Dinner routines in a quirky household

I’ve been spending the day cleaning our office.  Our office is more than just an office- it is a music studio and it’s also the room where we pile things that don’t have “homes”.  Therefore it is a mess.  However, I’m determined to get it done…..I just keep getting sidetracked with all the journals I have kept regarding parenting.  And to take a break from this chaos (and because I’m quite certain I have ADD) I had to get on here and share this journal entry I found from 2007…

The biggest perk of working in a preschool is having the same vacation time as my children.  I count down the days until I will have tons of free time to play, explore, and learn with them.

Today is one of those much anticipated days and I can not wait to get back to work.

A dead giveaway that it’s been a long day is the aroma of microwave cooking.  A tired mom does not usually feel the drive to produce a gourmet meal.  In our household microwave meals are rare, only because we have a shortage to choose from- we are living a gluten-free lifestyle like many families that include an autistic individual.

The gluten-free, nitrate-free, flavor-free turkey dogs are boiling on the stove and the gluten-free but pleasantly surprisingly yummy mac n’ cheese is being heated by micro waves.  They both still have a few minutes to go but my autistic 3 1/2 year old, Brian, has already been at the table for five, which is a lifetime for him, fully equipped with a plastic green fork gripped in his right hand.  He doesn’t fully understand the process of making a meal, even one by microwave.  As far as he is concerned there should be no elapsed time between me washing my hands before starting a meal to when I place it on the table.  His anticipation is magnified when he knows we are having turkey dogs, which is one of the 12 foods he’ll actually eat.

Between Brian’s animalistic yells, which are becoming louder and closer together, I call his quirky five year old brother to come set the table- a chore I have just recently regulated to him.  Of course I have to call him a few times because he is fully immersed in his new handheld video game.

The incessant noises coming from the game, the hum of the microwave, and Brian’s frequent yells are really doing a number inside my head.  I’ve learned a lot about sensory issues with my kids- enough to know that I have some of my own!  Then on top of it all I hear a “beep beep beep”- Brian’s potty timer.

“Brian you need to use the potty,” Corbin chirps without looking up from his game.  Okay, he heard that?  But didn’t hear me calling his name?

Brian lets out a loud scream, jumps from his seat, and storms up the stairs to the bathroom.  We are in the midst of an intensive potty training schedule, which Brian has a love/hate relationship with.  He hates the transitioning part but loves the reward, a Skittle.  I follow him up the stairs, catching myself grinding my teeth- my newest bad habit that I tend to do when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

Almost to the top of the stairs when our neighbors decide it’s the perfect time to burn their dinner.  We live in an apartment complex and one of the many perks is if one smoke detector goes off- everyone’s follows suit.  It doesn’t bother Brian.  Not much auditory does, except for the blender, parades, and occasionally the vacuum.  But I know it’s going to be another story for Corbin.

I hear the crash of his game from his fingers to the floor causing me to grimace with worry of how much it will cost to replace the gift from his Dad.  Immediately following the crash comes a panic-stricken, scared scream.  A scream that Jamie Lee Curtis would be envious of, accompanied with the pounding of little feet running up the stairs.  By the time he reaches me the smoke alarms have stopped as abruptly as they started.  I hug Corbin, explain the noise to him, and turn just in time to remove the green fork from Brian’s hand before he is fully situated on the toilet.  Brian pees, smiles, and points to the Skittles bag.

“Great job Brian,” says his big brother.

Then the three of us walk downstairs.  Brian first, holding his green fork, and Corbin and I, hand-in-hand following.  The house is quiet.  For now.

Heather Nelson

About Heather Nelson

Heather resides in Rockland where she is busy juggling life as a newlywed, a mom to two boys (one of which who has autism), a part time job in direct sales, and a full-time job as a pediatric occupational therapy assistant. She has a love for live music, karaoke, and cheering on the underdogs.