15 Minutes

When we came back from Christmas break, Buddy refused to go to school. He would kick, scream, and drag his feet. I had been worried that the break from school and altering his routine would be difficult for him. It seemed I was right.

I had to wake up earlier and get him moving earlier. It took longer to wrestle him into clothes. Sometimes, I let him sleep in his clothes, so all I had to do was change his shirt. I had fully expected him to adjust to being back at school after the first week. A month later, we were still unhappy.

If I asked, Buddy would simply state that he was scared, which is his phrase for, “I don’t know how to communicate what is wrong.” Every day after school, he would fall asleep; I couldn’t keep him awake. I asked his teacher if anything had changed, but she said his schedule was the exact same. She had noticed a change in him as well and had been planning on asking me if I had changed anything.

Normally, if I absolutely need Buddy to do something, I will let him play on his DS. This time, not even the promise of that could get him to wake up and get ready for school. Every day, after wrestling him into his clothes, I had to literally carry him onto the bus and help the bus driver buckle him in. Every day, he would come home either asleep or half asleep and collapse onto the couch.

I began to worry that the bus driver was new and could be upsetting him, but he should have adjusted; it was five weeks since he got back from Christmas break. What could be wrong?

In my last post, I detailed my day. Pretty much every minute is accounted for so that I can be there for Buddy, and so he has a steady routine throughout his day, whether or not he is at school. One day, a small change threw the entire day off course, and I finally figured out what was wrong.

Buddy and I were waiting for the bus. I had convinced him to sit on my lap, which meant I was sitting on the hard gravel of my driveway, but at least he was still. He snuggled into me, trying to go back to sleep. The usual morning traffic went by, but the bus didn’t arrive.

Buddy is very on schedule. The moment the bus was late, his internal alarm went off, and he began asking who was driving him into school. I told him that maybe the bus was just slow today and asked him to wait. He curled back up into me, but popped up every few minutes to ask if he could walk to school. No.

The bus arrived 15 minutes late. Buddy was understandably upset; his schedule had been thrown off, and he had already been having trouble going to school. The bus driver was new, which didn’t help. I felt my brain trying to get me to notice something, but the bus drove off and I hurried inside.

15 minutes late! I would have to shorten my workout routine, which meant that I would have to skip lunch later in order to accommodate. (Note: I finally learned from my doctor that my weight issue is due to hypothyroidism, and starting tomorrow, it should not be nearly the same issue it has been!) If I did my full workout, I’d wake Lily up late, which meant she wouldn’t nap until late, and then I’d have to wake her up, and she’d be cranky and would struggle to stay awake until bedtime. Heaven help me if she went to bed early! It would take days to fix her schedule. Maybe I could rush my errands or skip something. I try to be healthy and manage my money, but maybe we could eat fast food just this once to cut back on lunch time.

As I tried to take a fast shower, I grumbled over how someone being 15 minutes late could change my entire day.

15 minutes.

I blinked, feeling like a moron. I knew what Buddy’s problem was! After the break, since he had a new bus driver, he also had a different pick up time — 15 minutes earlier than his previous one! Buddy wasn’t able to cope with the change! As soon as I could, I sent a message to his teacher. She agreed with my conclusion, and we both felt silly for not thinking of it sooner. I called the school district and complained, which I had been meaning to do for some time. (Seriously, how hard is it to keep a bus driver? This is his fifth new one this school year! Besides that, why on earth does he need to be picked up at 6:55 if school doesn’t start until nearly 8? He sits at school for an hour!)

They got him yet another bus driver, and he arrives at 7:15. The change in Buddy was instant. He woke up perkier, happier, ready to go to school. He comes home not nearly as tired. His teacher says he is doing better at school as well.

He also remembers my offer to let him play his DS. He wakes up, on his own, gets himself fully dressed (no more repeat pants!) and ready to go, then plays his DS until the bus arrives. He hands it off to me, asks me to charge it, and leaves. That easily. That simply.

15 minutes. Who knew?

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