Summah Time


June 18, 2010 by Marj Hatzell

Summer.  Most people (teachers, especially) look forward to summer.  Heck, I look forward to summer. I love the fresh, local vegetables. I love walking with my neighbors every night and chatting about our day.  I love spending more time with my kids when they have time off.  I feel more relaxed and much happier.

This year, for some reason, I’ve been afraid of summer.  Bug Boy has been tense and difficult to deal with.  He has been moody and withdrawn.  He has been mouthing off and melting down.  I’m weary.  He’s tired.  We need a break.

Bug Boy refuses to go to the local rec camp this summer. I think he just needs a break from the structure of a group and waking up at the same freaking time every day (mommy does, too!)This year I did not sign him up, even though it is quite affordable. Bummer, too, because they keep the kids busy.

No camp doesn’t mean having nothing to do, see.  We could have a very boring summer. I could just hand Bug Boy books and let him retreat into his little world and leave it at that.  I’m thinking, however, that it would be bad for him. Autistic kids thrive on routine. They CRAVE it. They NEED it. Without it?  Complete disaster.  Meltdowns. Unhappiness.  So I did schedule a few things (HA!), regardless of the fact that he needs a break from his rigorous school routine.

-5 weeks (2 times a week) of tennis lessons

-5 Saturdays of soccer (super-cheap. Couldn’t pass it up)

-Swim lessons so he can pass the deep water test at the pool

-5 weeks of violin lessons (2 times per week)

-Science in the summer at the local swim club (in August, when everything else has ended)

-Free library program at the (get this) library

-tons of quality time with mom (what I’m looking forward to the most)

-daily chores

-My version of homeschooling five mornings a week

He’ll be plenty busy. He won’t want to but if I don’t sign him up for things he’ll sit and stare at books all day, complain about being bored or beg for the computer (his main obsession. And I do mean OBSESSED).  Truthfully, I’m glad he’s home with me for very selfish reasons.  See, Bugaboo takes up 99% of my time.  And sleep. And energy.  Bug Boy is lucky to get any attention at all. It’s just the nature of how things work around here.  Bug Boy is independent and can occupy himself. He can tend to his own needs.  He needs me, I know that, but sometimes Bugaboo needs me MORE.  Having two kids with significant special needs is a major juggling act.  Most of the time Bugaboo wins because his needs are safety-related.  And, if I let him go on his own he’d eat drywall and dog food (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

So this summer?  It’s Bug Boy and Mommy.  I get to give him my undivided attention. I get to read him books without worrying about someone climbing out of windows. I get to ride bikes to the pool with him and have one-on-one time, chatting over lunch.  I get to become reacquainted with my charming little man.  I miss him terribly.

And it starts today!

5 thoughts on “Summah Time

  1. Kelly says:

    That is a hella cute picture.

    And just think, one day he’ll be able to serenade you with the sweet sound of the strings….

  2. the life you choose says:

    Yay – I always enjoy having one kid to myself.
    It’s always so refreshing and oddly endearing to have the one on one.

    Have fun with your boy!

  3. farmwifetwo says:

    IMO the biggest lie out there is “autistic children require routine”. The ABA people tried to tell us that…. one of our numerous arguments…. But I’ve spent nearly 11yrs busting every routine there is in this house. I refuse to make schedules, refuse to make meals at certain times and for the 2nd summer in a row we’re “slumming”. We’ll go to the beach, the 11yr old is going camping with his Grandparents, the 8.5yr old keeps asking “tent? camp yard?”

    Yes, the lack of routine may drive my eldest – the NLD one – but the non-verbal autistic one… “playground? toys?” – Let me find my book…..

  4. kristastes says:

    I love that picture 🙂

  5. Anjali says:

    We are having a similar summer. Only two weeks of camp this year (the second one starts this week), minimal swim lessons (they love to swim but hate the lessons). Otherwise, we are sleeping in, slumming around the house or the pool or at friends’ houses. The lack of routine is exactly what we needed.

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