I was sitting in the line for the car wash the other day and I looked down to see my odometer and temperature looking like this….
Both were a repeating string of numbers. And at the same time I realized this explained my life pretty well. My car showed it all: repetition and zero miles an hour. Doing the same thing but not getting anywhere.
Life with an autistic child is often very repetitive and can often feel like you are spinning your wheels a lot and not getting anywhere.
Routines take over. Most days are exactly the same as the previous days and will be the same as the next one. We do the same things at the same time every day. Only the very small details change. Trying something new or going somewhere new can cause all sorts of issues. But at least we get through the day.
My kiddo is very stuck on the same clothes, so he wears the same four or five shirts and the same kind of jeans. Life gets complicated when he outgrows his clothes which is often these days. But at least he is wearing clothes.
My kiddo also has a very repetitive conversation track. We have the same conversation about eighty times a day, every day. Doesn’t mean he can’t talk about other things, he just doesn’t. I think it is easier for him to say the same thing rather than try to have a different conversation and have to struggle for the words. Kind of like reverting to default. So we talk about Moonlight’s (the cat) gray paws, over and over and over. But at least he is talking.
My daughter complains that we have the same meals all the time. It’s true. I’m not near as adventurous in the kitchen as I used to be. It’s too hard. I know you are laughing at me for that, but when every meal becomes a fight and disaster keeps striking while you are trying to cook, it gets old fast. I just want a quiet meal with no fighting. Pick your battles is my philosophy. So we eat a lot of the same things over and over. But at least we’re eating.
We have to go to the same car wash after every time we go shopping. We’ve tried to go without but it always caused a serious meltdown and we have an hour drive to get home. That’s a long drive when you have a Tasmanian Devil trying to destroy the back seat lol. Sometimes we’ve sat in line for half an hour to get through that particular car wash. But it avoids a meltdown.
So, yeah my car says it all: repetition and zero miles an hour. But it also says that I come more than 83,000 miles and I’m headed west. I may not be moving at the moment, but my engine is running and I’m pointed in a direction. Just because I’m not getting anywhere now doesn’t mean that I haven’t accomplished a lot and I still have the power to keep going.
All in all it seems pretty optimistic to me.