Exercise is Our Family Thing

How a Boy of His Own Rituals Managed on a Day of National Ritual


Until about 5.30 pm-ish, Charlie handled the holiday and the inevitable disruptions its traditions and rituals impose on his routines and ritualistic nature. He actually smiled in the late morning as we drove up to the burrito place with the 'closed' sign in the window (we proceeded to a nearby McDonald's that was open only to be told we had to wait all of three minutes to get Charlie a hamburger as it wasn't yet 11 am) and was game when we sought out a far less-preferred, non-Jersey City Vietnamese restaurant. He had displayed his anxiety about the day by being in 'hurry up please it's time mode.' waking early and launching immediately into a walk then a bike ride then a bike ride then a walk.

He asked for a third bike ride around 3 pm and waited well with a timer only to say 'no' to the ride and thence followed some hours of mounting uneasiness (connected in part to eating about two dozen pieces of paper-wrapped chicken and about two dozen prawns in the space of an hour -- I did make sure Charlie drank a lot of water amid it all; he has no sense of 'portion control' or 'if I eat all that my stomach will feel bad afterwards'). He sat for perhaps five minutes on the couch and a certain flat affect in his face led Jim and me to take some precautions.

Charlie's mien eased up a bit and, foregoing any of the Thanksgiving meal -- that ritualistic food not being part of his ritualistic-ness-- he spent over an hour upstairs with the shower turned on and the ocean waves playing on his iPad, in a routine he occasionally embarks on when his stomach is not cooperating.

I do think he is setting up some kind of sensory re-memory of being at the ocean with such. If not being in the waves, being in the outdoor shower (that every beach house has) -- Charlie used to love to take endless 'hot showers.'

Afterwards, he went to bed after I had helped him put his room back to rights, just as he likes it: Wednesday might, he had wanted to sleep in the room where my parent usually do. They had switched all their things into Charlie's room as a result and changed the bedding and Charlie was especially insistent that I do 'green pillows' -- put certain green pillowcases back on the pillows on his bed. We couldn't find these initially, only to find them in the closet and then Charlie was relieved.

O! Bessed rage for order, pale Ramon, / The maker's rage to order words of the sea...



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