In contrast to yesterday's "typical" routine, today was anything but. Wednesdays are the only weekday that Fidget doesn't have morning therapy, so it's always a roll of the dice how our morning is going to go. Some weeks he'll play nicely on his own so that I can oversee a fair amount of Sunshine's schoolwork. Some weeks he'll be all about Mama time, and inevitably those are also the weeks that Sunshine can't manage to complete a single assignment without me hovering over her.
Today fell into neither of those categories. Sunshine brought me a bowl of cereal in bed. Fidget couldn't yet be bothered with food, and started playing cars. After she ate, Sunshine joined him. And they then spent the ENTIRE MORNING playing together! They played with his cars, they cooked in the play kitchen, there was some serious banging and giggling coming out of their room, and a declaration from Sunshine that her brother got bitten by a spider and died - "but don't worry mama, we're just pretending together."
Did I seriously just hear that?? They are pretending together. In a game that doesn't involve emergency vehicles and putting out pretend fires, which is what most of his pretend play has been surrounding lately. She was dictating the course of a game, and he was following. If I could have frozen time and savored the moment, I totally would have.
I did have to peek in at them at one point, because Sunshine had closed the door on Fidget's bottom bunk with herself inside and couldn't get the latch back open. While I was in there he started emptying out a doll high chair - my old Rainbow Brite doll high chair - and was about to climb in it. Thankfully I stopped him in time, and offered him one of Sunshine's baby dolls to put in it instead. He did so, made a comment that "doll eat" which inspired Sunshine to start a new pretend game. They carried the baby & high chair back out to Fidget's World, and fed the baby doll play food from the little kitchen and read it some of Fidget's board books.
Before long it was approaching lunch time. Sunshine hadn't done a single moment of school, and I didn't care a bit. What had just transpired over the course of our morning was so much more important than anything I or a school book could teach her. She's harbored some difficult feelings about her brother's autism, and the fact that he usually can't play with her like a neurotypical child his age, but I pray that this morning she saw a light at the end of the tunnel and can take comfort in the knowledge that all this therapy is helping, and in time he will become a more equal companion for her.
Fidget requested three bananas in a row, and several spoonfuls of peanut butter for an early lunch. Not surprisingly, he then declared "all done. go nap?" and went down a bit early and without complaint. Sunshine and I ate lunch together, then had about two and a half hours to do the essentials of school work before she & Papa Bear left for CCD and children's choir at church.
(And can I just say I think it is so sweet that he spends the entire two hours there on the weeks he is able to take her? He either goes upstairs to the chapel in the faith formation center or back to the adoration chapel - in what used to be a sister's residence in the early days of our parish - and prays while she is in class, then he sits in the church and listens to the choir practicing. I loved my man before he was Catholic, but it is so beautiful for me to see him living out our common faith since his conversion.)
While they were at church, we had our first actual therapy session with Fidget's new therapist. We made the choice to part ways with our previous OT for a variety of reasons, and the new therapist is contracted as a "special instructor" with early intervention, which means she can actually work on multiple disciplines. As well, she's a special ed teacher at the school which he would attend, so hopefully she will be able to provide some valuable insight as we near him aging out of early intervention in the spring. She came out last week for just a meet & greet, and within five minutes of starting therapy with Fidget this evening, I could tell she will be a much better fit for both him and our family.
Papa Bear & Sunshine picked up pizza on their way home. Yes, it means that we totally broke Fidget's dietary restrictions, but sometimes the kid deserves the pleasures of a normal life. He sat nicely in his high chair and we were all able to enjoy dinner, and both kids got to watch a little of their favorite shows before bed: Full House for Sunshine, and a particular Fireman Sam movie for Fidget. There weren't even any crazy antics or stall tactics at bedtime.
I know the chaos which is our normal will return, probably first thing in the morning. But the blessing behind that chaos is that when simple days like this drift by, I am now so much more appreciative of them.