We have a morning routine. This is not a routine forced upon us because Emma is autistic. This is our morning routine. A routine we all profit from. It smooths the transition from groggy-still-asleep-trudgery to wakeful-functioning-so-that-we-can-get-out-the-front-door-and-go-our-various-ways. In other words routine simplifies our lives.
Emma’s body clock, and mine too, wakes at 5:30AM. To tell her to go back to sleep is like telling me to take a nap at 11:00AM. It’s not going to happen. But she knows she isn’t allowed to leap into our bed until 6:00AM. This morning she came into our bedroom and announced “It says five and three and eight.” Then, because she knows she isn’t suppose to come to us until six, she wandered out.
At exactly 5:57AM she reappeared. I can’t tell her to leave with only three minutes to go! She crouched in front of the DVD player and whispered, “It’s five and five and seven.” She waited for exactly three minutes and then crawled onto our bed with an enormous grin. “It’s six!” she said with gleeful abandon as she dove under the covers, tossing Merlin from the bed like a toy sailboat on stormy seas. He landed on the floor with a dejected plop.
Later, after Nic had reluctantly awakened, breakfast was eaten, dishes cleared, lunch made, Merlin fed, his water bowl refreshed and his litter box cleaned, Emma ran into the other room, returning with my iPhone in her hand. “Have to use the clock,” she said. She then set the timer app to one minute. She sat back in a chair, humming to herself. When the timer went off she said, “Uh! Time to take the vitamins!” and ran off to do just that. She returned moments later and again set the timer for one minute. Again she waited until the timer beeped. “Uh! Have to go brush my teeth and hair!” and off she went.
What is astounding about this is that these are not things Emma particularly enjoys doing. I must remind her, to which she will inevitably reply, “Just one more minute?” “No, Em. Do it now and then you can have a minute after you’ve finished,” I reply. So Emma came up with a solution to this. She has incorporated her need for the one minute adjustment period she needs into her routine before I reminded her!
As I write this, while marveling at Emma’s creative process and progress, I can hear the timer going off again. She is rummaging around in the dryer. “Cokie‘s clean!” she says triumphantly.
Merlin looking majestic