Friday, September 18, 2015

Small Victories That Are Huge!

Anyone who knows Aaron or who has read my blog knows that Aaron is very set in his ways.  He is regimented about his life in every area.  When his routine or his order is disrupted, he will often react strongly.  Or if not strongly, he will react persistently until we just sometimes give up and realize that some issues are not worth the fight. 

Here are a couple examples of his way of doing things.  The first concerns time, and how he will only do things at certain times.  For instance, he will only turn on the television for Wheel of Fortune at 6:28.  Not 6:27.  It must be 6:28.  The other night, Aaron and I were playing Skip-Bo.  We finished our game….which he won, by the way.  He recorded his win in his notebook that keeps our scores, which shows him far ahead of me…..and which gives him great delight. 

“Let’s go to bed,” I said.  Aaron looked at his watch, pushed nearly halfway up his arm…..another way he does things. 

“No,” he said after he saw the time.  “Not ‘til 10:00.”

“What time is it?” I asked.

“9:59,” he answered in all seriousness.

This time I did laugh, though not the belly laugh I desired.  He just looked at me like I was being ridiculous, which made it even funnier.  He is so funny, really, when he does this time thing.  I love it!

“OK!” he declared as he looked down at his watch again.  “Now it’s 10:00!”

So he got up and proceeded to get ready for bed.  He sees absolutely nothing remarkable about this, but I do totally enjoy these glimpses into his unique mind.

Well, usually.  Not always.

He likes to sleep in his sweater, but with his huge pile of covers it’s just too hot for that.  His reason for sleeping in his sweater is that he feels cold at those times he may get up at night to use the bathroom.  He mentioned that fact the other night, so I suggested that he take his sweater off before climbing in bed and just leave it beside the bed, putting it on if he has to get up during the night.  We went over this change at least twice as we got his bed ready that night.

I was washing my face when there was a knock on my door.  It was Aaron, of course.  “Mom, so I won’t sleep with my sweater on?  I’ll put it beside my bed.  If I get up to go to the bathroom, I’ll put it on.  Then after I use the bathroom, I’ll take it off before I get back in bed.  Right?”

That’s right, Aaron.  Three times now that he had gone over this change.

Maybe two minutes later, another knock on the door. 

“Mom, so I won’t sleep with my sweater on?  I”ll put it beside my bed, and if I get up to go to the bathroom, I’ll put it on.  Then after I use the bathroom, I’ll take it off before I get back in bed.  Right?”

Yes, Aaron.  Nothing about that changed in the last two minutes.  Make that four times he had now gone over this change.

But this was a big difference to Aaron, and he wanted to be sure he had it down pat.  And now he does take his sweater off at night.  Good for him!

We have two other victories lately that I want to share.  One is about his bedroom.  We not only just had it painted, but Gary suggested that we change the arrangement of his furniture.  I was skeptical, but Aaron has done very well with this change…..for the most part. 

He has a new bedspread.  I told him I really didn’t want his animal print blanket to cover his pretty new bedspread, so this was a little challenging for   him to accept.  “I want it normal like it used to be,” he told me.  Still I showed him how I made his bed.  “I don’t like the way you do it.  The cover is bent,” he continued.  One day he watched carefully again as I demonstrated it to him.  He still wasn’t sold on it, but he did watch me as I made the bed look like this.


I walked up the hall the next morning, and found this.


I was delighted!  Aaron had tried to make his bed, even putting his pillow in the right place under the covers and then trying to tuck the covers under it.  Was it perfect?  No.  But to me it was beautiful because it showed a willingness to make his bed in a new way.  Progress!  YAY!!

He likes to put his Handy Answer Book on the floor, along with his bedtime log notebook and his pen.  I got a nice bin to put those things in, but he wants nothing to do with that.  He’ll keep his other books in there, but not these items that he has always kept on the floor.  So I’m not stressing over that small matter. 

His other area of routine, and victory, concerns leaving earlier than usual for his day group.  I signed up to take a Bible study on Thursday mornings, but it means I need to leave close to 8:45 instead of our normal 9:15……..just on that one day.  I talked to Aaron days before it was to happen.  He listened, but I knew he was mulling over this dilemma.  Then he said he would do it, and I was pleased, but skeptical.

On Wednesday night before the day of the big change, Aaron came downstairs where a friend and I sat. 

“Mom, I want to leave by 9:15!” he blurted out as he stomped across the room.  I knew exactly what he was talking about, and my heart sank.

He walked out of the room, but turned and barged in again.  “I want more time on my computer!” he angrily said.  And he sat on the couch beside me, and gave the ottoman a resounding, very loud whack with his big hand. 

He finally calmed down as I told him we would talk later, but at bedtime he seemed fine.  I was full of trepidation as I walked in his room the next morning, carrying his coffee and wishing that of all mornings he would have gotten up early like he sometimes does. 

He did get out of bed and one of the first things I heard was, “I want to leave by 9:15!”  I heard this from him several times that morning, but he wasn’t really angry.  And when it came time to go, don’t you know he got in the van and went at this early time without a fight?  I was so pleased and surprised and very relieved!

I pointed the beautiful clouds out to him as we drove to Paradigm.  I gave him an extra dollar before he got out of the van, and he was very pleased with that.  And as I drove away, in Old Town Wichita, I looked up at the gorgeous sky and I remembered that I needed to thank God for this real blessing on this morning.  It was a tangible touch of God’s grace in my life and I was so thankful for that. 

My friend at Bible study asked me how Aaron did, and she told me that she had been praying since Sunday for Aaron to do well.  That was another blessing!  I had no idea that she was praying. 

So between sweaters by the bed and new bedspreads being accepted and leaving early yesterday, I have reason to give Aaron a high five and a congratulatory thump on the back.

No, not the thump on the back.  He’ll return the hit and it won’t be soft, trust me!  Extra dollars don’t hurt nearly as bad.





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