Monday, July 22, 2013

When Is A Routine A Routine?

When I was a kid, I am pretty sure that I lived by a set routine. I got up at 6:30 (even though the bus didn't get there until 8 AM), and I showered. I ate breakfast, and then I would curl my hair. I would usually have plenty of time to wait for the bus. I'd go to school, and come home and hang out in my room. (This was when I was older, I don't remember before this one what I would do). I would do homework, listen to the radio, read books, whatever. When I started being involved in band activities/plays/sports and whatnot, this varied a little with practice/rehearsals or whatever. These things fit nicely into my routine, until it was simply routine to stay after school, even if I didn't have something going on. Ooops, I missed the bus. Oh well, my sister has ______. The last few years of school, between volleyball, cheerleading and my sister's basketball, and track, I was involved in something every day after school anyway. 

This was the routine I remember having for years.

I am still pretty stuck in my morning routine. If I vary from it too much, I end up forgetting to do something, like put on deodorant. I can tell you that as of lasts summer, if I varied in my morning routine in any way, deodorant was forgotten. Yes. That's embarrassing.

However, for the rest of my day these days doesn't really have a solid, written in stone rountine. There are things however that I plan to do, or think of doing the morning or even the night before. These things feel like "routine" to me, but I don't know if they are a scheduled routine, know what I mean? I was once told in therapy that it would help me and my son if I had almost a written schedule for when we would do certain things. Then he would know that we had a set time of doing something together or whatever. I have thought about that almost every day since, but I have yet to actually make or follow any sort of schedule. Now, with the new baby and technically less time for focused time with my son, I am thinking that it would be a really good idea to actually implement this.

But when is a routine a routine? What makes a schedule a schedule? Is it because we write it down and follow it to the letter? For some reason, to me, that seems very rigid. What if things change? Sometimes I do make choices to do things at the "last moment" - which seems strange for someone with Aspergers who doesn't like change. But sometimes I do decide we are going to the store or something at the last minute. I know it seems like the last minute to my son, but most of the time I consider doing it for at least an hour beforehand... so maybe that isn't so much last minute? 

I wonder if I would feel better with a written schedule. Now, where to write it. I had "borrowed" a whiteboard from my parents house (hey, they've been gone 4 years and it hasn't been missed) but my son LOVES drawing on it, so I don't have the heart to take it away from him just to use for a schedule. LOL. I could print something out and hang it I suppose. But would it make me feel any better? Would it be too rigid for me? Would it make my son feel better and more in control? Since I think he is a lot like me, and possibly could have the same "little professor" reorder that I have, maybe it would help him feel more content and less frustrated if he knew what was going to happen and when? I could set days for doing things, like check and groceries on Fridays, that kind of thing? I mean, in a way, we already have certain things we do routinely. Would writing it down make it more valid? I don't know. 

When is a schedule a schedule and a routine a routine?

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