Before the coffee is even poured
Somehow in my hazy sleep-deprived state, I manage to count how many times my son Nolan asked me to make him a cup of chocolate milk. In the dinosaur cup. The same one he uses every day. If he doesn’t tell me to give him that cup, his brother Conor may ask for it.
That’s not the plan.
The plan is he gets the cup with dinosaurs and little brother gets the cup with Lion Guard, and that’s that.
I inform Nolan that yes, like every morning, he gets that cup. Maybe I got a little annoyed and raised my voice (I’m exhausted), which prompts him to demand an apology from me or another meltdown will follow.
It’s 6 a.m.
My eyes are halfway open and coffee has not been poured. Yet the demands keep rolling in.
“Mom, I need a pillow. Not that pillow, that one. And a blanket. And that big Catboy stuffed animal. And turn a show on please.” (The very specific show that he conveniently forgot the name of, but is reciting the song because apparently you can search YouTube that way?)
“MOM. Conor is in my spot. He’s too close. I NEED MY SPACE, CONOR!”
Push, whine, scream, cry…
6:12 a.m. Conor is ready to move on. He runs to the playroom and starts building a house with Magna Tiles and little people. He does this for at least 45 minutes.
6:20 a.m. Conor is playing. Nolan sees the opportunity to sit with me. He jumps in my lap (hurting me in the process) and begins asking me questions about our day.
“What are we doing. What’s for lunch? Can we go to McDonald’s? Can we see Tony today? Why not? Call his mom! Call her! I want to hear you talk to her. I want to play Mario. Can I play that? Can I play Minecraft? Can I watch Mario? The Super Mario Brothers Super Show?”
7 a.m. Mom is done. No more questions. No more. I’ve given all my spoons away before I even finish a cup of coffee, and I can’t get them back.
I’m trying to retreat to my room for a time out but that doesn’t work with Nolan. He uses a toothpick to pop open the door lock (learned that from his old mama) and walks in. He’s mad. Possibly sad, maybe about to cry. I can’t tell.
“Why are you sad? I need you to stop being sad. Don’t cry, Mom.”
I wipe the tears away and say, “Oh no, Mom is just frustrated and it’s okay to feel like that”.
Stare. Think. Consider. Reconsider. Speak.
“Are you happy now? Show me your smile. Show me your happy smile, Mom. Oh! There it is! I see it. You did it, Mom! Good job! You did it!”
He’s just a boy, he’s been on this earth less than 2,000 days, and he has perfected the art of getting my attention. He even knows how to make me smile my best smile.
Raising a son with autism is something I never thought I could do, but we’re both here. And thriving.
Now someone get me a damn cup of coffee.
It’s 7:15 a.m.