Having a good smooth morning routine is probably the single most important part of the day. I remember growing up with these frantic rushes and trying to make sure everything was taken care of before heading out, and consistently forgetting something every single day (always something different).
Desperate to not repeat the mistakes of the past, we have a pretty smooth system going around here in that starts the night before:
- The night before: A coffee pot is made to start brewing at 6:15 am.
- The night before: Lunches are made, including a meat, veggie, fruit, cheese, crackers, and a juice drink. (And leftovers, veggies, fruit, and a juice drink for Craig.) They live in the fridge in the garage. All the parts for lunches live in their own grocery bag so that when it’s time to make the lunches, I just have to grab the ONE bag instead of rummaging through the whole fridge. Also, this keeps people from eating all the lunch things instead of other snacks.
- 5:30 am – Our automation system turns the lamp on in the bedroom
- 6:30 am – First alarm goes off, this is my “start to wake up” phase, and sometime in the next fifteen minutes, I’ll get up and get dressed.
- 6:45 am – Real alarm goes off, it’s time to get the boys up.
- Joseph and Daniel are rousted.
- Joseph gets the clothes together for the two of them.
- I make two travel mugs of coffee – one for me, one for Joseph – and serve up two bowls of yogurt – one for Joseph, one for Daniel.
- I get Daniel from his bed, change his diaper, and get him dressed down to the shoes (which live in the shoe rack next to the door, always).
- 7:00 am alarm goes off – we have fifteen minutes to get out of the door.
- Joseph is brushing and gelling his hair while I am feeding Daniel his medicine in his yogurt.
- Joseph is eating his yogurt while I am making Craig’s fruit smoothie and putting out his daily supplements. Daniel is either sitting on the couch or being my shadow.
- I get the lunches from the garage fridge and put Joseph and Daniel’s in their backpacks (which hang by the front door on their very own hooks).
- 7:15 am – The Out The Door alarm goes off.
- Joseph buckles Daniel into his car seat.
- I give Miles his wake-up call and turn on the light.
- I give Craig his wake-up call and turn on the light and give him sweet kisses to wake up all the way.
- Miles’ lunch is on the counter. Craig’s smoothie, supplements, and lunch are on the counter.
- 7:18 am – I take the boys to school, and we’ll get there by about 7:35 am on normal days, and 7:40 am on the days that we have to pick up Joseph’s friend Jonathan for carpooling.
- I get back home around 8:00 am, and if Miles isn’t awake and out the door yet (normally he is), I give him fifteen minutes to get dressed and ready (make his own coffee, etc) so that I can drive him to school (3 minutes).
- I fuck around on the internet for about fifteen minutes until my 8:15 am alarm goes off, and then I get to whatever work I’ve got planned for the day.
Here’s what’s so interesting about this: These are all the parts that go together, but we vary it enough that we don’t get caught in a system of rote. For auties like Daniel, routines are both crucial and also dangerous, because if he gets too used to a routine and then something changes, he doesn’t cope well. He doesn’t have meltdowns like Joseph used to (and, wow, but they were epic meltdowns!), but he does shut down, and the stress (if it’s an extreme change) can bring on more seizures.
Rather, we have a nice quick method that allows us to get out the door in a decent amount of time without getting up stupidly early, and that’s probably the best part.