The kids' bedtime are now both at 9pm. Calder, being in a special school with no tests and hardly any homework, easily makes his bedtime every day. In fact, these evenings he even watches the clock to announce "9 o'clock!" - time for bed.
For a change, today Calder slept later than his sister. This was because I wanted him to help me hang the laundry but the washing machine was not done with the clothes yet. Meanwhile, Ethel went to bed obediently - probably tired from battling PSLE Math this morning. In the 5 mins waiting, I decided a read a library book with Calder. Of course, the book took longer than 5 mins. After that, I settled at the kitchen table to do some marking while Calder hanged the laundry with occasional prompting from me. Done with the bamboo poles, he brought piles of damp laundry to the drying rack in the living room to hang.
Suddenly he appeared before me with his damp school T-shirt. Oh, this shirt would need a hanger. But the hangers are in Ethel's room. Oops, did he barge into her bedroom? I walked from the kitchen to the living room and saw that Ethel's door was open and -- her light on! And she was sitting up on her bed looking bewildered. I quickly turned off her light and closed the door.
By this time, I had noticed Calder's uneasy countenance. I figured he must have banged right into Ethel's room (the way he bangs any door open), turned on the light to search for hanger, but then was halted by his sister's cry of alarm. Shocked, he had then come out without the hanger, straight to me.
I explained to Calder that we shouldn't go into the bedroom when someone is asleep, that it's ok to hang the school clothes without using hangers. But then I saw him knock his knuckles hard against the rack and I knew that he had been frazzled. Thank God, the unease didn't escalate into a meltdown.
This incident showed me how different Calder is from us, that he has to be explicitly taught how to show consideration for others. It also showed me how vulnerable he is - it's so easy to faze him. But he's learning, and it's so precious - whenever he cooperates with whoever is trying to teach him something.
And now both kids are in bed and I hope both settle into restful slumber.