Life as a family of six is busy. Life as a homeschooling family of six is even more busy. Life as a homeschooling family of six with a child with autism is kind of crazy.
I never would have thought I’d ever see my house the way it is some days. There are laundry baskets exploding full of laundry, and not even dirty laundry but clean laundry that needs to be put away.
Generally, the dishes are kept up with but the floor is not always swept and so you find yourself stepping on little pieces of dirt, which is one of my biggest pet peeves. The vacuuming is done probably once a week or maybe less often. I guess laundry would be the most important thing because there are so many people living here that we go through so many clothes and there’s literally always something that needs washing.
The kids are good with chores but there is just so much to do that literally nobody can fulfill all the needs of the house plus our own personal needs and also spending time with each other. It makes it harder because Serafina needs so much attention because she gets into so many different things throughout the day. (Think Curious George!) Somebody always needs to watch her and she’s also still not toilet trained so there’s her diapers to change as well.
Fall/winter always seems to be a time when she has clothing issues. We think it could be because she is bored being inside, or maybe she is just sensitive to the change in the weather/time change as well. Clothing issues may also just be her way of controlling something in her life when she has no way to communicate verbally. Maybe it’s how she deals with her frustrations. Lately she only wants daddy to dress her and he’s not always around. She’s become quite a daddy’s girl since I’ve been busy with Pheonyx.
I know a lot of people judge autism as children who just are spoiled children. I’ve heard this expressed a lot and I also feel as though friends, family, and even strangers judge us, her parents, as just spoiling her and not setting boundaries with her or keeping her on any kind of schedule. Believe me, we do try. It’s easy for people from the outside to judge our life and to come in here and see her maybe running around naked or getting into something or perhaps in the middle of a whining fit, but life isn’t always like that and 80 or 90% of the time she is a really well-behaved and happy child.
The workers that come say that she is such a sweetie, with a very loving nature. She always wants to be cuddled and loved. She adores affection, which we are grateful for because some children with autism do not ever want to be touched. She has always loved to hug and cuddle and her giggle is just the sweetest thing!
Lately I’ve been trying to balance life again. Of course whenever you think you’ve got life figured out and in some kind of routine, everything changes. The time change kind of screwed things up a bit because now Pheonyx is going to bed earlier and I would like to go to bed earlier too but the other kids are busy and Craig is awake so I kind of feel like spending time with him too. Then Pheonyx is up super early in the morning and then I’m tired by noon again.
The biggest challenge has been getting enough sleep. Because there are so many other people to take care of in this house, I find myself always thinking about all the things I should be doing rather than resting when I have the opportunity. So lately since I’ve gathered a bit more energy from sleeping longer stretches at night, I’ve been trying to do some of those things that my mind keeps worrying about.
I’ve been getting corrections done with Autumn in the morning since Serafina sleeps in a bit longer and so does Kesa so we have that opportunity as I feed Pheonyx to do a bit together and get her work put in her binder neatly.
I’ve also been going out for walks with Kesa and we started our math block. So as we walk she recites her times tables and I give her simple questions to do. I love doing math on walks with the kids because you really have to imagine things and use your mind rather than sitting with pencil and paper at a desk. We do that too, but this is just so much more fun for both of us. Plus, I’m all about making my life more efficient and “killing two birds with one stone”, as they say.
Pheonyx has actually been sleeping a bit more the last few days during the day. It’s funny because when he’s sleeping so long I worried that he needs to eat more and wake up. But then on the days when I want to get something done and I want him to be asleep, he’s wide awake and wants his mama.
I still have to learn to adjust to his schedule and try to fit in my needs and wants while he naps but it just isn’t that easy. Adjusting your schedule is so difficult, especially when there are so many people in the house!
A few weeks ago I finally got around to baking Dragon bread and Archangel Michael bread with the girls for Michaelmas. I know that it wasn’t the end of September but we were busy with the baby and I had planned to make the bread with them as we do every year but couldn’t get around to it. I felt bad that we missed out on that special celebration together, but then I figured instead of being down about it we could always just do it now. I figured better late than never.
We had a lot of fun. I made the dough and they made their bread. They both turned out great in my opinion.
Kesa didnt even want to eat hers because she loved hers so much and it actually just sat on the pan for about a week until we told her we had to throw it out. She almost cried! Even if she didn’t eat it, she had a lot of fun making it and admiring it.
I’ve been finding time to do a little bit of yoga over the last couple of days too. It’s a nice way to spend a little bit of time to myself and relax. I actually haven’t done yoga properly for almost a year now. I couldn’t do any poses arching my back too much or lying on my belly (upward dog) while I was pregnant, though I did do prenatal yoga.
We still have been going out for a walk every day since Pheonyx was born but I feel like I need something more because I really noticed that I’m losing my muscle tone and it just makes me feel less confident about myself. I also just love to be active and having to sit around and nurse a baby all day is wonderful, but my confidence definitely improves when I’m being active just because it improves my mood so much. With so much to do I also tend to struggle with anxiety a bit and yoga definitely fixes that for me when I do it regularly. It’s so relaxing.
As always, Craig has been a real good help. He take such good care of Serafina and he finds time to spend with Kesa too. On the weekend he took Autumn and Serafina to the city shopping for the groceries. while I stayed home with Kesa and Pheonyx. Pheonyx had a long nap and then I was able to play with her for a little bit and get some work ready for her for the week ahead. Finding time to do little things like that makes me feel like a better mom. I know they love me anyway, but I love me more when I can find time to do things one-on-one with them, like baking, teaching, or playing.
So life is busy, and it’s hard to find balance sometimes. Maybe even impossible. But I’m still loving every minute. Each day Pheonyx gets older and changes and soon I know I’ll have more time to do all the things that run through my mind now.
… and then I’ll miss this.