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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Self Care

It's one of those little guilty mantras that whirr around your brain. You're supposed to be dealing with the hear and now [translation = chaos] but your also supposed to be planning ahead for the future. [translation = tomorrows chaos] It's very important that a parent should get the balance right. If the parent fails to get the balance right, this tends to result in random attempts at catch up, no matter how inappropriately timed.

Now is as good a time as any. If I start right now, then in a year, perhaps two they will all be capable of taking a shower and washing their hair. I'm not quite sure how I managed to exclude this from their list of current skills, or future skills. For right now, these skills have been skipped entirely. There is an entire blank page where there should be a skill or two, either on-going, acquired, or planned.

I herd them all into the shower having explained all to briefly, the benefits of showering; to be clean, sweet smelling and germ free, not that anyone listens.

It occurs to me that the act of showering, motivated by panic, is not a good synapse to be firing. “I have germs?” he squeaks in distress, “where they are?” he circles, a cat chasing it’s tail in search of invisible germs.

Oh dear. Perhaps I should have waited a year, or maybe even two, before starting this exercise? I persuade them to use the soap pump, to put a spoonful of soap in the palm of the hand and then rub themselves all over, especially the important bits, without thinking through this demand before uttering it.

“What are the important bits? Why are they important?” I definitely should have thought this through more thoroughly before starting. She rinses her hair, “is it all out?”
“No you have loads of soap left in there still.”
“How can I tell if I haven’t got a mirror?”

“Well, you can sort of tell by how it feels on your fingertips. It’s more squeaky when the soap has gone. You’ll be able to tell after a while if you keep practicing.” There are two many people in this shower. There are too many rapidly moving people in this shower and far too much soap.

Senior son grabs me by the forearms, to face me, a snowman of bubbles and soap suds, “hey Mum! My finger tips are telling me that it is all gone.” He blinks and his fingers tips rush to his brow to mop away lava flows of soap suds.
“What’s on your hands dear.” He looks at the ends of his arms to where his hands, alien beings, are attached, although you can’t really tell that they are hands because of the soap suds. He startles and jumps back, deeply offended by the betrayal “my finger tips they are lying.”

6 comments:

momontheverge said...

This was a very ambitious undertaking. My mind boggles.
I suppose you could write a "social story" about showering, although illustrating it could get interesting.
Hope the next shower is easier,
Alice

mumkeepingsane said...

Wow, how brave you are! I can't imagine showering more than one at a time. I'll admit I giggled a couple of times. :)

Also, I've often found blanks where skills should be. As parents there's no way to know EVERY SINGLE developmental and lifeskill milestone that needs to be met. We need a manual....seriously.

Lisa/Jedi said...

Brendan, nearly age 11, doesn't bathe unattended either. He absolutely won't shower, unless there's no alternative (such as being away where there's no bathtub). He does not shampoo his own hair, but will rub the soap all over (including the "important bits :) by himself. Did I mention that he insists on wearing a bathing suit in the tub? I have no idea when he'll take this job over himself- so far he's resisted all attempts... On the other hand, he does get his own breakfast, dresses himself, & is very eager to do more "grown-up" stuff like this. Somehow we'll have to nudge bathing over into the "grown-up" category :)

kristina said...

Charlie neither bathes nor brushes his teeth unattended----he would do his version of both, but no soap (or cleaning) would occur. I have him work on discrete skills (soaping himself, toweling off) but this is one area that I think will come in time, as taught in smaller segments.

Natalia said...

I was afraid of showers until college [translation: university], when I had to learn. I thought I would drown in them.

PS: you are a brave lady, for the multi-shower thing.

glawrria said...

Just discovered this website by accident - linked to Autism-Exchange in England. The shower story is real to me because my son at 9 still struggles to remember which body part to wash next. He gets frustrated with me if I nip out the door and leave him to it, only to come back in and find him still standing under the shower waiting for my instructions. Visual aids have helped - just difficult to stick to the tiles. Would love other suggestions.

 
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