All I could think of when I heard the radio announce that the schools were closed was: "Ugh! Stuck at home with both children." I know that isn't a great thing to admit but let's face it: they are a lot of work. And I'm not the kind of mom who bundles them up and goes outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and new fallen snow. I don't like it cold. Fresh air in the cold weather is their father's job.
But, determined to make the best of it, I rallied the children into the playroom after sending Nik off to work and cleaning up the Yummy Cake crumbs from breakfast. First thing Oliver wanted to do was run around and around between the two rooms and the hall while shaking his head in his favorite stim. OK, I thought. It's going to be a long day. So I grabbed him around the waist and said, in my most enthusiastic voice: "Let's build a tower, Oliver!!" Then I stationed Sammy in front of his new Fisher Price ball-eating-catepiller on one side of me and dumped out the bag of mega blocks on the other. I handed Oliver a block and started putting some randomly together hoping that he would join in easily. "Wow, this is going to be a great tower, Oliver!" He responded un-enthusiastically but heaving a block at the small construction and then tried to resume his running. Meanwhile, Sammy saw the tower and wouldn't content himself with just mouthing the few blocks I put in his lap but rather kept trying to cross over my legs to get at the tower. So there I was, trying desparately to keep Sam away from the tower while simultaneously repeatedly catching Oliver in some stage of escape and motivating him to help me build. He humored me until Sam distracted me and then he would again try to bolt and the whole comedy started all over again.
After the blocks the whole episode was repeated with the cars, trucks, dinosaurs, bubbles and musical instruments. I donn't remember a time when it was so hard to get Oliver to focus. And Sam, it appears has become suddenly stubbornly interested in only what his brother has and, apparently, doesn't want.
About 40 mintues into this I realized that Oliver had to go to the bathroom. So, I then moved the party into the small, downstairs bathroom: two children, one adult, a couple of books for Oliver and some toys for Sam. With Sam somewhat occupied I turned my attention to Oliver and alternately encouraged, soothed and distracted. After only one biting episode (yesterday I nearly lost my right ear when I leaned into his embrace thinking he only meant to hug me!) and 10 minutes we emerged from the bathroom victorious -- the second day in a row!! I was so proud and happy that I told him he could run around until his little legs couldn't carry him anymore. Curiously, though he didn't seem to need to. So instead I rewarded him with a video. Sam took a nap and I sat on the couch and rubbed Oliver's feet in just the way he likes me to.
Our afternoon therapist was able to make it to our house despite the snow. She had somewhat better luck than I did engaging Oliver. We brought some toys out of "retirement" and that seemed to help. And then the day seemed to pass without as much effort as the morning. Tag-teaming Oliver is the way to go. Solo is hard.
We also received word yesterday that our request for additional hours of service through the school district is being positively considered. So knowing that we don't have to do this all alone is an incredible boost. I am also feeling very fortunate that we haven't had to battle for the funding for his program. Oliver is the first child in our city to receive these services and so they consider him a "test case". I don't mind as long as it keeps working in our favor.
Both kids fell into a hard sleep at 7pm and I had the delight of being able to curl up with each of them for the last few moments before their breathing became heavy with sleep. When I crawled into Oliver's bear bed he put my hand over his and laid his cheek cool against mine. He was asleep within moments. A hard day of work and play behind him.