Saving the Day

October 11, 2016

On weekdays, Dad goes to work and Robert goes to Lifeworks.  On weekends and most of the holidays, Robert stays home and dad stays home.  Then there is the Columbus Day and nothing is as it should be.  Dad goes to work, but Robert stays home.

I tried to prepare Robert to accept such arrangement.  I told him ahead of time that he would stay home while dad would go to work.  Robert seemed to understand.  He repeated after me.  “On Monday, Dad goes to work.  I (Robert) stay home.” Three times.  He repeated that once on Saturday and twice on Sunday.  But on Columbus Day, Robert got up as soon as his dad did and tried to prevent his dad from leaving for work.  He didn’t want him to take shower.  He didn’t want him to take his lunch.  He didn’t want him to take his car keys.  Luckily the information, repeated over and over,  that Pam would take him to Applebee’s Restaurant lessened his resolve to stop dad from going to work.  So dad left and Robert without protesting began our daily session of learning while waiting for Pam to arrive.  Pam, however, called to reschedule her arrival for later time.  So I decided to take Robert to Roger William Zoo in Providence.  Robert agreed.  As soon as we entered the highway, the light on the dashboard informed me that there was something wrong with tires.  I decided to return home.  Robert was not very happy that the plans changed yet again, but after hearing from me that the dad would be coming home too, forgot about Zoo.   After all, that was the return to what it was supposed to be in the first place.  Robert home and dad home.

Except dad wasn’t home when we arrived.  He would not be home for another two hours.  I told that to Robert.  I told him that dad would be home at 2:15PM.  I told him that dad had to walk to the station, take train, and then switch to his car .  Robert should have understand.  Maybe he did understand, but he didn’t accept the delay.  For the next hour, he followed me all over the house repeating thousands of time, “Dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad (…).  My efforts to expand his utterances to the whole sentences were only partially successful. Yes, Robert repeated, “Dad takes train.  Dad drives a car.  It takes time. ”  but as soon as he finished, he returned to his never ending callings, “dad, dad, dad, dad (…).  I did feel drained.  And thus I used the most primitive form of extinction WITHOUT redirection.  So I pretended not to hear Robert and not to see Robert.  He was louder, he was wagging his finger closer and closer to my face and then he gave up.  He took IPAD and went to his bed.

Not much later, Robert’s dad came.  Robert noticed.  Everything returned to normal. Robert ate early dinner and dad ate early dinner.  Then, while dad went to continue his work on a computer, Robert fell asleep.  Only then I realized how exhausting this day had to be for Robert too. With difficulties and the best intention he kept accepting changes to the well known routine only to find out that something was wrong anyway and neither he nor I could fix it.  I let him sleep.  I probably dozed off myself.  I was exasperated and exhausted as well.  I didn’t do any of the things I planned to do for myself and I didn’t any of the things I planned to do for Robert.  I was devoid of will and energy to do anything else that day.  But I knew that if we didn’t do anything else we would all feel defeated.  So we decided to go to Roger William Zoo for evening display of Halloween Spectacular.  we knew it might be very crowded.  We might wait in line before entering.  It might be cold.  Robert might not like it.  We knew that, but we had to do something to save at least part of the day. So we drove there.

There were many people, but no waiting inline.  It was a cool evening but we didn’t get cold. Robert once said, “Home, home” but simply to let us know that this is where we should go AFTER the walk through the path decorated with thousand pumpkins.  Carved or painted, huge and small, real or plastic, hanging high or placed low they all had small lights inside.

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1 Comment

  1. Mary Hrabowska

     /  October 11, 2016

    Bardzo przyjemne opowiadanie o “uratowaniu” od wszystkich klopotow ktore sie czesto zdarzaja, i zorganizowanie przyjemnego czasu na wypoczynek. Bravo,   M

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