Routines make everyone’s life a bit easier. When routines are disrupted, I can move on fairly easily. Brandon, however, thrives on structure. If his structure and routine is challenged, we know it can result in a tantrum or meltdown. Here are some more routines we have to follow with Brandon.
Going to the bathroom: When Brandon needs to go to the bathroom, he will say “hall bathroom”. We have to respond with “yes, go to the hall bathroom”. When he is done, he comes out and says “mommy start”. I then have to respond with “did you have a nice time?” He says “yes” and I have to say “say it once”. Every single time. If not, we may see angry jumping and/or perseverating on any part of the routine.
Going to stores: It doesn’t matter what store we go to, Brandon will follow a certain path through that store. He likes to get his stuff first. Before we go into the store, Brandon will say “walk around kids adults” while waving his right arm in front of him. This is something we started years ago to try and help him understand personal space. It doesn’t always work, however and we end up apologizing to those whose personal space he violates.
Leaving anywhere: It doesn’t matter where we are leaving, whether it’s the store, the doctor’s office, or friends houses, Brandon will always say “nice time”. We are then suppose to say “you had a nice time at (wherever we were)?” Sometimes, he responds “yes” and we say “say it once”. About half the time, this works. The other half of the time, Brandon says “fun time”. And then we go with that.
After medicine time: After Brandon has his medicine, we have to do the “nice time” bit. We also have to give him Skittles or jellybeans. We have been doing this for at least 15 years. It was started to get him to actually take his medicine. And now, it is just part of the routine. We should buy stock in Skittles.
We follow these routines because it makes Brandon happy. It gives him peace. It allows him to move on with his day. These are the things he can count on and control. And isn’t that what we all want, some control over our life?