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Nothing But Repeats

December 26, 2015

I can say this out loud now that the big day is over but I think we’re reaching a new phase of maturity. I’m not talking about the world at large – I’m talking about us here in the Cowley house.

Whenever I’m invited to events to tell the Get Steven Home story, I often include in the build up to Steven going away that he gets very unsettled by all the changes to routine over Christmas. I think I’m going to have to start using the past tense. The anxiety isn’t there anymore, or if it is, he knows how to handle it.I guess by the time you reach 25, you understand the rhythm of Christmas Day.

Laying in bed last night after a full on but calm day, I realised that Steven has set up Christmas Day so there is nothing new, nothing unexpected happening. The whole day is one long repeat.

A support worker stayed overnight on Christmas Eve and Steven had us both up at 5 o’clock yesterday morning. Usual Friday breakfast. Usual Friday press ups. On to opening the presents and Steven smiles through the familiarity of that – two calendars (one for the living room, one for the landing). Two selection boxes. A box of biscuits from Trevor, his friend from the water aerobics group (“Just the biscuits please Polly”).

The morning is spent going through the new DVDs and CDs. First cab off the rank, obviously, is the new Mr Bean DVD. A new DVD but nothing new about the familiar sketches that we’ve watched thousands of times before. Just a new compilation. Then a new DVD of Men Behaving Badly’s Greatest Hits. Five episodes that Steven can reel off in his sleep. As I cooked the lunch, Steven and Alan had an energetic disco to his new 3 set CD – Now That’s What I Call The Nineties. Lou Bega, Haddaway, Take That & Lulu Orange. My meal preparation constantly interrupted by a running commentary – “Dad, it was The Spice Girls first song. Nice to meet you Emma Bunton”.

Lunch is a replay of every previous Christmas lunch. Steven won’t eat a sprout on the other 364 days of the year but for one day only it is permissible. It’s the only day of the year he will tolerate other people sitting with him at the dining table. We don’t wear hats though. Hats are for outside when it’s raining.

The rest of the day followed in familiar, predictable fashion. More4 repeated their Greatest Musicals of all Time, which we recorded on VHS tape when it was first shown years ago. We did a compilation cassette with songs from Steven’s new CDs. Our evening viewing was BBC3’s Toy Story. Again.

Is it boring? Not at all. It is reassuringly comforting. And the relief of a day without a meltdown is worth watching Woody and Buzz falling with style for the 264th time.

We keep up the traditions today. We’re off shortly to Hampton open air swimming pool. We do like to be invigorated on Boxing Day.

At the ATU, Steven’s routines were seen as problematic. I remember Whistler’s Mother telling me they ” hold him back”. I think Whistler’s Mother was doing silly talking. They are the bedrock from which growth happens.

I’ll get my trunks.



From → Social Care

  1. Katie Bennett permalink

    Love you both, hooray for routine! Enjoy your Boxing Day, love a Twitter follower X

  2. and don’t we all have our traditions – I’m waiting for The Sound of Music, and it’s the familiar routines and traditions that make us all feel warm and fuzzy – and secure. Understandable that Steven needs more and as you say the building blocks. Warmest seasonal greetings..

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