The one thing that you get used to as an Aspergers parent is routine. Lots of routine. That’s tough for parents like me as I am not really a routine person. I’m a bit more impromptu. Bit more going with the flow, see what happens person. Maybe some would call it winging it. Which is most odd. On most of the old Aspergers tests I would score very highly yet on one I was way down. Routine.
On this Hawklad is completely different to me. He needs his routine, his order, his plans. He needs to have that safety net and he needs to follow them. It’s reflected in so many things. If we are driving somewhere then we need to follow the usual route, even if that means a much longer journey. He likes to wear the same types of clothing – if he grows out of them then we need to replace with almost exact copies. He has a TV and movie schedule which he sets way in advance. We will often watch the same movie over and over again. School lessons have to follow the timetable without variation. We need to buy the same types of pens and pencils. He likes to go out in the garden and talk at the same times. He doesn’t like me to do things like change my hairstyle or try new clothes. It’s funny I’ve been wanting to shave my hair off for years but that’s just not allowed.
Break the routine and he is immediately hit with waves of self doubt and fear. Over the years we have tried to work on this. Slowly trying to introduce change. Occasionally trying to introduce unplanned but definitely fun routine changes. But it’s never really worked. Routine is just a key part of who Hawklad is.
Another area of much needed repetition is food. He has the same seven day food menu. The same foods on the same days, year after year. Trying new foods is just not something he does really. Normally ends in failure.
“Dad what on Earth is that.”
It’s a sandwich.
“Yes I can see the bread but it’s what is between that which is the worry.”
That will be cheese and onion crisps. It’s going to be one of the great gourmet experiences. A crisp butty. A crisp sandwich.
“Really. That is just wrong on so many levels.”
It’s fantastic. Go on try it. It’s a family tradition. Your Little Nan would always be treating herself with one. But her crisp butty would be made with Ready Salted crisps.
“Just No Dad.”
Ok. But if it’s not a crisp butty then what about a chip butty. A sandwich made from fried chips (fries) with heaps of tomato ketchup. Another true taste sensation.
“Erm NO. You can keep that as well.”
Ok Hawklad what about a fish finger sandwich. Fantastic.
“Not happening. That’s a tradition which is not passing down the gene line anymore. It ends with you.”