Adjusting to Our New Home

As of Saturday our family is officially moved into our new home! I wanted give all you wonderful people an update. I know many of you genuinely care about our family and how Cooper is doing.

Can I just say moving is hard with or without an autistic child. It’s exhausting. It’s so much work. It’s expensive. There are also so many variables that can go wrong and we actually had a few on the day of closing. It all worked out though. Thank goodness. If it hadn’t we would have been homeless until Monday morning. Try explaining that to children.

Cooper charmed the Cable installation men

But with Cooper, there are also other elements. Mainly, his anxiety and his safety. He is also a runner. If he sees an open door, anywhere, he is going to sprint out of it. He will run, head down, erratically. So, doors have to be locked and/or constantly watched. He can elope at a given second. That alone makes moving hard. His anxiety also controls many of our choices and actions. It is what it is I guess.

We also didn’t have internet or cable for the first few days. Yes, we had a hot spot but nothing works like it should.

The first day was hard. As I knew it would be. But, no matter how we prepare, and let me tell you this little family prepares for war, it still took us a bit off guard. I know Jamie and I each had our doubts on day one.

We had a house full of people that came to help and it was loud, chaotic and busy. Cooper can handle the noise for a while. In a way, I think he actually really enjoys it. He loves having all of his favorite people in the same house. But, his cutoff is usually a few hours. Jamie and I recognized the signs immediately. He started throwing shoes and other object down the basement stairs. He started knocking objects over. He started doing lots of screaming.

I immediately took him outside to get some fresh air. I let him wander and explore. Currently, we don’t have a yard. We have a dirt pile. Just like most kids would be, he was immediately drawn to it. He likes to sit in the dirt. Feel it. Sneak a bit now and then. And even throw. Which would be fine if he understand the implications. He doesn’t.

If the mood strikes him right, he will throw sand at people or rocks at windows. And yes, he is having the time of his life. But, safety comes first. It’s hard.

Cooper loving the dirt pile

For the first day we struggled to keep him safely content inside. And yesterday, we struggled to keep him safe outside. It’s a balance I tell you.

We also had our alarm system installed yesterday. This means we get notified every time a door or window is opened in our home. We will also install other safety features over the next few weeks. You can read about them HERE.

Another part I wasn’t prepared for is actually a positive. Our five year old son made friends the first day. Within hours actually. Two boys and a girl. Ages four to six. Cute, friendly kids that love to ride bikes, climb dirt, shoot Nerf Guns and run around just like kids should do. This is the main reason we moved to this new development. We wanted Sawyer to have this. He is spending his time outside and comes in to get water, food or for band-aids.  I love it so much. Although I feel like he has aged five years in two days.

There he is!

But, what we didn’t prepare for was how kids come and go. In and out. Our doors need to be locked. Our alarms need to be on. And we didn’t know that Cooper would like being outside quite so much. Yes, I know it’s only been a few days. But he can’t safely be out there without a set of adults eyes on him. He loves to run into roads with his head down. Looking for oncoming traffic makes no sense to him. We also don’t have a fence up yet and it won’t go up until June or July.

So, he has been bringing his blanket and sitting by the front door and not-so-patiently waiting to go outside. We can’t be out there with him every second. We need to unpack and get our home ready. Make dinner and work. All the usual things.

At a few different points, while watching Cooper on his dirt pile, I overheard the children laughing and playing behind me. I overheard the parents talking and making plans for a fire. I felt the isolation at that point. Jamie felt it at others. We are bound and determined to make this work though. We are going to enjoy our neighbors and our yard. We just have to figure out how to do it while balancing autism.

Within the next few weeks we plan to take Cooper to each house in the neighborhood for a visit. I also plan to write them a letter about autism with our contact information. I want them to know his face. I want them to be comfortable around him. And most of all, if they see him alone, I want them to bring him back.

The neighborhood kids are also incredibly curious about Cooper. We have explained a handful of times that he is autistic and doesn’t speak but that he loves being around them. They just stare with wide eyes as he throws rocks and runs around flaps. Part of me is thankful that he is spreading awareness. These kids will grow up with autism now. Part of me is worried that Sawyer will be impacted. But, I worry about everything. That seems to be my job lately.

Cooper loves his reflection

And lastly, I wanted to share this picture of my bathtub filled with stuff. It took my sweet boy less than 24 hours to remember how much he loves filling up tubs with mom and dad’s toiletries. He was so proud as if to say, ‘welcome home mama.’ Later, before we had him clean it up, he ran by me in the kitchen carrying a bottle of soap. I asked if he was bringing it to the bathroom tub. He replied with a clear as day, ‘YES.’ I just laugh.

He transitioned super well with sleep too. He went to bed both nights in his room and slept wonderfully. Honestly, while it’s an adjustment, both boys are doing great. It’s going to take some settling in. We know that.

But what matters is that our boys are both happy. They are comfortable. They are content. What more can you ask for after moving to a new home?

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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When my son was first diagnosed with autism no one was talking about it. Autism was hidden. I vow to change that.
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