Another day down and some new information learned — though I’m not exactly sure what it is. I wasn’t quite as diligent about what I ate today and I am definitely reacting to something. Just don’t know what.
We started today as we usually do on Saturday with a bit of breakfast before (well, actually en route) to Pkin’s manga drawing class. We didn’t really have that eating planned so I grabbed what was available and appropriate — cheese and seed crackers. All good.
I then dropped DH and Pkin at her class while I headed to the gym (I know, right!?! Twice in the same week!). Our plan was to go from her class to lunch at one of her favorite Japanese restaurants. DH and I were both very conscious of needing to get there early enough to ensure we were done eating by the 2-2:30pm-ish when Japanese restaurants in our area tend to close until dinner (I don’t exactly know why). Unfortunately, we never thought to check to make certain that this particular Japanese restaurant followed the same pattern as the other Japanese restaurants we know. You can likely guess the result of this — it didn’t. It doesn’t open for lunch at all on Saturdays. It doesn’t open until 3:30pm. We were there about 12:30pm. Oops.
Pkin was quite disappointed. And one of the challenging parts of autism is that having plans change in this way isn’t just disappointing like it might be to other children. It throws a wrench in everything. There was a plan and that plan created an understanding of chronology and set the routine for the day. And then the chronology and routine went wonky. While it may seem like a small change of plans to someone who doesn’t understand autism, it is actually quite significant (especially when the change of plans revolves around the subject of an autistic person’s perseveration — i.e. anything Japan for Pkin).
One of areas where Pkin has really improved over the past year or two is in her flexibility in such situations (flexibility is a key phrase in the autism-specific program her school is doing as part of a research program with Children’s National Medical Center so we actually use that word quite a lot at our house). It is still very hard for her, but she has found ways to work through it. She is able to verbalize how it makes her feel (for the most part, at least) and we let her feel it and talk through it with her. If we didn’t fully think through or plan something, we admit it and apologize. And then we try to find another option that will work. We don’t always have success with that — sometimes because there just isn’t really another option and sometimes because she won’t let us (like most people I’ve ever met, sometimes she just wants to feel pissy about something for awhile and fixing it wouldn’t let that happen).
This day, though, she was willing to let us try. DH happened to remember that at some random time a couple years ago we happened across a strip mall complex with a lot of interesting restaurants. He happened to also remember that it was on the same street we were on (except that it was a good 8 or so miles away). Pkin agreed to see if we could find something to eat there — so off we went.
By the time we got there, Pkin had fallen a sleep. We’re not sure if this is because she was actually tired and fell asleep because of the motion of the car (I do this all the time) or if it her bodies way of dealing with overwhelming situations like this. I watched her do the same thing at school last week when one of her tics (in this case echolalia of the name of the movie her class was watching in music class). After she said it a few times, the girl sitting nearest her moved away — leaving Pkin sitting with no one because even though I let them sit wherever they wanted (I was the sub), no one chose to sit with her — and she doesn’t seek people out to sit with them. After a few more times, another girl told her to be quiet. Within 15 seconds, Pkin was asleep.
We also thought this might be happening back near the end of 2nd grade, but before her special ed teacher could complete a functional behavior assessment to see if that was the case or if it was the result of a medication she was on, the school year ended. We took her off that medication over the summer and the problem didn’t recur in 3rd grade at all. She was put back on that medication near the beginning of this year when she was diagnosed with Tourette and it has made an enormous difference in her tics. But she is also now falling asleep at school sometimes. She is also encountering more stressful situations, though, as her gen ed teacher and, therefore, the students in the class don’t really understand. She’s also understanding more herself and noticing what other people are doing and saying in ways she often hasn’t before. The kids are all getting older too and, I suspect, noticing the differences more themselves (and certainly saying more about it — I’ve heard that as well. One of the mixed pros/cons of being at her school more often).
Anyway, we tried to wake her up to list off all the food choices, but she kept falling asleep — until we found the sushi restaurant. Jackpot! Wide awake! And all is well.
All this is a long and round about way of saying, things were thrown off and that threw me off. And I let my guard down. I was so glad we had salvaged this one and, I suspect, knew that tomorrow is my last day so somewhere deep down likely figured, “Eh! What’s a little bit of this or that going to do at this point?” So, I had a bit of DH’s ramen (wheat) and a little bit of soy sauce with my sushi (wheat and soy).
Later, I had some leftover chicken tikka masala. The other day it made me feel bloated, but I thought that was because I ate too much (which I did). Today, it made me feel bloated again (and I didn’t eat as much).
And this evening, as Pkin and I touched half the types of fabric in the fabric store in search of the exact ones she wanted for a couple projects (more on these once we actually start them), I noticed I was getting mouth sores. Was it something in the leftovers? Something from lunch? Something else? Unfortunately, since I didn’t do any of this in any organized and controlled way, I don’t know. You see, I’m living proof that having a PhD doesn’t mean you always make the wisest decisions.
So, tomorrow I return to what is, technically, my last day of the 21DSD focusing on keeping on track. I’ll stay on plan until the mouth sores are gone. And then I’ll actually introduce things on purpose and one at a time so I can tell what is causing which problems. Then it will be all about actually not eating those things anymore — and being OK with that. But that’s a different issue for a different post.
Breakfast: Cheese and seed crackers
Lunch: Sushi — and a bite of ramen
Snacks: Leftover chicken tikka masala
Dinner: Salad with steak, tomatoes, and onions