Susan Sheehey lives in Trophy Club with her husband Bryan, a senior vice president in IT at Citigroup. Susan is a published fiction author and chauffeur to their two boys, Caden, 7, and Liam, 2. Caden was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 4 and with ADHD last November.
6AM The boys wake us up by playing in the game room upstairs. Caden is playing Iron Man, and Liam is following him around with Buzz Lightyear and pressing the laser button over and over. I start their breakfasts — frozen waffles — in the toaster, along with some fruit. Bryan starts making our coffees.
6:30AM We give Caden his ADHD meds mixed with applesauce, because he is still learning how to take pills. We use a Medi-Straw to help him swallow a Tic Tac. Whether he’s successful or not, we praise him for trying. I help both boys get dressed.
7AM The boys watch Toy Story 3 for the 50th time this week. Bryan and I eat breakfast and enjoy our coffees. He checks work emails from home (he’s part of a global team running 24/7), and I respond to emails and social media requests. I respond to a few questions in the AUsome Moms group on Facebook, a huge support group and newly licensed nonprofit for autism mothers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. These ladies are a godsend! Caden has found a strip of paper, and he starts flapping and running in circles with it. We redirect with coloring pages; otherwise, he’ll continue to flap and run in circles for hours. Sometimes when we redirect, he throws a tantrum, which can include hitting himself, throwing himself on the floor and lots of shouting. We stay calm to redirect him, and normally he complies within a few minutes.
9AM The boys have a snack. Then we get Caden ready for his Miracle League baseball game. He’s on the Astros and loves his uniform.
10AM We remind Caden to go potty, and I prep the diaper bag for the day, including the necessary motivators and distractions, such as snacks for both boys, juice boxes, and the iPad to keep Caden entertained.
10:30AM We leave for the baseball game in Southlake. The Miracle League field in Southlake is incredible! The organization is well organized and goes out of its way to make the players feel accepted and have fun.
11AM The game starts. Bryan and I trade off cheering for Caden (and all the kids) and chasing after Liam. Caden bats from a pitch, not the batting tee, and hits on the first pitch! He loves his buddy, Connor, a ninth-grade volunteer who helps him during the games. Caden is the first baseman, and he high-fives every player that runs to the base. Liam eats his snack and then runs to the playground at the Southlake Miracle League field. This is his favorite playground, complete with a sandbox area, splash pad, zip line and lots of jungle gyms.
12PM The game ends, the teams tie, and everyone had a chance to run the bases twice. Caden earned his playground time — he loves climbing up the Spiderman web and riding down the zip line.
12:30PM We go to Mimi and Bobba’s (my parents) house in Colleyville. We eat a late lunch, and the boys play for a while, reading books, building Legos and coloring.
1:30PM The boys go swimming in the backyard pool. Liam still wears water wings, and Caden loves to jump off the spa into the main pool. With diving toys, he is learning to hold his breath longer underwater.
2:30PM The boys come inside for water and a small snack. Then Liam lies down for a nap. He fights it, because he doesn’t want to miss anything at Mimi and Bobba’s house. Caden watches a movie for “rest time” while we sit and relax with my parents. My mom is an avid gardener with the Colleyville Garden club, and she shows me the latest flowerbeds she’s planted and cute crafts she’s created.
3:45PM Liam wakes up. We feed the boys another small snack — fruit and Nilla wafers.
4:15PM We head home. The boys go upstairs to the game room to play for a while. Bryan and I raid the DVR for our “adult time” and watch House of Lies.
5:15PM I go take a shower and get ready for Mom’s Night Out with the AUsome Moms group. Bryan fixes dinner for himself and the boys.
5:45PM The boys eat dinner. We let Alex out again and feed him.
6:15PM I leave for Mom’s Night Out. The AUsome Moms group rotates the event to a different location around the Dallas-Fort Worth area each month to accommodate the 700-plus members in the group. This time it’s a private party at Mill Street Cafe in Lewisville.
6:45PM Bath time for the boys while I’m gone — their favorite time of day. Our two water bugs take a bath together and play with their Avenger toys. Liam loves to dump water out of the tub, but Bryan is prepared with two towels on the floor. Then he helps them brush their teeth.
7PM Dinner with the AUsome Moms group. Lots of food, drinks, laughter and sharing stories. This support group has helped me so much since its inception two years ago.
9:30PM I return home. Bryan is in bed, watching another show from our DVR stash. I watch with him, before we both fall asleep.