What Time Is It??!!

So today I have another Chicago song rumbling around in my brain.  A couple weeks ago it was the song “Color My World” that I wrote about.

But today…today it’s the song, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”

The chorus begins:

Does anybody really know what time it is?

            Does anybody really care?

Stop right there!!

Yes, somebody cares!!!


For anybody new to my blog, Aaron is our amazing adult son with autism.  And keeping the correct time is of paramount importance to him.  I mean, look at his log book that he keeps with his time to go to bed at night and the time he gets out of bed in the morning.


And many of you still chuckle with me when I share conversations similar to this:

Aaron:  “Mom!  I woke up early this morning!  Guess what time I got up?”

Me:  “You got up at 7:00.”

Aaron:  “No!!  I got up at 6:58!!”

Aaron loves keeping his eye on the time, the PRECISE time!  Therefore, this change yesterday to Daylight Savings Time caused a huge bump in his road of exact time keeping.

And that’s why I waited until he and I were driving to Sam’s Club in the early afternoon to even casually broach the subject of another time change.  He listened and then didn’t have much response, but I’ve learned not to be fooled by his silence.  He was pondering this unwelcome news with each ticking second of his wristwatch…his wristwatch pushed way up his arm, always, for those of you who may not know that little fact.

His Sam’s food treasures kept him from dwelling too much on the time issue.  Pineapple slices…cheese cubes…dry roasted peanuts with sea salt (Aaron likes using their full description!) (and talking about what dry roasted means until Gary and I are sick of the topic of dry roasted peanuts with sea salt!)…strawberries…orange juice…and dog jerky for our big Great Dane, Jackson.

Once home and all unloaded, Aaron went out with me to the front yard.  He kindly picked up branches that had fallen in our last wind storm.  We praised him for his helpfulness, and how he was allowing Dad more time to work on our bathroom remodel.  Or as Aaron puts it – “tearing the bathroom.”  He was very proud of his job well done.


And then it hit him.  The afternoon was moving right along.  We were going to watch our West Virginia team play Kansas at 5:00.  Aaron asked about what time the game started, which reminded him of that time issue discussed earlier, and the countdown began.

“Mom?  When do we change the time?”

“We’ll just change the clocks when we go to bed, like we always do,” I told him.

This question was asked in one form or another several times during the evening.  Then it got complicated.

It was 8:30ish when we finished watching a program.  “Maybe I should go on to bed,” Aaron said.  I suggested that we watch one more thing, and then he could call it a night.

“But when does the time change?” he asked again.

“Well, technically it changes during the night when we’re asleep, but we’ll set the clocks ahead when we go to bed,” I replied.

He was satisfied with that.  We watched one more NCIS and then it was definitely time to hit the sack.  Aaron ran down the stairs to say goodnight to Gary, remembering to have Dad change the time on his wristwatch.  We got all the bedtime routine taken care of, with Aaron pushing up his sleeve every minute or two to check the ever important time on his watch.  His eyes were darting, though, to the time on his satellite weather station.  We had told him that the time there would change automatically during the night.

Finally, he pushed up his pajama shirt sleeve, stuck his arm out for me to see, and said, “Mom, look.  It’s this time on me.”

He was struggling with having one time on his watch and another time on his weather station.  Nothing I said was helping much.

Then…THEN…the inevitable happened.  It was time for Aaron to write down his time to bed in his log book…and the time on his weather station did NOT jive with the time on his watch.

What to do??!!!

He wrote down the time displayed on the weather station.  I said goodnight.  I should have known it was not over.

Nine minutes after he went to bed, I heard his heavy footsteps coming up the hallway.  Soon there was a knock on the bathroom door.

“Mom?” he asked.  “Is it really 9:47?”

“Yes, Aaron, but during the night it will change while you’re sleeping.  Now go on to bed and don’t worry about it.”

Off he went.  I think it was 9:48.

I was starting to breathe easy, but I shouldn’t have.

More footsteps.  Another knock.

“Mom?  Is it really 10:03?”

Bless his heart.  These things are so, so urgent and of such great importance to him.  I dare not dismiss them or shrug them off or make him feel like he’s ridiculous to be so tied up in the stress of what time it really is.  Gary and I know to explain over and over, if needed…and it almost always is.  Small price to pay, really, for Aaron’s peace of mind and for ours.

All was well today.  Aaron was super excited to eat lunch at Carlos O’Kelly’s, so it appeared that all the time issues had been laid to rest last night, at the same time that Aaron finally decided to rest.

I think it was 4:43 when we were all walking in from the garage…and Aaron spied the time on the garage door opener.

“Dad!  It says 3:43!!”

And in no more than a couple seconds, maybe three, Gary had gotten that garage door opener in sync with Aaron’s watch, Aaron’s weather station, the microwave that Aaron had just watched me change, the oven, the radio…


Does anybody really know what time it is?

            Does anybody really care?

Silly song!!







My Note From Aaron

Is it 12:08…..
Ah, the time change of this past weekend has come to bite us.  We knew it would be difficult for Aaron to accept this change.  It nearly always is.  He doesn’t mind it so much when we turn the clock back one hour, but this forward one hour business is not his cup of tea. 
….or 1:08?!

“What??!!” he exclaimed on Saturday during supper when we broke the time change news to him.  No matter how much I tried to make it seem like it wasn’t a big deal, it still was a big deal to Aaron.  It was an even bigger deal at bedtime.

“Mom!!  Come on!  I need to say goodnight!  It’s not really 10:00, it’s 11:00!  Come on!  It’s late!!” 

“I don’t think I’m gonna read tonight.  It’s late!  It’s already after 11:00!!  I’m just going to sleep!  Do you think that’s a good idea?” 

I told him it was a very good idea.  And I wish that this morning had held some good ideas for getting him over the Monday time change hump, but good ideas were few and far between this morning.  Add in the fact that Aaron didn’t go to his day group on Friday because of his meltdown on Thursday….and today was his first day back since that incident……and add in that I overslept today….and Aaron wouldn’t wake up today…..not a good morning.

He woke up grouchy.  I had to keep speaking to him in order to wake him up, and my voice first thing on this kind of morning is not what he wanted to hear.  Not even his mugs of coffee sitting beside his desk helped on this morning.  Not even all the advice I’ve read, been given, or given out myself helped this morning.  Aaron was grouchy to the bone.

This Kansas City Chiefs doll that Aaron gave me a couple years ago pretty much matched both my face and Aaron’s face as I drove him to meet his group. 

But when we pulled up beside the Paradigm van, Aaron opened his door….and then closed it again, refusing to budge.  I wasn’t going to fight it, so I apologized to his driver and headed home again with Aaron.  I was deep down really irritated.  Totally mad, actually.  I had some strong words with Aaron as we drove home, and I wasn’t all cheery even when he apologized. 

Straight upstairs we both went, Aaron to his room and me to my bedroom.  It wasn’t long before I heard Aaron’s steps coming up the hall.  He walked in my room and handed me something.  It was a note that he had just quickly written.

Oh my goodness!  How could I stay mad after I read this note?  I am “preety?”  And I am “sweat?”  I took a shower this morning!  HaHa! 

And along with the “I love her,” Aaron quickly and sincerely gave me a huge hug.  Any hugs from Aaron are rare and welcomed, but a huge hug is definitely a special treat. 

Of course, my heart melted, even as I knew that Aaron might be yelling at me again tonight.  But at that moment, Aaron was feeling terrible about not going to Paradigm, so he jumped at my offer to drive him there on my way to run my errands. 

“Mom,” he said as he put his jacket back on.  “I just thought I could write that note and make you happy to me, not rude like you were in the van.”

I was rude?  But I didn’t want to argue and I didn’t want to take away from this special moment, so I just smiled and the two of us went on our way after picking out a new oldies CD to listen to during our drive.  I was happy to him all the way there, and he was happy back to me.

He gave Barb at Paradigm a huge hug, too, and she and I talked awhile about the complexity of Aaron.  How do we find what will make him calm….make him motivated…..make him polite to others?  There are no easy answers, and there never have been.  She showed me her latest notes from Aaron on her desk calendar.  Notes like mine from today.  Notes that we see and read, especially on Aaron’s grouchy days, to remind us that there is a side of Aaron that wants to be sweet and kind. 

I’ll keep Aaron’s note on my desk, where I can see it, but where he can see it as well.  I want him to realize that kindness from him is a quality that is worth holding onto and remembering. 

I’m not sure yet if I’ll also try to clear up that “sweat” comment, or just take it that he meant I am sweet.  Maybe I don’t want to know. 



A Time Change……And A Change of Time

Some of you may remember this post of mine from Facebook a few weeks ago:
          We need to change Aaron’s pick-up time for his day group from 10:30 to 9:30. We may as well have asked him to scale Mt. Everest in shorts and flip-flops…..go swimming in hot lava….play in a den of rattlesnakes…..sleep with a skunk…..walk on hot coals across America….. Get the picture? This could be a tiny bit difficult.
His new pick-up time was to begin this past Monday……right after setting our clocks back one hour on Saturday.  Oh boy!  A double whammy for poor old ‘I like things the same and I don’t like change and I like my clock to stay the same’ Aaron.  To say I was dreading it was an understatement.

I broke the news of the “fall back” time change to him on Saturday afternoon.  “Oh brother!” he said as he turned and went up to his room to ponder this complexity of life.  The extra hour of sleep meant nothing to Aaron.  Order in his world is all that matters, and this time change twice a year is full of disorder.  Not to mention all the changing of clocks!

He and I were playing SkipBo that evening.  We finished at 10:44, which was really 9:44 if the clocks had been set back……but was still 10:44 on most of our clocks because we hadn’t changed them.  Aaron, though, was already operating on the new time.  I found this out when I started putting the cards away and said I was ready to go to bed.

“If it’s 9:44 right now, maybe we should stay up now,” he said as he watched me put the cards in their box. 

“Why?” I asked. 

“Because it’s NOT 10:00!!” he not-too-patiently explained to me. 

“Well, it’s really 10:44 but in the new time it’s 9:44,” I began to explain. 

But nope, it was already a done deal to Aaron.  It was 9:44 now in his head, and he will not go to bed before 10:00…..new time, not old time.  Old time 11:00……new time 10:00.   9:44…..10:44……never mind.

The next day he realized that the digital clock by his desk had not been changed yet.  It’s a little difficult to set, so Aaron depends on me or Gary to do it. 

“Mom!” he said.  “The clock by my desk…..it hasn’t been changed behind yet.”   I hear that statement nearly every year, and it never gets old.  I would never think to describe our time change that way, but Aaron does.  Fall back……fall behind……he does remember.

Our other huge hurdle was to occur on Monday, when we would meet his group an hour earlier.  Another time change…..of a different sort…..but a change of time regardless.   UGH!!! 

Gary had suggested that something powerful might work to ease Aaron’s transition into this dreaded new pick-up time.  Something powerful….like sausage biscuits.  So on Sunday night I casually asked Aaron if he would like to leave early enough the next morning to run into Quik Trip to get a couple sausage biscuits.  He casually and quickly answered yes……and I nervously told him that we would need to leave around 9:10.  He didn’t bat an eye.  I relaxed…..just a little.

He was up early on Monday morning, and I realized that this weekend time change would possibly work to our benefit.  Aaron waking up earlier than normal was just what we needed with this new pick-up time.  Wow!!  Perfect timing for a time change after all!!

We had a few initial bumps that morning.  Some name calling…….almost yelling from Aaron…..a couple refusals.  But no throwing of anything breakable……no ripping up of special papers…….no bending his glasses.  And when I went in to tell him that it was nearly time to go, he was compliant.  Another wow!

We left the house without incident and got to QT in time to get his biscuits.  We waited…..and waited……and waited some more.  After a long wait and a few texts and calls, I learned that there was a miscommunication…..and that the new time would start the next day.  Aaron’s ride came, but we had waited an hour.  On most days, Aaron would have been beside himself…….frustrated, angry, tired.  But not that morning.  He was just fine as we sat there watching birds and listening to music and talking….of course.

And all this week, Aaron has been wonderful about the new time that he meets his group.  No anger or complaining or frustration……at all!!  This is truly a miracle.  I can only explain it as an answer to prayer, for I know that Gary and I were praying about it, and I know that many of you were praying, as well.

So thank you for the prayers……and thank the Lord for the timing of this huge change in time.  The clocks “changing behind,” as Aaron says, have been a blessing indeed!

The Bible verse that says our times are in His hands has taken on special meaning to me this week!



Do NOT Talk About This Color Thing!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!  I like to tease about this day being MY day…..Saint PATTY’S Day.  However, I did not mention anything like that to Aaron this morning because he would only think that Mom is being weird……..and that would probably lead to him getting impatient with weird Mom.  Mornings are already rather “iffy,” so I just didn’t burden him with my wit.  Sorry that the rest of you are not so fortunate.  J

I did make sure that Aaron was wearing a green shirt today.  Not that he cares one little bit, but I do care.  Not that he cares that I care……well, you get it.   I decided not to make a big deal about today being Saint Patrick’s Day.  That’s because Aaron might see it as some sort of holiday or a day to celebrate, and he does not usually like celebrations.  All the noise of parties, and people acting weird (that’s how he sees it!), makes Aaron most unhappy and uncomfortable.  He also feels like something extra is expected of him but he isn’t sure what that something is, so he becomes very irritated and then very vocal.  A very irritated and vocal Aaron can ruin the best of celebrations.

I thought, though, that maybe I should tell him his shirt was green.  You see, Aaron is color blind and I knew that to him his shirt probably looks like some shade of brown.  I didn’t want others at his day group to maybe say something about him wearing green and then have him being clueless, so I told him this morning that his shirt was green since it is Saint Patrick’s Day.  I should have left it there, but then I had to go and say something about knowing it might look brown to him. 

“OK, OK, Mom!” he said as he walked away.  “I don’t want to talk about this color thing again!” 

Well, it’s not like we talk about this color thing every day, but I understood his frustration and I just left it alone.  Ah, Aaron.  He didn’t want to talk about this color thing, but over the weekend he did plenty of talking about other things.   Let’s see:

SPRING:  Aaron sees the seasons like this……winter is cold; spring is warm; summer is hot; and autumn is cool.  Period.  And each season should begin on its designated day with the appropriate temperatures attached.  Therefore, I was not surprised yesterday morning when he said, “Mom, I was sitting in my room and I felt heat.” 

Yes, Aaron, that’s because the furnace came on.

“The heat came on?” he replied.  “I thought it was spring.”

No, spring starts on March 20……this Thursday. 

“So it’s still winter?” he continued.  I told him it was, and he predictably said, “Then why was it warm yesterday?” 

I explained, as I have every season for many, many years, that we can have warm days in the winter and cold days in the spring and hot days in autumn and cool days in summer……

“So this Thursday it’s spring?  Then it’ll be warm?” he asked as he walked away. 


Yolanda:  As he and I changed his sheets this weekend, Aaron was talking about his good friend, Yolanda, and how he let her borrow some DVDs.  As we talked and I once again said the name ‘Yolanda,’ Aaron interrupted me by saying, “Mom, you say it in a bad way.”

I asked what I was saying in a bad way and he explained, “You say it YoLANDa but it’s YoLONDa!” 

Oh.  Well, I wouldn’t want to say it in a bad way so thanks for correcting me, Aaron.

HIS FACE:  Last night after Aaron brushed his teeth, he came in our bedroom to tell me something that was very exciting to him. 

“Mom!  After I brushed my teeth, I looked up close in the mirror…..halfway…..and it looks like there are HOLES in my face!!  See?”

And he leaned in very close to MY face so that I could hopefully see the holes in HIS face. 

“Those are for SWEAT!!” he informed me. 


And with that, he was off to bed and I was off to have a good laugh behind the closed bathroom door.

He and I went to Dillon’s this morning on his way to meet his group.  He was happy at Dillon’s today.  For one reason, he got TWO containers of Pringles along with his flavored water. 

For another reason, Mom did not stand there talking to someone and totally messing up the routine. 

He sat on the chairs outside the little bank annex there as he waited on me to finish in the self-checkout lane.  I turned to look at him and this is what I saw. 

Good old Aaron, still making his presence known in one form or another.  I’ll take happy Aaron, though, in his green shirt…….or is it brown?

Peace out…..and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

We Go AHEAD One Hour?

Aaron is very particular about time.  He keeps a running list of the time he goes to bed and the time he gets up.  He is rarely without his wristwatch, worn halfway up his arm.  He is very precise when he states the time that he does something, such as, “Mom, I quit reading at 10:43 and went to bed at 10:44.”  If I say, “So, you went to bed around 10:45,” he looks at me as if I am rather dense and then says, “No!  I went to bed at 10:44!”

Notice where Aaron wears his watch
If he is tired of wearing his wristwatch and he comes out of his room to do something, he will often carry his watch with him.  This is what he did one night recently when we were playing Skip-Bo.  He very carefully set his watch up so that he could see it, and then he would give me a time update.  “Mom, it’s 9:36.”   “Mom, now it’s 9:43.”  “Mom, it’s 9:52.” 

“So it’s almost 10:00?” I asked.  And true to form, Aaron answered, “No!  It’s 9:52!”

Sheesh, Mom!!!

At the theater, Aaron will sit with his popcorn perched on his lap……..but not eating any.  He then gives a rundown of the time as he often glances at the lighted clock on the wall of the theater.  “Mom, what time did you say the movie starts?” he asks.  I tell him the time and he watches that clock, mentally ticking down the minutes.  I will be happily munching my popcorn, but not Aaron.  That’s because Aaron will not start eating his popcorn until the lights are dimmed and the movie actually starts.  This is his unwritten popcorn rule, and the reason that he is so concerned with time at the theater. 

So it’s no wonder that our time change this weekend was slightly stressful for Aaron, and more than slightly stressful for me.  I told him on Saturday afternoon that we would be changing our clocks ahead one hour that night.  This is nothing new to Aaron, of course, but it always throws him.

“So we go AHEAD one hour?” he questions.   I told him yes, and he stood there pondering this change. 

“So when I go to bed at 10:00 it will really be 11:00?” he asked.  I said yes again, trying to be very low key as I watched him mentally processing this disturbing information.

Later that evening, as we played a game of Skip-Bo, he was getting nervous.  He knew that 8:15 was really 9:15, so each ticking minute was causing him some stress.  He was glad when we were finished and he could zip up to his room to take care of a couple things on his computer.  Soon, though, he was thumping back down the stairs.

“Mom, it’s 9:46,” he said to me.  He stood there waiting for my response.  I knew what he was thinking, but I didn’t react. 

“Well,” he continued, “that means it’s really 10:46.  I need to go to bed!”  I have rarely seen him so eager to take his pills, brush his teeth, and get in bed.  He hardly even read his Handy Answer Science book because his clock that was now set to the correct time was reminding him that the previous 9:53 was actually now 10:53.  For crying out loud, it was time to turn off his light and go to sleep!!

The next morning he didn’t get up until 7:41, to be precise……as Aaron always is.  He came downstairs to find me looking at the Sunday paper………and he was not in a good mood.  All this time change and then sleeping later did not sit well with Aaron.  He asked about coupons in the paper, which he always clips for me, but he asked in an impatient manner.  I told him that I wanted to look at the coupons first to see if I wanted a second set.  This is our standard routine, but Aaron’s routine had messed up and so he was messed up as well.

He got angry as he stood there waiting on me to look through the coupons.  He wouldn’t go shower, he wouldn’t get his coupon trash cans, he wouldn’t get his scissors, he wouldn’t get his sitting pillow out.  Nope.  He stood there waiting on me and fuming.  He ended up being very mad at me and calling me a name.  All because of a change in the time and a change in his set routine.

It seems like such a small thing to us, but to a person with autism these changes are very difficult.  It doesn’t really excuse Aaron’s behavior but it does explain it.  Words don’t speak to Aaron at a time like this.  They only make him angrier.  So from Mom he got a cold shoulder, and by the afternoon he was wanting to put his arm around my shoulders and talk my ear off.  He was sorry, though he never said the words. 

He happily came in the kitchen that evening with the clothes pins that we use on chip bags pinned on his ears.  Things were back to normal, if you would call that normal.  We do.  But one thing wasn’t right.  Aaron’s weather station clock beside his desk had not changed to the new time.  He asked me if I would set it for him, but I told him that I didn’t know how to set that clock.  I had not learned yet how to do that, I told him.

Soon he was coming back down to the kitchen with a further report on the clock.   Up he went to his room, only to return a few minutes later.  “Mom, do you want to learn now?” he hopefully asked me.  I gingerly told him that it could wait, and he accepted that…….only to come down soon after that.

“Mom, it’s 6:58,” he informed me, knowing that it was really 7:58.   Soon the next update came.

“Mom, it’s 7:02,” he said. 

Oh, Aaron.  He listened, though, as we told him to not get in a tizzy.  And later he was able to go to bed with great relief after Gary corrected the time on the clock.   Aaron’s world was finally in order, all the clocks and his wrist watch were in agreement, and this crazy changing time business was over!

Until this fall, when we will go through it all again.

I bet if some of these lawmakers had to live with Aaron, they’d stop all this silliness right away.  Now there’s an idea!