Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Order in the Chaos

During Stow's final autism evaluation last month, the doctor told me that after seeing so many families living with autism, she's come to the conclusion that parenting with autism is just like regular parenting, only magnified by about 1000. I don't know if this is true; I can only guess what it's like to parent in a family not impacted by ASD. What I do know is that life continues to be INTENSE.

Some things are actually a little better, though. The biggest improvement? After working with therapists for what feels like an eternity, we have finally managed to help Stow get the hitting under control. This doesn't mean that various forms of bodily contact aren't happening--Stow has adopted the practice of aggressive hugging when he's frustrated. Aggressive hugging consists of using his face and shoulders to push me backwards like a sumo wrestler while he simultaneously shoves his hands into my pockets and/or yanks at my shirt.  It's still not ideal, but it sure beats the months and months  of getting pummeled. Change takes time.
Autism isn't the only ongoing challenge at our house. It has been 7 months since Ren's last surgery, but at this point, I can't tell if we are post-op or pre-op. The back and leg pain have returned, and the shoulder pain is slowly but surely ratcheting up. In practice, that means there are days when Ren can't do much of anything, when he looks a lot like this:

Man down.
Honestly, life's not easy. It can be hard to cope with all the chaos. And, sometimes I just need to be able to control what I can control, even if it's just a little thing.

To that end, I bought these for the kids in hopes of making it easier to prep and pack three lunches EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Lunch boxes lined up and ready to be filled.
Thanks to these fancy insulated lunch boxes, we can now send the kids with hot food that will still be hot(tish) at lunch time. Suddenly, the tedium of the morning feels slightly less tedious. When my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. after I've been up late catching up on work or awakened in the night by Ren's cries of pain, thinking about what new thing we can put in the kids' lunches helps me face the day. I know it sounds strange, but there's something soothing in knowing that I have control over this one thing.

When I first posted pictures of the lunches on FB, friends were amazed by how fancy they seemed. To be honest, most of it is leftover dinner. Soon I started posting descriptions of all the things that were going wrong while we made these lunches--from kids not eating, to meltdowns, to insane conversations, to Ren being laid low by pain. Maybe everyone is tired of hearing about and seeing the lunches, but for now, they are order in my chaos...

Here's a photo retrospective of recent lunches. Hope you enjoy it!

Fried rice with miso soup
Gyudon (beef on rice) with egg soup
Pork cutlet with egg soup.
Ginger chicken and burdock root
Ginger pork
Beef teriyaki
Potato and bacon soup
Rolled egg with chicken nuggets

Kani-tama don

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