On Thursday I spent some time talking with my friend, another autism mama, on the phone.  At some point I told her I was a little bit worried that I over-scheduled the Roc for June.  The Roc is going to be busy.  Very busy.  Special needs day camp for a week, social skills camp the week after, his usual hippotherapy, music therapy, occupational therapy, and skills trainer, as well as a 2 week swim camp and ESY which starts at the end of June.  There are a few days where he will have three different activities.  Busy.

School ended on Thursday.  The Roc had a play date on Friday morning and as soon as the van door slid closed when we dropped his classmate off at 1 pm the Roc started asking,

“What can I do now?  What can I do when I get home?  What can I do after that?”

And that has how the weekend has gone.

“What can I do now?  What can I do after that?” the Roc has asked me continuously throughout the day(s.)  It’s exhausting.  When I set him up with an activity it only lasts so long and then he is asking what he can do next.  Or what he can eat next.  He needs help with everything.  Up and down, up and down I go.  Sit down, stand up, run up the stairs and back down.  Over and over.

By Sunday afternoon GC and I were running out of ideas and patience.  After a movie, a “birthday party” with mommy, building a trap for his stuffed animals, play dough, and drawing with markers the Roc was still asking,

“What can I do now?”

GC and I started to get a little punchy.

“Mommmmy?  What can I do now?” the Roc asked for the hundredth time.

“I don’t know Roc….how about you do your homework?” I said.  (I know, it’s summer, but I’m calling the math and language workbooks he is working on this summer his homework.  Consistency is key.)

“No!” the Roc shouted.

“Go poop,” GC said.  I looked over my shoulder to see GC laughing to himself.

“NO!” the Roc shouted again.

“Those are both suggestions,” I told him.

“Watch the birds,” GC suggested.

“What?” the Roc asked.

“You know, watch the birds…quietly.  Do some bird watching.”

“Do some biiiiiirrrrrd watching!” the Roc sing-songed as he jumped around the room.

I bent over at the waist laughing, imagining the Roc watching the birds…quietly.

There is no quiet in this house.

“Mommy?  What can I do now?” the Roc asked again.

I looked at the clock.  Only five more hours until bedtime.

“How about you watch another movie?” I suggested, completely exhausted by the last couple days.

“Okay, and can I have a snack with it?”

“Just one,” I told him, knowing that he would be asking me for more as soon as he finished it.

I sighed and looked at the clock again.


It only took me three days to realize I’m not worried about over scheduling the Roc anymore.

Tomorrow is the first day of day camp.

I can’t wait.


3 thoughts on “Suggestions

  1. I totally get this. In home therapy, we’ve been working on play skills, but specifically play alone skills. Step one was getting those skills, so this is step two. The therapist has made him an “activity schedule” – it’s a book of four activities that we have in the house, each with a beginning and an end – and they hand it to him and he is supposed to go through the book independently, moving from one activity to the next. It’s things like a puzzle, read a book, do some mazes in a workbook, and a matching game. It’s given him a bit of that ability to find something to do alone. Because “go play” just didn’t work.
    I am dreading those weeks off though of nothingness. I wish we could be carefree and just go with the flow, but…
    Good luck with camp starting!

  2. 🙂 I totally get this! My son is continuing 4 days a week in ESY at the amazing program he’s in, and while he grumbles sometimes, the truth–and we all, even my son know it–is he does much better with structure or, as he says, “I get into less trouble when I’m busy.”

    At his wishes, we’re supplementing ESY with scheduled time at a respite program that he LOVES on his off days, and have plenty of time for family togetherness and plenty of movies as well. I am also grateful that my son can finally immerse himself in reading and in making movies on his VHS camera and in listening to his records and dancing INDEPENDENT of us for periods of time. I love that he’s learning the skill of entertaining himself without constant, “What can I do now?” (though sometimes we still have that too…and plenty of the screaming “No!”…I’m obviously commenting at the close of a well-regulated day) 😉

  3. Yes, summer is tough. Part of the reason why I traipse us out to LA for 6 weeks. Having a big family nearby to help fill the time and think of what to do next is a huge help! Good luck!!

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