The ritual of it all

It is Friday evening, 5pm. I had arrived home from work about an hour earlier and DC has just come in from the library with Mrs. H.

The moment Mrs. H. leaves to go home, his Friday ritual begins.

“Mom, may I ask you a question?”

Now I know what this question will be, there is only one question he asks in this manner. He asks it in the exact same way every weekend. I am sure that somewhere along the line, when DC wanted to use his computer, I told him to “ask me the question, instead of using one word” – and this became “Mom, may I ask you a question?” He asks no other questions in this way, only this one. The question is not really even a question, it is a statement. The only actual question we have here is him asking me if he ‘may’ ask me a question…… but close enough.

“Yes, DC. What is your question?”

“I would like to play computer please”

“Sure you can.”

And he’s off.

DC has his rituals. I know them – I am used to them. It’s only when I sit back and watch the whole thing from beginning to end do I realize just how involved some of them are and just how long many of them take to complete.

During the week as soon as Mrs. H. leaves, DC runs up to his room to get his book. This book must be on the chair next to him at the kitchen table. He has his chair at the table where he reads or edits his books, but the chair next to him is also off-limits because this is where his book must sit. No one can sit in his editing chair and Mrs. H. is the only one allowed to sit in the book chair.

The 3 book rule was instituted because DC would travel from room to room with his pile of books. They were not the books he planned to read, they were the books he moved from spot to spot in the house according to what room he was in. With his pile of books in place he would then go and get another book to read. This pile of books grew and grew until I was afraid that he would fall down the stairs carrying them because he could no longer see over them. These were also not small paperbacks, they were large heavy books. The 3 book rule meant that he was only allowed to carry around 3 books at a time. The 3 book rule was hard for him. He would try to “hide” an extra book or two in the pile, so the three book rule was adjusted. The 3 book rule is now the one book rule. This seemed much easier for him to manage. The temptation to try to hide and additional book in the pile was gone as there was no longer a pile. The one book gets moved to the chair when he is in the kitchen, the corner of the coffee table when in the living room and a chair next to his bed in his room.

DC is only allowed to use his computer and/or watch DVD’s on the weekends as they tend to distract him from wanting to do anything else (see Disney, Disney and more Disney).

He has accepted this rule and it has worked well for us.

When Friday comes and Mrs. H leaves, it is officially ‘the weekend’ for DC.

“Mom, may I ask you a question?”

“Yes, DC. What is your question?”

“I would like to play computer please”

“Sure you can.”

And so it begins……

  • 1st – he gets his laptop out of the drawer,  and sets it up in his spot in the kitchen.
  • Next – he goes up the stairs to his room to get his one book and brings it to the kitchen to sit beside him.
  • He goes back up to his room to bring down a pile of DVD’s that are sorted in some order that is known only to DC.
  • He goes back up to his room for a separate pile of DVD’s from a different ‘DC category’ that is also not apparent to anyone but him.
  • Back upstairs again for a smaller stack of DVD’s which is surely an entirely different category.
  • Back upstairs for an even smaller stack (all stacks are arranged on the table in separate places with the largest stack on top of the one book on the chair).
  • Another trip up to his room for his 4 ‘sound machines’ because one can not watch a movie or video with out adding applause or other sound effects.
  • Into the living room for his earphones.
  • Back up to his room to put on his pajamas (his signal to me that he is done for the night and will not be going out anywhere else).
  • Lastly he collects an assortment of colored sharpies from the overflowing sharpie basket in the corner to line up next to him on the table.

At this point, I would be exhausted but now he is finally ready to watch his DVD’s.

sound machines

Sharpies and ‘sound machines’

Movies stacked in order and one book

After all of this back and forth, up and down, does he actually watch any of the movies he so carefully sorted, stacked and arranged? Rarely. He opts for YouTube.

This entire ritual is performed in reverse when it is time for bed.

And then Saturday morning comes…………..

and so it goes……………

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12 thoughts on “The ritual of it all

    • Wow is right! Especially when I have to sit through the whole process in reverse at bedtime. I can not convince him leave it all out, because I know he will just do the whole thing over again in the morning. He just won’t 🙂

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  1. wow-so amazing and interesting, DC’s rituals, and your understanding and going with the flow of them, helping him navigate and peer down when needed. My brother-in-law’s 17 year-old nephew who has autism was over for Thanksgiving. I’ve met him on other Thanksgivings, and yet this year, with getting to know DC’s world, and from working with our patients in the hospital who have autism in addition to a mental illness, I felt more connected to him. Thanks, as always for sharing your world with DC with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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