"Mom, I put my clothes on and see...I found underwear in my drawer and put it on me." I don't see because it's dark and my eyes and my aching body are struggling to find their function but I take his word for it. Grammar is a work in progress for a child with a speech delay but I'm thankful that we can still understand him...most of the time.
"Ok, honey. Good job." I say, only half-intelligibly.
"And look. I even have socks and shoes on my feet. See?" I don't look but feel a thud as he tries to hike his foot onto the bed and plops it in my lap.
"That's great, sweetheart. I'm really proud of you." I'm slowly starting to come out of my sleep-induced stupor and manage to open my eyes this time.
"Can I get on the television or computer now?" Oh, yes. So that is the reason for this morning report. Had I been half-awake at the time, I would have realized this.
"Brush your teeth and comb your hair first and then you can."
"Ok!" He runs toward the bathroom and I hear the water running. Then, I can hear his agitation growing and I know if I don't act fast, this could quickly escalate into a full-blown meltdown. "Oh! Stupid toothpaste! Aye, aye, aye, aye, aye! Mo-om, it won't come out." I'm reminded now of how depleted the tube is and tell myself for the twelfth time to buy another the next time I'm at the store.
"Ok, ok. Calm down. What can you do to try to fix this?" I'm trying to help him find his voice by allowing him to think through the problem and find a solution on his own.
His answer comes quickly this time and I can only hope it's a sign that this technique is working. "Can you help me?" he asks.
I'm still in the bed, sitting up at this point but my feet have yet to touch the floor. "Good job asking for help, " I say in all sincerity, knowing that this is not something that's easy for him to do. Not being able to do something well on your own the first time is #1 on Jackson's "Top Ten Triggers of Meltdowns" list. "Sure, I'll be happy to help you. Bring it to me."
He walks over to the bed and though the room is still dark, I'm able to pinch enough toothpaste out of the tube to cover his small toothbrush. "Thank you, Mommy," he says with relief.
"You're welcome, sweet boy," I say, equally relieved. Crisis averted. Fifteen more minutes of sleep.
A quick brush of the teeth, a gargle, a spit, and the sound of rushing water stops. I can hear him opening and closing the drawers in the bathroom now and I know immediately what he's doing: looking for a comb. "Ugh, where is that comb, Jackson? I need it. Mommy said I had to comb my hair. There's a brush right there but I don't like the brush. I can't use the brush. I know, Jackson! Let's look in Mommy's bathroom."
I try to ignore the fact that he is talking to himself...again...and most likely using hand puppets...again...which we've told him not to do at least a hundred times before. "He is staying on task and trying to do what I asked him to do. Baby steps. We'll get there," I think to myself and decide the puppet show talk can wait. We've narrowly avoided one meltdown already and I'm not even out of bed yet. It's not worth risking another one, particularly when he still hasn't found a comb which, if left unresolved for too much longer, will likely yield the same desperate result. (Losing something is #2 on the meltdown list.)
He is in our bathroom now, still talking to himself but still looking for a comb, and I inwardly groan with the thought that I may have to get out of bed to help him find one. It's still early and our other two children are still asleep, which is exactly what I'd like to be doing. Five hours of rest is more like a long nap than a good night's sleep and I scold myself for staying up so late the night before. "Here it is! I found my black one that goes in here." A wave of relief washes over me and I can feel my muscles relaxing, having not been aware of my body's tension until now. I take a deep breath and lay back down, grateful and ever so thankful for ten more minutes of rest.
Within a minute or two, Jackson is again by my side. "Ok, Mommy. I brushed my teeth and combed my hair. How do I look?" Smiling widely at me so I can get a good look at his teeth, I notice that parts of his hair are damp and can only assume that he did his best to tame a few "fly-aways" with little to no success. I reach for his head to see if I can make the unruly strands behave and he pulls back, "Don't, Mommy. You'll mess it up." I chuckle to myself at the pride my son has in his appearance and vow not to take that from him.
"Perfect, honey. You look perfect. Good job!"
"So, now can I get on the computer or the television?"
"Television," I say, "but keep the volume down."
Even in the dim light, there's no mistaking the joy that consumes his face. I watch my little man run out of the room as happy as a lark and I'm thankful once again for as stress-free of a morning as we could hope to have. The alarm clock goes off and I hit the snooze as I think to myself, "Today is going to be a good day...in just five more minutes..."
- I'm a mother of 3 who started blogging as a way to share our many adventures and to expand beyond the everyday "mommy world". While there IS so much more to us mommies than the title, there is very little that doesn't in some way or another lead us back to or influence our children...if anything. So, I hope you enjoy following our family's randomness, because as all moms know- you can never anticipate what tomorrow will bring! Thanks for visiting and have a blessed day! :)