24 May 2012 Leave a comment
23 Mar 2012 7 Comments
Today I am grateful for:
Leopard geckos. We have two, named Pancake & Waffle. The first one we had was named Egg (hence the breakfast theme) but unfortunately he died a couple months ago. Leopard geckos are cute & friendly & if you have patience, they can learn to play games with you. I discovered that if I waited until Egg stuck out his tongue while he was looking at me & I mimicked him, he’d walk closer to the glass & keep playing with me back and forth. Something about inter-species communication just makes me happy.
Imagination & humor. Were it not for the funny pictures and characters jumping around in my head, I think I might fall into a deep depression some days. Alex’s father said to me years ago as we were listening to the radio in the car: “When this song comes on it makes all the cartoon animals in my head form a conga line.” And ever since then, as soon as I hear the first few notes of that song I see the conga line and I laugh.
What are you grateful for today?
Write it down, sing it out, share it, share it!
(and remember to play!)
20 Feb 2012 2 Comments
“Miss Rhode Island, please describe your idea of a perfect date.”
“That’s a tough one. I would have to say April 25th. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.”
~from the movie “Miss Congeniality”
A re-publish of one of my favorite posts: One hour in another time ….
11 Feb 2011 7 Comments
… it’s time for that show at the house next door!”
(Maude grabs popcorn, pulls up a chair for her spouse Donald to sit with her at the window, and settles down for the latest exciting installment of “Autism Home Rescue: At Home.”)
The WordPress topic today, in case you haven’t already guessed, is: Write a story about yourself, told from your neighbor’s perspective. Oh boy, this should be a fun one. I’m not sure I wanna know what our crazy household actually looks like in reality to our neighbors (whom we’ll call “Maude and Donald” for confidentiality purposes.) So for your reading amusement today, I’m just gonna make this one up. Ever see the movie “The Burbs” with Tom Hanks? Well, picture kinda like that. But, um, we’re not axe murderers or anything.
Maude: “Come quick, I don’t wanna miss the beginning like we did last week. I was all confused when the mail truck showed up twice in one day and Hannah climbed out the back.”
Donald: “All right, all right, I’m hurrying. Did the au pair arrive yet?”
Maude: “No dear, the au pair left screaming, remember? There are three new babysitters now. Or maybe four. Wait– someone is coming up the walk.”
Maude & Donald wait and watch as Dacia parks her car in front of the house in Superhero Parking Space #1 at exactly 3:00 pm and glides up to the family home. Dacia is gorgeous, confident and ultra-prepared. A behavior specialist and autism-expert-extraordinaire with long brunette locks and a smile that could charm the most hardened criminal, she was brought in after the infamous “window-breaking episode” to kinda clean things up. Picture Lara Croft only happier, minus the guns and the sarcasm.
Dacia unlocks the door just as Alex’s bus is pulling up. The bus door opens and
**freeze frame & rotate to the side to see Alex in all his hyperactive, OCD glory in mid-leap flying off the school bus onto the walkway**
Dacia: “Hey bud!
Alex: (singing loudly) “Daaaaashhhaa!” (as he runs past her into the house)
The door closes. Alex announces “RADIO!” and in about 30 seconds loud gospel music begins pouring through the walls. (Last week it was country music, the week before jazz and rock.)
In the meantime, a black SUV zips expertly into Superhero Parking Space #2. Cue spy movie background music & slow motion effect as TSS Jack (Wraparound Support Services Guy) exits his vehicle & whips off his sunglasses. In a flash, he arms himself with all the tools needed for whatever he may encounter inside the Home. Positive reinforcers in hand, Jack strides confidently to the door.
Alex opens the door: “Jaaaaaack!!” (at the top of his lungs)
The door closes again.
Donald: Those two, they’re like the dream team.
Maude: I know, right? Last summer after that cliff hanger episode when the chair flew through the door I was kinda worried. About time they brought in some extra reinforcements– hey, who is that?
Donald: That’s the new one, right? Think she just finished her Agent training at the University Campus downtown.
Ashley enters the house. Even over the blaring music, Alex can be heard screaming “Ashweeeeeeee!” Through the windows Alex can be seen zipping back and forth, moving lights and building supplies from room to room. Before long, construction has begun on the largest Rube Goldberg contraption known to man. Ping pong balls and marbles bounce around on ramps and spirals, flying from room to room, upstairs and down. The three superheros move with Alex through the house with the precision of a team of ninjas as Alex screams gleefully “Marble run 3000! The best marble run ever! Donnnnn’t touch!!”
The clock ticks 3:30. A beaten up little 3/4 minivan swerves into the driveway on two wheels. Mom hops out and runs up the walk, 27 bags in hand and 15 minutes late as usual. Alex’s teachers from school, whom we’ll call Kate and Rachel, meet Mom at the door. Kate and Rachel could be the 2nd and 3rd Angels to Alex’s “Charlie.”
Donald: I don’t know how they do it, but whoever casts this show has some talent. Did you ever notice how they all look like movie stars? That little boy just surrounds himself with gorgeous women.
Maude: (dreamily) Mm hmm.. (mutters under her breath) I kinda like Jack…
Mom, Kate and Rachel enter the house. As the door opens, more screamed greetings followed by Alex announcing “QuesadiwAAH!”
*insert scrolling recipe subtitles here*
Alex: Torteewas, chicken, cheese. Lettuce shreds. Salsa. Beans. … Beans?? Dacia, get some refried beans please! Go to store, get beans, okay?
Dacia: Okay, bud. Let’s write the list for Mom.
Alex and Dacia construct the shopping list, which now includes 3 more desk lamps, an 8-pack of lightbulbs, every item in the Mexican food specialty aisle at the grocery store, the “magic toy” (apparently a “classified” gizmo of which no one on the entire team has any knowledge) and gluten free cookie mix.
Meanwhile, Mom, Kate & Rachel conduct a Top Secret meeting in the next room where they are developing plans for the most Amazing Home Program known to man. Papers shuffle, complex charts and graphs are passed around the table, heads nod. A nifty 3-D blue laserbeam display hovers above the table for a minute, then disappears.
Kate: And that. Is how Alex will load the dishwasher after dinner.
Mom & Rachel high five as big smiles all around radiate an immensely glowing light out through the living room window.
The door opens again. Alex and his Team exit and make their way to the bus stop, then return a few minutes later with Hannah, who wears a diamond tiara and brightly colored princess gown over her school clothes. They are joined by another Behavior Specialist who looks extremely serious and professional, kinda like an FBI agent. Hannah carries the 17 new stuffed animals she has accumulated throughout the school day. She updates Dacia on all the animal stats.
Hannah: This one is Spot, he’s a dog. And this one is Sneaky. Here’s Snow White, Marshmallow, Gigi & Fifi. Fifi is an ox, but her mommy is a Moose. They got left in the toy bin, but Fifi climbed to the top– she’s a survivor– ohmigosh, she was so sad because her mom was still at the toy store until I rescued her and took her away from the pig. Oh– and this one is Grand Central Spacement. She’s a golden retriever….
Mom opens the door and The Home Team disappears inside the house. Lights begin to flash off and on, in a kinda bizarre morse code. Alex sings, “Ready or not, here I come!” as another voice calls out, “Dinnertime!” The theme song of “The Incredibles” begins to blend in with the radio, which is now blaring salsa music. Mom, wearing her own sparkly tiara, can be seen dancing around the living room with Hannah.
A TV announcer’s voice echoes above the neighborhood:
“Will the home team unlock the secret of the ‘magic toy?’ Are there really enough quesadilla fixings to last the week? Will Grand Central Spacement ever find her mommy dog in the bottom of the toy box? Tune in next week as we hear Alex say, ‘Mommmm… I love you!’”
Maude picks up the empty popcorn bowl and closes the mini-blinds. She smiles at her husband.
“Whoever would have dreamed we’d find such entertainment right in our own backyard?”
12 Jan 2011 9 Comments
Who says kids with autism don’t play or think imaginatively?
Yes, they are often visual kids. And yes, sometimes Super Literal. I’ve been reading some wonderful blog entries lately with funny anecdotes about kids on the spectrum not being able to lie. Or about teens trying to grasp the concept of “a little white lie” like when you say:
“Thanks for the sweater, Nana, it’s great.”
when what you really think is:
“Ewww! I don’t wanna wear that ugly thing!”
Alex is particularly cute about lying. He can bend the truth a bit if he really wants something. He’s so charming and manipulative, my boy. He’ll avoid the true answer by trying to divert your attention. As in:
Me: “Are you hungry? Do you want more dinner?”
Alex: “Five minutes til chocolate cake?”
Me: “It’s time to go home. Where are your shoes?”
Alex: (big grinning hug) “Mommmm. I love you!”
But when it comes to yes/no questions, he’s stuck. He just doesn’t know how to outright lie. It’s like Roger Rabbit jumping out of his hiding place singing “Twoooo biiiiitttts!” when the movie villian taps out “Shave and a Haircut” on the table. Alex just has to respond.
Alex: “Mom, go downstairs to the living room, ok?”
Me: “So you want me to go downstairs while you stay upstairs?”
Me: (laughing) “So you want me to go to the living room so you can stay upstairs and do something I told you not to do?”
Me: (grinning) “Okay, my little wiseguy, what is it that you wanna do, huh?”
Alex: “Mommmm.” (insert charming smile here) “I love you!”
There is so much more going on inside the minds of children than most adults ever know. With Hannah– who is, for better or for worse, as talkative as her mama– I know much of her thought process because she can verbalize it. With Alex, I have to trust what I’m not able to hear. And whenever I “take it on faith” that there’s a whole world going on inside Alex’s head, there always seems to be a wonderful moment of verification of his amazing imagination and creativity.
One of those moments is actually what prompted me to write today. The background story is that our bedtime routine for the last couple months has involved my reading chapter books and poetry aloud to the kids. We’re currently going through the Magic School Bus series (which I recently discovered is Alex’s favorite– see the Happy Birthday post!). A few nights ago, Alex and Hannah did bedtime with Daddy without me. Since reading aloud is kinda my thing, they decided to tell a story together instead. It went like this:
Dad: Once upon a time
Alex: in a forest
Dad: and an alligator
Alex: went to a giant
Hannah: to make their dreams come true.
Dad: They dreamed of flying
Alex: and they flew away on a blue balloon.
Magical imagination indeed!