Custom Built Bed for my Hypo-sensitive Boy

The Boy is often hypo-sensitive, meaning he needs more sensory input than is typical.  He rubs his shoulder on the wall as he walks down the hall, loves big hugs, and could spend all day in the water if we let him.  He needs that extra input on his skin to be able to tell where it ends.  Part of this is that he likes to be under blankets, and in enclosed spaces, as many on the spectrum do, and has taken to hanging out in his closet to achieve the desired effect.  No problem except that he is getting bigger every day, and his closet is not.

I mentioned the other day that The Man had designed and was custom-building a bed modeled after the Captain’s bed style, so that The Boy could have an enclosed space under it in which to hang out.  Here is the (semi-) final result:

custom built bed

I say “semi” because, as you can see, the shutter door has yet to be attached on the end.  The Boy chose the color, and would like the door to be painted the same color, but alas, it is made of plastic, requiring special paint, and well, there’s only so much time in the day.  Some of you IKEA fans, may recognize the dark long piece with drawers that acts as a step and added storage that can be accessed from both underneath and the front of the bed.  It is from the Expedit line, and we used it for sorting the recycling at our old house.  It provides much needed additional storage in The Boy’s new room design.  We got rid of the box spring, and his mattress sits on top of slats, allowing for extra head room underneath.

The best part is that The Boy loves it.  It really is nice to have a husband that fulfills his promises and is incredibly handy.

The Man, a Cargo Van, and IKEA

The Man and I are traveling this week.  Just an overnighter to help a friend’s daughter move from her parents’ house to a deluxe apartment in the sky in a big city about six hours away from us.  We’ll be traveling by cargo van, and staying in a moderately priced hotel, with a quick trip to IKEA the following morning, and hopefully returning home with a new couch.

I know, luxurious, right?

It’s no honeymoon, but I know we’ll still have a good time.  We like spending time together, even while working or doing menial tasks, and he actually loves to drive.  I can’t wait to hit IKEA, one of the things I miss most about living up north.  When the closest one is six hours away, you appreciate it so much more.

Ikea_logo.svg

And I can’t wait to have a couch!  We’ve been sitting in chairs every evening, and even though The Man loves his recliner, I’m ready to relax, and stretch out.

We’ll mix a little work with a little fun, and my parents will stay with The Boy – a little changeup to our routine.  Enough to make it interesting, but not too much to throw us off.  This is the life.  🙂

The Cat’s New Tail

The Boy has a cold, and you know what happens when you mix autism and illness… let’s just say hilarity does not ensue.  Cranky-pants, constant-verge-of-meltdown ensues, and it ain’t pretty.  And from what I can tell, school was no different from home today.  So when we arrived home today, he put on his “cat costume” (which isn’t really a cat costume, but more of an everything-plaid ensemble, because according to The Boy, that makes him look like a calico…  okaayyyy…) and went outside, because it was rather warm today (and sunny!).  The last detail of the cat costume is the scarf (tail) he and The Man bought me for my birthday a couple of years ago, but today, the scarf had other ideas about being dragged on the concrete.  It turned into a frayed mess, and The Boy began to wail because it was “broken”.

We went back and forth, me trying to calm him and offer solutions, and The Boy calling me names and dwelling on the negative.

I have found over the past few months, that when The Boy is at his most frustrating and meanest point, he will often welcome a hug, and crawl into my arms (well most of him), and cry like a baby.  That’s what this behavior all boils down to, folks.  It’s an expression of his feelings.  He doesn’t really mean that he would like a new and better mom, he just means, “I’m sad and mad and frustrated, and I want to cry”!

While he was in my arms, I started suggesting alternatives to the scarf.  Rather than try another fabric scarf (which is what he wanted to do), we needed something different, something tougher that would withstand the concrete, because fabric and concrete just don’t get along.  He attempted to get sidetracked with, “Why do concrete and fabric not get along?”, but I motored right past, thinking aloud about something vinyl or plastic, like an outdoor tablecloth…  I suggested we go to the fabric store to see what they had.  I then had to explain that fabric stores had all kinds of materials and not just fabric (because I think I really confused him after just telling him that fabric and concrete didn’t get along!).  As soon as he understood what I was getting at, he wanted to go immediately, all full of hope and smiles.

We were able to find a plaid outdoor tablecloth material for $3 a yard, and came home triumphant.  I offered to sew it up for him, so that the soft side wouldn’t be exposed, and he enthusiastically agreed.  I broke out my new IKEA sewing machine for the first time, reached way back into my memory banks to remember how to set it up, and was able to do what I had promised.

And now our “cat” has a new tail!

This is a day in the life, and this kind of turnaround is what I live for.

The things I do for my kid

Being Auntie

Fabulous PITA is one of my best friends on the planet, and I get to work with her everyday.  Needless to say she is pissed I am moving.  Really pissed.  She and I are as close to sisters as we will ever get – we are both only children, and even though she is married, she plays a single mom most days because her hubby is a chef and works nights and weekends.  Her two little ones, Princess, age 6, and Sunshine, age 3 (almost 4), call me “Auntie”, and I love it.

Every kid needs a dollhouseToday, The Boy and I are headed to IKEA with Fabulous PITA, Princess, and Sunshine, but I have something else planned, too.  I have yet to give the little ones their Christmas presents, and I missed Princess’s birthday in January, too (I know, March is almost over, but Fabulous PITA and I are busy people!), so today I will come bearing gifts.

They both get a Calico Critters Townhouse that I bought for The Boy ages ago, because he wanted it, and I didn’t care that it was intended for girls.  He played with it for awhile, but never hard enough to damage it, and it has been in storage, waiting for the girls to be old enough.  I bought Princess a family of squirrels to go with the house for her birthday gift .  I also have a couple of other things to give them…

Baby AnnaPrincess is getting my porcelain tea set that I played with when I was her age (one of them – I collected them!).  And Sunshine will be getting my baby Anna that I adored when I was her age.  See, I still have this stuff, these cherished and beloved treasures from my childhood, and it’s time to let them go, I guess.  Amazingly enough, the ex didn’t throw them out (like he did a $600 money order, my entire work wardrobe, and my button collection from elementary school [including my Michael Jackson button!]), so I think they were meant to find a new loving home.

The Boy also gave up some of his stuffed animals to the cause, which went surprisingly well.

The little ones don’t know yet that we’re moving, and I’m hoping that these little tokens will remind them of us when we’re 900 miles away.  Even though I was an aunt for awhile, there will be nothing that replaces being “Auntie” to these two cuties.  I know I’ll miss all three of them a immensely.

Pre-Organizing My Kitchen

The Man, The Boy and I went to our local IKEA store last week and walked out with… nothing!  For the first time ever (as far as I can recall), I walked out without buying a single thing!  But, I did pick up the IKEA Kitchen Dreambook, the Buying Guide called “Storage Solutions for Your Kitchen”, and the Kitchen Planning Guide, all free resources from IKEA.

free resourcesWe’re not buying a new kitchen anytime soon, but I have been looking for ideas about how best to organize the one we have (the one I’ll be moving my stuff into this year).  Because I know that, like goldfish, stuff tends to grow to fit its surroundings, and I don’t need more kitchen stuff.  I just need to store it in a smart way.

I haven’t given it a thought until now because my current kitchen is tiny.  As in, I have three drawers, and seven total cabinets.  Stuff is hidden, but once you open those cabinets and drawers, you’re on your own.  Good luck finding anything.

I also checked out the book, 1001 Ideas for Kitchen Organization by Joseph R. Provey in January (and I’ve renewed it so I can continue to ogle the pictures).  It also has many ideas for storage, even if you are just re-organizing and not building new, and has lots of how-tos for retro-fitting existing cabinets with new features to make them more functional.

My next step is to catalog all of the kitchen items that will be making the move, and classify them according to the three main work zones: cooking, washing, and storage (sounds like a perfect job for Excel – I know, I’m a dweeb).  Once I have that accomplished, I can start to allocate items to certain cabinets, so that when I pack them for the big move, I can pack them and  label them according to work zones, and even cabinets.

And finally, based on my planning, I can get The Man to work on retro-fitting our cabinets with pullout trays, lazy susans, and helper trays.

Tee-hee!

A Different IKEA Effect on Singlemomdom

 

I can remember living in the same house the three of us lived in, only after the divorce, and the toilet seat broke.  Having a broken toilet seat is not just something you can live with, so I needed to solve the problem for myself, especially with an octogenarian landlord.  I went and purchased a new seat, and installed it myself, and for the first time, I realized that I really could do this being single thing.

 

After dividing up our assets, I needed some new furniture.  At the very least, I needed new things to look at if I had to stay in the same house.  My parents had come up to stay for a month or so, to help me purchase a car and get things settled before the school year started.  Enter IKEA.  I think I spent $800 in one day.  I had never, ever spent that much money in one place at one time, ever in my life.  But as some of you may know, $800 goes a long way at IKEA.

 

And as you may also know, IKEA purchases are almost always un-assembled, meaning you have to put them together.  It was a project, but with my parents’ help, we got it done, and it really started to feel like a different place, with my personal touches (including a duvet cover with flowers on it, just because I could).

 

And since that time, I have made more purchases, always putting it all together myself.  And every time it reminds me of how strong I have become, how capable, and how independent one can be, even when they don’t know it.  IKEA was good therapy for this single mom, and I suspect for many others out there.  If you are struggling with the emotions of a divorce, get yourself to an IKEA store, bring home a project, build it yourself, and give yourself a little reminder that yes, indeed, you can do this.

 

English: Logo of Ikea.

For the record, this post was inspired by this story on NPR, and also for the record, not all IKEA furniture is pressboard junk.

 

Mom!! Where is my _____??

The Boy is a slob.  You would think for a kid that couldn’t resist lining up Pringles and m&ms as a toddler, his room would have some semblance of order, but not so much.  This misplacing of things has been the reason for many, many a morning meltdown.  I have found that even when I try to predict every possible little thing he may need for school, something else will come up in the last two minutes before we need to be out the door (in order to get to school first, lest that spark a meltdown).  Whew.

Bins and organizers are not the answer.  I have a sneaking suspicion that The Container Store and IKEA do a great deal of their yearly business in January, when people decide that the only reason they are disorganized is because they don’t have enough BINS!

So, little miss Has-All-The-Answers, what is the answer??

Training.  Here’s how I know.  The Boy went to daycare as a wee one at a lady’s house, and loved her.  She taught him to put his shoes just inside the door, and pop his socks right inside, so they would be there when he wanted to put them back on to go outside.  He was there from the age of about 6 months to 3 years, and you know what?  To this day, he still does this with his shoes.  Ergo, finding a particular space for all of his things, and then using those spaces with lots and lots of repetition is the plan.

lined-up shoes

Of course, the purging of unnecessary and duplicate items comes first.  But then, it’s time for mise-en-place and repetition.  The other part of the game plan?  Buying multiples of the things he wears and uses most.  This means less laundry and hunting for me.

Any other tips for getting your child to be somewhat organized?  Share them in the comments.