Michael and I are schemers. Okay, I am a big schemer; Michael just goes along with my plans. We have lived in our house for ten years and our younger son has refused to allow us to update his room. There are only two rooms in our house that have not been repainted and redecorated - Chich's room and the office. The office was in use the day we arrived as our online business was first priority, no time to redo. Now Chich works from home and uses it full time and we still run our online business as well. It will take a lot of planning and some fast action to ever redo the office.
So, Chich's room was a better target. Let me just say how much work is involved with a room that hasn't been touched in ten years. Our son does not like change or to get rid of anything. Recently, he has begun to "get into" what he wears and changed his hair. He has a great job that he loves. He is growing up! Just before he left, he agreed to go through his clothes with me and get rid of the ones he doesn't wear any longer. He was brutal! This has not been done since high school. He got rid of four trash bags - more than I would have! I knew the time had come. Time to clean up his room and give him a new start.
Chich said he wanted to go visit his brother for a few days, and I was delighted. The wheels started turning (since I am currently home and not working this summer). We put our son on the train and we were off! Michael took Friday off from work to allow us enough days to do the big job. We headed to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things and went home to clear out the room.
|All of his belongings moved to the guest room|
|The dirty walls and HUGE hole to be patched|
First, was scraping the popcorn ceiling. We wet it with a little water and it came off great!
|No more popcorn! Down to the drywall.|
|Texturing added to the ceiling|
|Paint on the walls and ceiling, nice and clean|
Crown moulding. This is Michael's thing. I am happy to hold it in place, help you measure, even touch up the paint, but that is it. It is funny after doing so many of these projects, we each have our niche. I scrape the ceiling, paint, plan the arrangement (make scaled down drawings of room and furniture on graph paper), decorate and clean. Michael sands and paints all trim, electrical, crown moulding and light fixtures.
I am starting to feel the crunch. I don't think we will finish before we have to bring Chich home. There is always so much hurry up and wait with these types of projects along with the unexpected along the way. It seemed that everything we planned was taking three times as long as we thought.
Sunday - Well, here we are. Michael was called into work, so all work has stopped. Why? Because we are at the point of Michael needing to do his stuff before I can load the room. So, I am using this time to sort, prepare, assemble and straighten the rest of the house. Best laid plans, right?
Our evening was full and we didn't get to bed until 12:30 am! We ended the evening by cleaning the carpet. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day.
We brought Chich home from the train station. He was hungry, tired and his feet hurt (problem with his shoes). Now here is where you other parents with children with autism will be nodding your head in agreement.
Chich didn't want to go see the room. He saw his old TV in the dining room (we could not take it out, too big), so he knew something was up. Chich does not like change, new things or letting go of items. I have tried to balance my need for neatness and streamlined living with his need for consistency and items. Life is change, so it would not help him to live in a bubble, but I do understand his needs and bend quite a bit.
|New bookcases, blinds, curtains and crown moulding|
In our family, you are allowed to express your opinions, but you must support it with details. So, instead of Chich saying, "I hate it," examples and descriptions are required. He said the furniture was too boxy. I get that, I explained that I blended the squareness of the nightstands with the curves of the lamps and lampshades (all to mimic the design in the bedding). He did say he liked the bed and was happy to have sheets that would stay on his thick mattress. My argument that the room is a healthy place to sleep and live now free of dust and dirt were dismissed. The longer he stood looking in the space, the more irritated he became. I relented and he returned to the office to have some dinner and work.
|The bed and nightstands|
I love my son. I am proud of him and have lived through years of struggles and disappointments. Dropping out of college in his junior year, only to land his dream job one month later disrupts my sense of world balance. As a mom, we all want our children to be independent, successful and happy. I could give in and allow him to avoid difficult situations and dismiss it as necessary due to his Autism. I can't. I won't. What I will do is help him understand that his feelings are valid, but we must learn the ways to navigate through the world and develop skills to do so. Being a jerk, not allowed. Doing something in a different way or retreating from irritating envirnoments, totally okay. But mostly, trying to get him to talk about it and diffuse his constant stress. Normal transitional activities (having a job, talking with someone, going to new places) have speed bumps we must acknowledge the steps and discuss. Talking through situations and possible solutions allow him to map his responses which give him the "practice" needed before actually doing something. This is something we have done since he was little and continue today.
Yes, I push him. I push myself. I push my students. What have I received in return? A greater understanding of different viewpoints. Patience (thank you God), lots of patience. A lot of resistance, and sometimes full blown fits, screaming and fights. There have been great bouts of sadness when I realize there are some things that will always be difficult (near impossible). But mostly, it has been an appreciation of small victories. Although our family progress isn't on the normal age timeline, it is a constant forward motion and milestones are achieved.
So, Chich has a new room and his response was not what we see on those home decorating show reveals. No screams of excitement or big hugs and thanks yous. I am cool with that. It was just another opportunity to move forward, which we will continue to do every day.