It starts on Friday. Hunter gets off the bus and into the house very well, he is happy and has no negative comments about school. I know we have 25 minutes before Hunter says “let the fun and games begin”, this means Hayley gets home and he IS being sarcastic. I try not to, but the countdown starts in my head, 20, 10, 5, 3 minutes……Craig typically gets both kids off the bus and into the house, it gives me time to prepare for whatever is in store. I have this very nice picture schedule for Hayley to follow, and Hayley at times will attempt to follow it, but not on Friday. She came busting in the door totally ignoring me and the schedule (hang up backpack, coat, potty, change clothes, snack) with coat and backpack still on she throws open the refrigerator door demanding macaroni and cheese. I put the picture schedule in front of her and remind her that she must follow the schedule. Hayley literally starts to roar, it is amazing how loud a voice can get. Of course by this time I have Hunter running into the kitchen yelling “what’s wrong with you Hayley?” He knows she has Autism yet I think it makes him feel better just to yell at her. I tell him to go in the Library or up to his room where it is nice and quiet. All I get is a dinosaur growl but he does then retreat. After quite a tussle and 15 minutes later, Hayley and I are back in the kitchen. I take a deep breath and I ask her if she would like chicken noodle soup or some delicious fruit. Not what she wants to hear, yelling, screaming, falling to the floor, rolling around kicking cabinets. I pretend not to notice her like I have been instructed to do, it is hard to do this but I do and then the knot forms in my stomach. I tell myself, it will be over soon, it will be over soon etc. These episodes can last up to 1 hour. Fortunately this episode only lasted 20 minutes. When Hayley is fully calm I again ask if she wants soup or fruit, she chooses soup. Ok back on track! Although while eating, Hayley is smashing the carrots on the table, this to me isn’t a big deal because I need to choose my battles. When finished Hayley asks for a yogurt but I have to say not now otherwise she would continue to ask for something each time she is done. Some stamping and loud vocals but definitely could be worse. I go in the sunroom with her and I ask if she wants to watch a dvd or play Barbies. Hayley chooses Barbies and nicely sits on the floor next to her Barbie bin. She seems so content that I slip out of the sunroom and go to the library where Hunter is on the computer. I ask him to show me what he is working on and as he starts to show me, I hear WATER! I run to the kitchen and there is Hayley at the sink with two headless Barbies with dish detergent liberally spread all over them, water on full force, spraying Barbies and the surrounding cabinets. Even though I want to scream “STOP IT”, I don’t because she thrives on any kind of attention, negative or positive. I turn off water, dry her hands and have her sit on a kitchen chair while I wipe up the tile floor so somebody doesn’t slip and kill themselves. Once this is done I have her come to the sink and I help her to appropriately rinse off Barbies and wipe down wet cabinets. At this point I must praise her for helping to clean up properly, “Wow Hayley, you have done a wonderful job cleaning up the mess!” I know it sounds crazy but these kids are thinking about what they are doing now, not what happened before so they need to have positive reinforcement. The consequence was me taking the Barbies away and telling her Barbies are all done for today. Hayley got into the house at 3:30, it is now 4:30 yet seems later. I put on a Kids Songs dvd for Hayley and she has wrapped herself up in a fuzzy blanket, hugging her huge stuffed dog Kevin gave her two years ago and is sitting nicely in her chair. I sneak back to Hunter and unbelieveably am able to stay with him for 10 mintues while he shows me the zoo he designed on the computer. Dave gets home around 5:00. He goes out to our new patio (which now won’t be finished until Spring) and decides to shovel a small area of snow by a seating wall. Dave and I like to sit outside with a glass of wine and talk about our day when he gets home. We sit in full view of Hayley in the sunroom so if she leaves the area we are able to run in quick and divert a potential disaster. But on this particular night Dave decides to shovel just with his right hand (don’t ask me why) and pushed so hard he hit a small raised section of pavers and jammed his arm. We did sit outside for a while but it was freezing. Dave really was in pain so I gave him Advil, it didn’t help much and as the night wore on he couldn’t move it much. We decided he needed a sling, which of course isn’t really something you just happen to have laying around the house. I had a hard time figuring out what to use as I searched the house. but when I got all the way up to Craig’s room, there it was…..Craig’s belt! I excitedly ran down stairs and fastened the belt around Dave’s neck and hip hip hooray a sling!! Dave admitted it helped alot. We then attempted to watch Home Alone 2 with Hunter and Hayley in the Great Room. We got through about half an hour when Hayley started her hysterical laughter, this never ends well. We tried to talk her out of it, ask if she wanted something to eat etc. but to no avail, the laughter continued. Dave even put his hand over her mouth but the attention she was getting was very satisfying to her which in turn made her laugh more. At this point it is 8:00 and Dave and I looked at each other and mouthed “medicine and bed”. We got her in the kitchen and Dave gave Hayley her medicine which is not an easy feat. She clamps her mouth shut, covers her mouth with her hands, buries her head in her chest etc. it is an exhausting processs. Finally, with the medicine down, bathroom done, nightgown on she is nestled in bed. As Dave and I trudge downstairs and back to the Great Room we finish watching the movie with Hunter. Once he is in bed Dave and I decide it is bedtime for us as well. Once in bed I turn to him and say “you know, it wasn’t such a bad day”……………………….