With no special appointments on calendar, and when work is not crazy (discussed below), this is how I organize a typical weekday right now:
7:15-7:45 a.m. I rise when Martin opens the door to my and Adrian’s bedroom and calls, “Mommy!” There is some flexibility in this timing; this morning, for instance, Martin surprised us at 5:45 a.m. and refused to go back to sleep. (Thanks, kiddo!) In the event that I wake while Martin is still asleep, I use the time to get a jump on feeding the cats, preparing breakfast, or getting myself washed and dressed.
7:45-8:45 a.m. A busy time. I turn Martin over to Adrian, who gets him freshened up and dressed. While they’re doing that, I prepare Martin’s morning homotoxicology (heat filtered water and “cook” the alcohol out of his drops) and feed our four cats. (Because nothing in life can be easy, two of the cats are on restricted diets, and each eats something different. They require close supervision so as not to get into each other’s food.) When Adrian and Martin come downstairs, I add citrus-flavored kombucha to the homotoxicology drops and help Martin drink that mixture, along with three nepro rella tablets. Then Adrian and Martin have their half-hour RDI session together. I participate as necessary, or video parts of their session to send to our RDI coordinator, or else use the time to prepare Martin’s breakfast. (To my dismay, Adrian refuses to eat breakfast.) If I’m lucky, I dash upstairs to wash up and get dressed.
8:45-9:15 a.m. Martin is usually back in my control by about 8:40 a.m., when Adrian goes up to shower and prepare for work. I help Martin with his breakfast, and we do his morning supplement routine, which is the most extensive of the day, with half-a-dozen pills, two kinds of oil, four varieties of drops, vitamin E that I empty from capsules into oil, and diluted Biosode. Martin’s nanny, Samara, arrives around 9:00 a.m. She’s well versed in his entire supplementation/homotoxicology routine and helps us finish that and any breakfast still left on his plate. Adrian breezes through on his way to the office. I turn Martin over to Samara; between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. they leave for the park or a playdate.
9:15-10:00 a.m. Typically I need a half-hour, or more, once the apartment has settled down, to tidy the kitchen, to take care of dishes left in the dishwasher or laundry run through the dryer overnight, and to finish getting myself ready for the day.
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Work. Often these two hours involve a lot of returning emails and catching up on what’s come in overnight, because I work with people who work a lot.
12:00-12:30 p.m. Martin and Samara return for lunch. I spend a few minutes playing with him. Then I prepare his lunch, usually leftovers from whatever entrée I cooked the previous afternoon, plus an improvised side dish like sauerkraut-and-parsley or avocado-and-cilantro. I also assemble a snack for Martin to take to school. Samara takes care of Martin’s noontime supplements. I give the cats their lunch.
12:30-4:30 p.m. I try to devote as much of this time as possible to work, and also for any necessary conference or other business calls. Samara takes Martin to his special-education school by 1:00 p.m., so I have a few good hours of quiet. Inevitably, though, non-work tasks begin to crowd the afternoon—the supermarket didn’t have some specialty item, so I have to run to the natural-foods store, or we urgently need cat food until the next scheduled delivery arrives, or I forgot food for myself and step out to grab a smoothie. Because I work at home, I can also use this time for prepping dinner ingredients that require more time, like cooking beans or dicing and steaming vegetables. I’m an afternoon sous-chef / lawyer.
4:30-5:00 p.m. Samara brings Martin home from school and does his afternoon homotoxicology (as in the morning, “cooking” drops in filtered water and serving mixed with kombucha) and three nepro rella tablets. Martin’s afternoon home-based therapist (OT or PT) arrives for a half-hour session. I rush to cram in anything that needs to be finished for work before Samara leaves at 5:00 p.m.
5:00-7:00 p.m. The busiest time of my day. During this two-hour stretch I finish preparing Martin’s dinner, do his 13 daily HANDLE exercises, bathe him and rub oil on his skin, and help him eat while giving him four or five pills, one oil with three types of drops in it, and antioxidant cream rubbed into his neck. I also dim the lights and try to create a calm atmosphere, to get him settled for bed. This also tends to be Martin’s most difficult time of day, because he’s overtired and not willing to obey or even to pay attention. He tries to rile me by running into my home office, where he knows he’s not allowed to play, or by climbing the carpeted cat-tree. I get frustrated.
7:00-8:00 p.m. Between 7:00 and 7:15 p.m. I take Martin up to bed. We read a book or two. Actually, because his attention is limited, we do more looking at pictures and talking while he turns pages. I brush his teeth. We snuggle. Finally I sit in the chair next to his bed and read, check Facebook, or catch up on headlines on the iPad while Martin dozes off. If we’ve had a bad night or two, I may fall asleep in the chair and wake half an hour later to find Martin also asleep. Adrian, on nights when he does Martin’s bedtime, is much better at telling Martin that it’s sleepy-time and leaving the room. That’s difficult for me. Martin likes to have someone in the room when he falls asleep, and I like that he closes the day with the security of Mommy next to his bed.
8:00-10:30 p.m. Once Martin is asleep, I return any emails and make any evening phone calls necessary for work. Then I begin the kitchen routine. Adrian tends to arrive home from work around 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. Depending on whether he has eaten at the office, I make him either a snack or a meal, such as garbage pasta. After Adrian is taken care of, I engage in the support necessary to maintain Martin’s exhausting low-carb, sugar-free, preservative-free, all-homemade organic diet. Finally I clean the kitchen and set the dishwasher to run overnight.
These couple of hours used to be a lot more difficult for me, when I also had to bake for Martin. (With the exception of one commercially available raw cracker, every cracker, cookie, muffin, or bread that passes his lips is homemade. Most are grain-free.) In recent months, my mother, who is retired and has more time, has taken over baking for Martin. She has his dietary restrictions memorized and is quite creative. She prepares his baked goods at her home more than 1,000 miles from us, freezes them, and overnight ships them to us. As a result, I am less stressed when 10:30 or 10:45 p.m. arrives.
10:30 p.m.-midnight. Wind-down. I feed the cats, maybe trim their nails or brush their coats. I straighten Martin’s play area, get the house in order, return personal phone calls and emails (I have very understanding friends and family). I file the paperwork that accumulates for Martin: applications, school evaluations, insurance claims, blood test results, referrals. I try to be in bed before 11:30 p.m. but rarely succeed. When I get there, I read or play Scrabble on the iPad. I try not to think about autism. I fall asleep by half-past-midnight, or so.
This schedule assumes (1) that we have not had any appointments for Martin during the day, and (2) that my work is not going crazy. One or two mornings a week I end up taking Martin to an appointment, such as his craniosacral therapist in Westchester, or his homotoxicologist in Midtown, or some Track One affair at the Big Imposing Hospital. And if my work is going crazy—if a brief is due, or a hearing is going forward, or things have just piled up—I have to sacrifice the evening kitchen hours, and most of my sleep. I recently went an entire week on less than 20 hours’ sleep, working during the day, then from 8:00 p.m. until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., and getting up at 6:00 a.m. to get in an hour before Martin woke. It was the worst! My ability to cope with that kind of schedule has gone way down since law school 15 years ago.
Weekends are a little different. We try to have family time at the park, or maybe on a day-trip. Otherwise I do the laundry, construct Martin’s menu for the week, grocery shop, and try to get ahead of the week’s cooking. I may have some work to do. Adrian may have some work to do. We may both have some work to do, in which case we tag-team Martin’s therapy and care. Adrian and I also schedule one date night per week, either alone or with another couple. I cook for Martin in advance, and a sitter whom he loves comes to give him dinner and put him to bed.
My task at this point is to figure out where blogging is going to fit into the schedule. If I have to, I will cut the midnight-1:00 a.m. sleeping hour. This blog is important to me, as I hope it will be helpful to others.