Yesterday was a super long day at work away from the munchkins. I left the house about 6:30am and didn’t get back home until well after the kids were in bed for the night. This gets harder and harder for me each and every night this happens. Going back to working outside of the home has been a very tough transition. Thankfully the 8pm entrance is not typical and only an occasional occurrence.
Anyway, after my super long day and commute I get in, change in to my comfortable clothes and hear Ashton still playing in his room. Ok before you start throwing stones….wondering why on earth we let him stay up and play in his room after we put him to bed, Ashton and sleep have a love - hate relationship. No matter what time he goes to bed, he is up at 6am (on the dot). His internal clock barely even gets confused when the time changes. With that being said, no matter what we have done or tried, he will not go to bed unless he is completely ready for bed. Most nights these days he is thankfully pretty ready for sleep within the first hour which is why the kids have a strict 7pm bedtime.
Our nightly ritual (ceremony, procedure or whatever strictly repetitive routine description you wish to place here) starts with giving a verbal queue to the kids that they have x amount of minutes to continue their current preferred activity…then another verbal reminder “1 more minute
torturing your sister/brother playing on the iPad”. After that minute or approximate mommy minute, we begin ushering the kids to their rooms. They go to their respective rooms and await the blanket routine which entails being covered in a very specific order starting with each of their favorite crochet blankets. Then comes the nightly prayer, then the kisses….and in Ashton’s case, I kiss and kiss and hug and hug repeating “Good Night” or “Night night” until he repeats it back. Then comes the “I love you’s” until he repeats it back. It may very well be torturous, I’m sorry but I love hearing him say it. It took nearly 5 years to hear it, ok?! After the “I love you”, if he hasn’t gotten enough kisses to last the night yet, he takes my head and keeps pulling me down to his face until he is all kissed out. =) Which lasts longer some nights then others. After he is done and ready for me to leave he pushes me away from him. After all the kisses and love, I am totally ok with this part. =D I say one last good night and I love you and leave the room. For some reason Jon always has to be the last one out of the room, we found this out the hard way. Once daddy says his final good nights and I love you’s, we close the door. If he is not ready for bed he will get back up and play for a little while until he is ready for bed. He then will cover himself up and go to sleep.
Ok so where were we…oh yes, I hear Ashton playing in his room. Of course my heart leaps a little bit knowing that I can go say goodnight at least (even if that means ritual must start all over). I open the door and his little face looks up at me from the bed (which he jumped back in quickly covering himself back up when he heard me coming in). I lean over him and give him a huge kiss and hug and say “I love you sooooo much!” To which he appropriately responded with “I luh you tooo”!! This was a FIRST. You may be thinking….ummm, Brandi….you announced several months ago that Ashton said “I love you” for the first time. You would be correct. Let me clarify something for you though. Children with Autism commonly use echolalia which is repeating what they hear exactly as they hear it…such as if you would ask “how are you?” they would respond with “how are you?” instead of appropriately responding to the question being asked. This in and of itself was a great step for Ashton, appropriately responding to something said instead of just repeating. This also tells me he hears a lot of “I love you” and I love you too’s”.
This concludes a wonderful Valentines week, pretty much the best one yet!!