Thursday, September 20, 2012

Morning Scene -Take 999

Editorial Note: This was originally published in January of 2012.  Since then, Red's meds have been adjusted, he has grown and matured.  He has been on time every day of the current school year.  Still, the first line out of his mouth every morning is, "I'm EXTREMELY tired!" to which I reply, "So am I." 

7:00 a.m.:
Mom hazily rises with the help of the alarm on her cell phone.  It's still dark outside.  She grumbles something or other to herself, but still she rises, goes to pee, grabs her cell and her best friend (the laptop) and sits it all on the coffee table in the family room.
7:10 a.m:
The phone buzzes again. She takes it into her son's room and lays it next to his head.  Groggily, he opens his eyes and shuts it off.  
"Come on's time to get up."
"I'm too tired.  I don't want to go to school," he grumbles. 
Mom runs her fingertips lightly around his face, eyes, ears, nose, hairline.  She imagines it tickles a bit.  
"Stop!" he says.  

Mom doesn't care.  She wants him to wake up.  She walks away giving him the chance to process and wake up.  Meanwhile, Facebook and Twitter are calling.  She has to see what the crew is up to.  It appears that a number of autism parents were up at 3:30 a.m....their kids waking them for some reason or another.  She counts her least no one woke her up in the middle of the night. 

Ten minutes pass...her 16-year old son is still not up.  It looks like it's going to be one of those mornings.  This started the night before with the announcement, "I'm too tired to go to school tomorrow!"  His actions this morning are a manifestation of this.  

She goes in again...gently prodding, trying to wake him.  His eyes open, he turns over, "I need more rest!" he screams.
"So do I," she says..."but I'm up."

7:20 a.m:
She leaves his room.  Enters her younger son's room, turns on his light and gently prods him.  "Time to get up."  He opens his eyes and turns over, the gentle sound of jazz music is playing from his IPOD speaker.

Then another stop in older brother's room.  This time Mom resorts to turning on the water in the bathroom, wetting her hands. She sits on his bed and gently touches his face. "Mom!!! Stop!!!" 
"You know...we need to wash these sheets today."  She takes the cover and top sheet off of the bed.  
"Mom!! I'm cold!"  
"Well...get up and put some clothes on."

7:30 a.m:
At this point, mom realizes there is no way he's going to make the school bus today.  She calls the transportation department to alert the driver not to stop by.  
13 year-old son is up and dressed...also tired, he lays on the couch.  
"Mom...can you make me some waffles?"  
"Sure son."

The 16 year-old is now sitting on the side of the bed not moving...still complaining. "Why can't you just let me sleep?  Call them and tell them I'm sick.   How do you expect me to function today?  I'm extremely tired!"

"Come and get some breakfast, take your medicine and you'll get some energy.  Come on let's go," says mom. 

The 16 year-old finally makes it down the stairs.  "What?!!! You didn't make me Cream of Wheat?!!!"  
"Nope...I do that on mornings when you get up on time.  Not today...sorry.  Pour yourself some cereal," Mom says calmly, trying to ignore his disrespectful yelling. 
"What??!! That's not fair!" 
Really? And it's fair that I have to listen to your bullshit? I could make you a long list of what's not fair in my life!

8:00 a.m:
13 year-old moves on to the teeth-brushing, face-washing, hair-brushing routine.  
Mom puts in a  text to her carpool partner.  
"Can you please take the boys this a.m.? I'm dealing with Red?"
Her partner agrees to take the middle schoolers.  
The high-schooler is going to obviously be late.

8:30 a.m:
13 year old is waiting by the door for his carpool driver.
Meanwhile, 16 year-old eats cereal.  Mom begrudgingly prepares toast and eggs.  He takes meds and puts on shoes, but...sits down again claiming that he is super tired
At this point, mom is upstairs, not wanting to give him an audience to talk to and move slower for.  
She shouts downstairs, "Did you brush your teeth?" 
"No!  I really can't do this.  Why can't you respect the fact that I'm tired?"   
"I respect it.  I understand it...but you still have to go to school." says the mom.
He goes on refusing.  Finally, Dad steps in.  
"That memory for the computer I spent $130 dollars on this weekend...I'll be taking it out of the machine today," he says in his very deep, manly voice.
"Noooo!!!  Mom! Stop him!"
"Um maybe he'll stop if we hear that water running," Mom says.

9:00 a.m:
Teeth get brushed.  We head out the door.  On the way to school he starts in.  
"I still don't get why you can't respect the fact that I'm tired."
"It's kind of hard to respect and believe it when you announced that you were too tired to go to school before you even went to bed last night."
"I'm still really tired."
"Every student in that school this morning is tired and didn't feel like getting up this morning.  When you have a job...your boss isn't going to say,  'I respect that you are tired this morning.  You go ahead and sleep.'  He's going to say, 'You're fired!' Everyone has to get up and get moving in the morning.  You are no different," says mom.
"I guess the answer is we're going to have to send you to summer school this year, because you obviously have too much trouble transitioning after breaks from school." A passive-agressive threat. 
"That's not going to help," he says. 
"Maybe we'll have to find a nice residential summer camp where you can learn some coping skills."  She says giving him  more food for thought.

9:10 a.m: 
They arrive at school.  He is now 25 minutes late. He refuses to get out of the car.  His class is in the portables, so luckily Mom can pull up right outside the door.  She gets out of the car, to which the boy strongly protests.  "Don't get out of this car!  You're going to embarrass me!"  
"Well, you can get out of the car yourself and save yourself the embarrassment."  

He doesn't move...she does.  She gently knocks on his classroom door and opens it.  A young, beautiful milk chocolate-brown-skinned teacher with an adoring smile and dazzling eyes comes towards the door.  "Hi have a student who is refusing to come into your classroom.  He's sitting outside in the car," says the mom, feeling frumpy in her sweat pants and no makeup.  The teacher looks slightly confused, but she comes to the door and outside.  She sees that it is Red.  She turns back to the mom and says with a soft voice, "'s so nice to meet you.  I love your son.  He never gives me a moment of trouble.  He's very compliant."  Well gee! How nice for you! No're young and beautiful!  He'd never give you a hard time. Wish I could say the same.

"I'm sorry you're having a tough time this morning Red.  It was hard for me to get here this morning too," says the teacher to the boy.
"Yeah, I'm just really tired," he says with flat affect. 
"Well come on in.  We can get some tea or hot chocolate to help get you going!"
Hot chocolate...tea?  Really???  Damn! I want to go to her class! 
"Wow Red!  You are so lucky to have such a great teacher in your corner," says Mom. 
He pops his ass right out of the car and goes with the lovely teacher. 
"Have a nice day.  Make good choices!" says Mom.
And then she burns rubber out of the parking lot...

9:30 a.m.
Mom arrives back home.  She pours herself a cup of coffee...she adds Bailey's.