And with that, Chef was away for the next few days.
On Saturday, I noticed a terrible smell coming from Chef's room - similar to the Thursday before, but stronger. When I opened the door, I immediately saw clothes and bedding rolled/bundled all together on Chef's bed. I started unbundling, gagged, rebundled, and looked at the time. The briefs were still there in the room. This time he'd bundled them inside clothing and bedding. Chef would soon be home and the bundle would wait til then.
As soon as Chef got home, he was ordered to remove the entire bundle from the house. There was much stomping and grumping but he took everything out to the garbage and disinfected his mattress. The next day was filled with hours of Chef grumping about having to empty out and clean his room - it took hours. By suppertime he just needed to finish disinfecting the walls, bedframe, etc. That was a week ago. The past week, Chef has been mostly polite and pleasant at other people's homes but the same certainly cannot be said for his time at home. In addition, I've been down the last few days with terrible cold symptoms along with bacterial conjunctivitis. I guess I could look at it as things being worse because of it, but I figure if things are going to be rough through the holidays, being sick may as well happen then.
Today is December 30th. Today is the first day Chef has been pleasant at home since the 20th. He got up, exercised, bathed, combed his hair (!!!), etc., made lunch, did dishes, asked if I wanted anything, and is now resting in his room. I sure appreciate turn-around days.
This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom (http://richesofsimplicity.blogspot.com/) of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.