The Christmas Vacation Dilemma

A few days before Christmas, I read a post from another favorite blogger of mine, Mother O’ Jim, titled “When Delaying is Enhancing…” . The blog was about her son’s Christmas anxiety over a gift he knew he was going to receive (give it a read if you have a minute) and the steps taken to minimize his anxiety.

While I was reading this post I was thinking about DC. Although he does get very excited and anxious around Christmas-time, reminding me many times everyday that “Christmas is coming soon” – he does not seem to get as anxious as Jim from the blog.

I was a little bit concerned about this Christmas though. Everything about this holiday season seemed to be different. Thanksgiving is normally spent at a restaurant (the same restaurant) with DC, Doug, my brother and sister-in-law and at times, my niece. This year, my niece had moved out of state a few months earlier and Doug was away on a cruise with his sister and his father. The restaurant even seemed to be different, more crowded and much less organized.

DC’s Dad decided to go to Florida for an undetermined amount of time. He left in mid-November. He would not be here around Christmas for DC and for the first time ever, we decided to take our vacation a few weeks earlier than usual and were scheduled to leave Christmas morning. We had to leave the house by 8:30 in the morning.

DC does understand that now that he is an adult, Santa only brings his stocking. The rest of the gifts are from me (Mom). But, would he understand when he woke up on Christmas morning to only a stocking, even if he received the same big pile of gifts the night before? I explained this to him over and over again and he said he understood. This NEVER means that he really understands.

After reading the blog I spoke of earlier, I got a little bit more anxious about it. Jim was happy to get his gift early as would DC, but I know in his head, this would not – even if he agreed that it would – eliminate the expectation of the Christmas morning pile of gifts. I know this from the many, many times I have given him choices to do “this” or have “this” now instead of later or instead of doing or having something different. He agrees but then still expects whatever he traded away.

I realized that I would have to do more than explain it to him over and over again. I thought about showing him pictures, but then I realized that it would make more sense to him and he would not think he’s missing out if he saw the same pile of gifts just being given at a different time.

So I took a photo of our tree and another of the bookcase where Santa usually leaves his stocking and I usually leave his surprise gifts. Then I cut out photos of presents that I could move from one place to the other so he could see that he would be getting the same amount of gifts, just earlier than usual.

(These photos are not of our tree. The originals were terrible. It seems that every time I need to print – the ink just about gone)

Normally after opening gifts at my mother’s, we come home and DC opens the gifts that are already under the tree. There is usually only a few because he knows he’ll be receiving Mom’s hidden gifts in the morning with his stocking from Santa.

normalxmaseve

Gifts from Mom on Christmas Eve

More gifts from Mom and Stocking from Santa on Christmas morning

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More Gifts From Mom and a Stocking from Santa

 

 

I had him move the gifts himself, from Christmas morning to Christmas Eve.

vacaxmaseve

Christmas Eve – ALL of Mom’s Gifts

 

 

So…..Christmas morning would be just Santa.

vacaxmasday

 

(Santa would surprise him with another stocking at the hotel when we arrived, but he was not aware of this yet)

We did this every day until I was as sure as I could be that he understood that he was getting the same amount of gifts… just earlier.

Still I was a little bit nervous about Christmas morning….

He was up very early as usual – this was fine since we had to leave early.
He saw the stocking filled with everything he’d asked Santa for. He was happy, maybe not as excited as he usually is, but he wasn’t disappointed – that had been my biggest concern.

There was enough time to use and
play with everything in the stocking and enough time to watch the entire Peter Pan Live DVD he’d asked for.
He never made it through the 3 hour version when it was live on TV, but without commercials, it was only an hour and a half!
I am still not a fan….but this time around, DC really enjoyed it.

As DC would say, “Phew, I was very nervous about this!”

Fortunately, it worked out well and he had a Merry Christmas!

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December Reruns…..Back to the Swamp

 

In keeping with my “December Reruns” theme and truthfully because it has just been a busy month, I wanted to repeat this post from June 2014.

We are on that vacation that I was so not looking forward to earlier in the month due to the fact that it was getting to be so busy and I was just getting crabbier and crabbier as the days passed. I am just about over that now that we are here.

We are staying at Gaylord Palms once again – the subject of the piece below. It is a beautiful place and even more so all decorated for Christmas. DC was really looking forward to coming back here. Not only will he be visiting Disney World and have a Christmas visit with his Dad, but he is back in the place where he was made an “Honorary Swap Guard”. He’s a happy guy!

From June 2014 (about a trip in January 2013):

The Honorary Swamp Guard

Some time ago, I wrote about our Disney Cruise, in January, 2013 – where the rule, “Don’t pick up the Princesses” was born. At the end of that post I mentioned that there was another great story to be told from the end of that trip….. so finally, here it is.

After spending 5 days on the Disney ship, our plan was to stay in Orlando for  an additional 3 days to visit Disney World and Universal Studios, because, you know, we didn’t get enough Disney on the ship……

We arrived at Gaylord Palms in Orlando. It was a beautiful place, and truth be told, I would have been perfectly happy to have skipped the cruise and just stayed there all week, but 3 days would have to do.

gaylord palms

We arrived in time for dinner – a late dinner – so we didn’t get to explore all that much on the first evening. The next morning we were planning to go to Disney World. Doug was on the balcony – he called me “outside” and said he had just seen Shrek walk though the restaurant down below. This was the restaurant we were heading to for breakfast as soon as DC was out of the shower, so I figured I’d ask about it when we went down to eat.

When we got down to Villa de Flora, I told one of the waiters (Matt) that we noticed Shrek walking by earlier. I asked if this was some sort of character “meet and greet” that they have for the kids, and if so, would they be coming back anytime soon? DC was sitting at the table away from the conversation. I didn’t tell him we saw Shrek earlier and I didn’t want him to hear me ask about it in case they wouldn’t be making another appearance.

The waiter explained that the characters did not work for the resort. They were hired for an early marketing meeting and we must have seen them on their way out.

Then he said “Let me see if I can catch them” – it had been a good while since we saw them from the balcony, so I really didn’t think he’d be able to catch up to them and I wasn’t asking so he’d have to go out of his way, I just thought they were part of the resort. I told him that it was not necessary, he did not have to do that, I hadn’t mentioned it to my son at all, so he didn’t have to worry about disappointing him.

He went to talk to his manager anyway. I didn’t really think much about it after that. DC went and got his mountain of bacon and his bagels. When I got up to get some more coffee, Matt came over to me and said he had been able to catch up them in the parking lot. Again, I said it really wasn’t necessary for him to do that. He told me his manager insisted. He said that by the time he caught up with them they were all already out of their costumes but agreed to put them back on and come back in to meet DC!!!! I couldn’t believe it! I went back to the table to try to tell Doug what was happening without DC hearing any of it.

DC had his bacon and bagels – I believe this may have been the trip where he discovered bacon – so he really wasn’t paying much attention to anything else that was going on.

I saw them coming in on the other side of the restaurant….. Shrek, Puss n’ Boots and the Swamp Guard. I tried to remain calm as not to give it away, but it was difficult.

I started taking pictures. DC was smiling because he saw me with the camera, and that is what he does….. stops whatever he is doing to smile. He was unaware of anything going on behind him.

 

He was so surprised and excited when they made their way to him. He didn’t know what to do at first.  I was taking pictures with my phone. A waitress grabbed my camera from Doug and began taking pictures as well. The staff and customers seemed to be just as excited for him as we were!

 

They were wonderful, the staff and the characters! I couldn’t believe that they would do this for him! The characters stayed and talked with him for a good long while. He was in his glory!

They presented him with Shrek ears and made him an “Honorary Swamp Guard”. Teaching him the Swamp Guard Salute was also included. DC was so excited and happy that he even offered to share his precious bacon with Shrek. Of course Shrek had 2 swamp rats earlier so he was quite full already.

 

He had the best time with them.

He wore his Honorary Swamp Guard, Shrek ears for most of the remainder of the trip.

 

I still can not believe how these wonderful people went so far out of their way for DC. I mean, I only asked a simple question. I never expected any of this. This made his day – it made his trip!

I thanked everyone I could find to thank and went back the following morning to thank the people I could not find the day before.

I tweeted, Facebooked and wrote an e-mail to Gaylord Palms. I wanted to be sure they were aware of the wonderful staff they had working in their resort.

Then, just to add the cherry to the top of this sundae…… I found these on my camera when we arrived home……

 

 

 

I can’t ever thank these people enough…………….

Ornament Hunt 2014 (and one Elf on the Shelf)

As I wrote in an earlier post (There’s no elf on our shelf), I do not do the whole elf on a shelf thing with DC, but last year we did start a new tradition of hiding and hunting for the numerous ornaments he receives each year before Christmas.
Last year being the trial run, I discovered he was just not noticing them as I assumed he would, so I began writing notes each time I hid an ornament. By Christmas he was getting the hang of it. This year I decided I would not only leave a note, but also a clue. Coming up with clues that he would understand was not easy and I have to admit my clues need work – below is our 2014 Ornament Hunt –
Complete with some pretty terrible clues – so don’t judge.

#1 Elsa hidden on the shelf of his DVD cabinet

frozen

 

There is a new ornament for you to find.. I hid it very well. If you should find it after you watch your movies, please give me a yell”

(he thinks I’m funny, anyway)

 ~That was the last attempt in rhyming for the season.

#2 Mary Poppins in the silverware drawer.
poppins

There is a new ornament to be found: Just a SPOONFUL of Sugar helps the Medicine go down. What do you use to help the medicine go down?”

#3 Baloo and Mogli on the towel hook

Mogli

He found Baloo and Mogli before I had the chance to leave a clue….

#4 Tinkerbell in the drawer

Tink

Oh No! Tink is stuck in the bedroom drawer!”

Yes, I thought I was just giving this one away. I thought so anyway…. As it turns out, because I didn’t mention an ornament in the note – he read it, put the paper down and went about his business. When I finished laughing, I explained that he had to look for his new Tinkerbell ornament.

#5 Sully hanging on the lamp

photo1

 Sully must be very “BRIGHT” to attend Monsters University. Where is it Bright in the living room?”

It was right here that it finally clicked. He read it (no mention of an ornament) thought about it and without me having to help, looked around at the Christmas tree lights, moved on to the lamps and found it.

—–Progress, Progress, Progress——

#6 Ruby Slippers on his bedroom shelf

angel

 

Cordelia clicked her heels three times in Pylea “There’s no place like home” she said.

It didn’t work.

Who went to Pylea to save Cordelia?”

He understood the question and gave me an answer – he was really beginning to get this. The only prompting I had to give was “Do we have Angel and Lorne somewhere in our house?”

(Unfortunately, our Lorne lost his head after his last fall from the shelf, but in keeping with the theme of the hunt; he did actually lose his head temporarily while the gang was in Pylea. He just had much better luck getting it back in Pylea than he did in DC’s room)

#7 An Elf of a shelf

buddy

Your ornament is

L O S T

so take a look around to find Buddy the Elf sitting on a shelf.

Where is the L O S T shelf in the living room?”

First, let me say – There is an elf on the shelf.

Secondly, I thought this clue might be a stretch for him. That DVD set has been on this same shelf since the show went off the air. This in no way means that DC notices it at all, but I gave it a shot.

Believe it or not, he went right to it. I am always amazed by the things he notices when I think he is paying no attention at all.

#8 Brady Bunch on the wall

bb

 

Till the one day when the lady met this fellow And they knew it was much more than a hunch, That this group must somehow form a family. That’s the way we all became the Brady ‘Bump’.

Where does Doug do the ‘Brady BUMP’?”

This one needs a little it of an explanation….. Doug sings this song, he’s done it for years. He sings the Brady Bunch theme but replaces Brady Bunch with Brady Bump and crashes into the wall.

– insert my eyes rolling –

DC thinks it is the funniest thing in the world and asks him ‘crash and repeat’ – over and over again.

“One more time!”

– insert eyes rolling and head shaking –

This happens to be the spot where the singing and the wall where the crashing takes place more often than not.

-insert,  as DC would say, “Mom, put hand to face” (hand on forehead, as in OMG), shaking head, heavy sigh and eye roll-

Again he went right to the spot. Once it all clicked, it clicked!

#9 TARDIS on the clock

who

 

Dr. Who is a T I M E Lord. – He and the TARDIS traveled through T I M E hoping for a spot on your tree.

Where can we find the T I M E?”

I am 100% positive he would have gotten this with the clue I left. I hid this ornament while he was out with Mrs. H. at his theater volunteer Christmas Party and forgotten about it by the time they arrived home, when I would have guided him to the clue before he had the chance to run around putting his things away.

He spotted it and went over to take it down. I said “Oh, you didn’t get to read the clue”, so of course, he put it back. I told him he didn’t have to put it back, but all things in order; he went and read the clue out loud, then went back to claim his ornament.

#10 Princess Merida in the TARDIS

brave

Princess Merida must be very BRAVE to take a ride with DR. WHO, ROSE and K-9 in the TARDIS.

Where is ROSE and the TARDIS?”

I realized that I did not think this one through completely – He just received a TARDIS ornament a few days before. I was sure he would head straight to the ornament now hanging on the tree. I was correct in my assumption, he went to the tree. After a little bit of prompting “But where else do we have the TARDIS? Where is Rose and K-9?” , he did find it.

I still felt he should still have a few to just happen upon as he did or as I tried to have him do last year, hidden in places that I knew he would go eventually.

Trial run of 2013, over. I am declaring the 2014  Ornament Hunt a success!

Just to update you on my friends’ progress this year. As I said, if I am not going to do it, they very well better be creative about their elf!

~ Yes, it is hard to be my friend……..

Year 2 of  “The harassment of *Al” – my constant badgering to hide elf in a Rice Krispies box. (I’d seen photos, I e-mailed, texted and showed him photos and nothing). Finally he decided he would use this as one of his Elf setups. Geez!

He texted his wife while she was out shopping and asked her to buy Rice Krispies. She replied that she had Crispy Rice. He told her he wanted the real Rice Krispies. She asked why and he said he wanted to make Rice Krispie(s) treats. (Why he wouldn’t tell her what he really wanted them for, I do not know).

She bought Crispie Rice.

I told him that I had just seen a photo of someone using a Crispie Rice box, I had actually e-mailed it to him a few days before, but he said it would not be the same.

The following morning when I was getting DC’s breakfast ready it occurred to me that I had a box of the ‘real’ Rice Krispies, so I took the cereal out and brought him the empty box.

krispies

And there you have it!

*Geri has also done a few very creative things with Derek the Elf, but still being in the training portion of the program, she has not gotten the hang of remembering to take a photo of everything Derek gets himself into.

~Maybe next year

Not so “literally speaking”

We all know that DC is very literal (see Literally Speaking)  in his speech and way of thinking. Aside from his black and white,  no-gray-area way of communicating and understanding and his just one mumbled word responses, his manner of speaking is at times very formal, for lack of a better word. Much of his language stems directly from the many books he reads and movies he watches.
He calls the cabinet a ‘cub – board ‘ <cupboard> (emphasis on ‘board’), not because he thinks it is funny,  because that is what it is. That is what he’s learned from his books.

For example, when he knows I happen to have a Friday off from work and he wants me to come to lunch at his program –

“*Vickie, would you be so kind to join me for lunch on Friday at <insert the name of his program>” ~ the whole name please, not the Acronym used by the everyone else ~

 –  (*yes, he calls me Vickie from time to time. In his mind, he is an adult and that is what he should do. It does not bother me in the least. Last night, for some reason, it was “Ms. <Last name> and that is fine too)

He does ask me from time to time, what a word means, not that he will incorporate the word into his vocabulary, he would just like to know. Every once in a while he will make a connection with one word and other in his head. I am always in awe when he manages to do this on this own. This seems to be happening much more lately.

For many years “Wonderful” was his choice when he had a good time or liked something very much. He has started replacing “Wonderful” with “Terrific”. Not a huge deal, but he figured out that it means the same thing and it is a little less formal than “We had a wonderful time”.

A few weeks ago, I was telling DC that we were out of something, I don’t remember what it was at the time, but it was something he was expecting to have for dinner. I explained that we were all out,  it was my mistake, I didn’t know we were out (things tend to go over better with him when it is my fault :).

His reply???

“No problem”

NO PROBLEM!!!!!!

I have never heard him use that phrase, ever. Somewhere along the line he figured out what it means and used it appropriately.

A while back DC and I were having a movie night. DC was waiting in the living room to watch “Maleficent” and I was in the kitchen getting the pizza ready ~ actually I was in the kitchen bleeding all over the counter trying to find a Band-Aid. Not an easy task with “Mr. Band-Aid” in the house – but that is beside the point. Searching for a band-aid box that was not full of band-aid wrappers but no band-aids and mumbling under my breath –  from the living room I heard; “Gee, I wonder what Vickie is up to”.

GEE????

IS UP TO ???

I wrote that one down as soon as DC brought me a Band-Aid from his hidden stash.

In my last post you may have heard “We have to get moving”.

GET MOVING  instead of  we have to go!!!!

I asked him to help me open a Peanut Butter jar – he tried, but he could not get it to open either.

“It won’t budge”

BUDGE?????

Let’s not forget the day he was “in sympathy” for sneaking chips. There have been so many more, but you get the picture. It throws me a little bit every time he comes out with a new one, but it is exciting. It shows me that he is paying more attention to what goes on around him and he is listening to much more than he lets on.

There are still many literal, black and white moments and DC still very rarely refers to himself as “me”.

Recently at a Best Buddy walk, both of his Buddies asked him where he got the Star Trek shirt he was wearing…..

“DC’s room” 

 

 

 

 

Lessons learned on the “Santa Train”

 

train

(Code word of the day: “Supplement”)

The other day, I read a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Autism-Mom. The post, FEELING THE MAGIC was about her son questioning the existence of Santa Claus. Give it a read if you have a minute, it is wonderful.

As parents, we all come to this crossroad sooner or later. It is a sad milestone. It begins to be difficult for them to understand and believe in something that they can not see. Sure we see Santa and his helpers quite often during the months before Christmas, but never during his Christmas Eve deliveries. This causes our children to question his existence. Why can’t they see him? Why must they be asleep? As I explained to DC, Santa has a job to do. If he took the time to stop and visit with the children in every house he delivered gifts to, even with his magic, he would never be able to finish in time to get back to the North Pole to celebrate Christmas with Mrs. Claus and the elves.

It took DC many years to understand Santa. He knew he would receive gifts, but the whole idea of Santa was not something that could be understood easily. His not understanding, did not stop Santa from leaving him gifts.

When it finally clicked and he did finally get it, he was all in! Now that he does understand, he would never and will never question his existence.

The one problem was, DC ‘s Christmas requests have always been small (in size) gifts. Santa could very well bring him 20 DVD’s, but the pile of gifts (visually) would be very small. DC doesn’t understand cost/size vs. number of gifts. He expects a very big pile of gifts. So, over the years I would always “supplement” the Santa pile with gifts of my own.

Being a single mother for more than 20 years now, I am the sole “supplement-or” (yes, I know that is not a word) of DC’s gifts. Which means I not only “add” to what Santa brings just to make the pile look more exciting for DC, but I also, of course, have to buy additional gifts from ‘Mom’. This gets to be a little bit overwhelming for me, not only in cost, but in trying to come up with other gifts ideas to make that “pile” he needs to see.

Now that DC is an adult, and the items he asks for are smaller still, it is becoming harder and harder to “supplement” Santa’s  gifts, to make that Christmas gift pile”,  I did finally have to confess to him that some parents, with adult children, have to help Santa out a little bit. Santa has so many little children to deliver packages to on Christmas Eve, that it is hard for him to get to everyone. So now that the is an adult, Santa only delivers his stocking and the rest of the gifts in his pile are from Mom. Santa always did a pretty good job with his stocking, by the way. He was fine with this. As long as Santa is coming, even just to bring a stocking, all is well.

Coincidentally, the morning I read the post from Autism-Mom, was the day that DC, his best friend, BB, BB’s Dad, Doug and I were going to take a ride on the Santa train.

Earlier this week, BB had just been told by one of his other friends that he was too old and should not still believe in Santa. He was upset by this, but BB knew better. He knew he was correct in believing.

Both DC and BB were very excited about riding the train. They always have the best time when they are together anyway.

stst2

Santa boarded the train a few minutes into our trip. He received more hugs that he expected, I imagine.

BB mentioned to Santa, what his friend had said to him that week. Santa took a little bit of time to talk about it with BB and DC.

(This video below is very poor quality – it was dark on the Santa train, but you can hear some the conversation and Santa’s advice to BB)

“Those who don’t believe, well they are the one’s that are missing out” ~ Santa Claus

So there you have it, straight from Santa’s mouth. BB felt much better. He knew it before but now he really knows that he was right all along…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WhatsYourSuperPower……. Proofreading, it is NOT!

typo

The latest instagram Hashtag #WhatsYourSuperPower,  really has nothing to do with the content of this post. The hashtag did get me thinking about the Superpower that I sorely lack – Proofreading……

As is probably apparent to anyone that reads my blog, I have a hard time proofreading. I mean, I proofread until I can’t stand the content anymore, but still I can’t seem to get it right.

I realized that one of my problems with proofreading is that as I am “reading”, I am not really reading the words on the screen, I am “reading” in my head what I know the piece is supposed to say, instead of really paying attention to the words that I actually typed on the page. I know I do this, but still halfway through I realize that I really haven’t paid a lot of attention to what I typed, so I start again and again, and again…..

It had to be about 10 years ago when I began to realize that my fingers are not typing what I am spelling in my head. The biggest offender is the word “because” – I do not know why. I reverse the letters, every single time. Knowing this, I make a conscious effort to spell it out in my head while typing but it makes no difference, it comes out “becasue”. There seems to be some sort of disconnect between my brain and my fingers. I do this with many words. Fortunately, spell-check will pick up words like “because”, but what about the reversed letters in words that are also words when reversed – like “Trial” and “Trail” (yes, I found that one after the post was published)? Spell-check does not help me there.

-Let’s talk about the anxiety of writing a post entitled “Because, Because, Because, Because………BEEEE CAUSE” – what was I thinking???

I believe I have always had some sort of disconnect in the spelling area. As a kid and still to this day, I can not spell out loud. In school, I always did very well on spelling tests, because I was writing the words, not spelling them out loud. When DC asks me to spell a word for him, if it is more than 5 or 6 letters, oftentimes I must write it. I seem to just lose my place when spelling out loud.

Then there are the little mistakes that drive me crazy – yes I do know the difference between “to” and “too”, but one might never know this after reading one of my posts. I am continuously going back and correcting things when I re-post or re-read a post. I tend to find them more easily in older posts because I haven’t just written them and I can read the words on the page instead of reading the words in my head. Also, when I decide to change a sentence or two while proofreading, there always seems to be a word from the original sentence left in the text. – sigh

There are many other blogs that I love and as much as love them and the content, I often find myself looking for their typos just to make myself feel better.

I have yet to find any……

Annoying……..

One might wonder why, with all of my typing, spelling and fleeting attention span issues, I would choose blogging as a hobby. Just another thing to drive myself crazy? Maybe. But I really do enjoy it and I hope that you can overlook the typos, missing words and letters.

Due to the fact that my mother does not like to go on-line, I put all of my posts into a photo book for her (you know, the books you can make through Snapfish or Photo Book Pop). I am technically just copying and pasting the text into the text areas of the page. The type in the text area is so small that I can not really read what is going in there, word-wise until it is published, I just hope for the best.  Finding a typo in an old post that has already been added to one of the books, just makes me crazy! My initial reaction is to correct it and reorder the entire book, but that could begin to get really expensive, so …….

there they will stay, forever in print – mocking me………

 

 

 

The ice, the grass and other things…..

warning

(Warning: Crabby Post Ahead)

December, although only a week and a half in, is not looking like it is going to earn a spot on my favorite months of 2014 list.
At work we have an annual shutdown around the holidays. Unfortunately the shut-down week is not always the same every year, we have to wait for the announcement.
Doug, DC and I normally plan our vacations 9 months to a year ahead of time. This year we opted to go a few weeks earlier than we have in the past. Because our plans would fall around shut-down time, we chose the logical week for a holiday shut down; the week of school vacation.

– insert buzzer sound here –

Well we chose incorrectly.

This year our shutdown week is scheduled the week before school vacation. This means that I will now be out of the office for two weeks. So needless to say I am getting a bit panicky trying to get my day-to-day work done, while thinking ahead and trying to get all of the other things done that are due the week I will be away. Of course, being the end of the year there are additional, time-consuming items that need attention, and now a few extra meetings thrown in for good measure. Not to mention a day out of the office next week for a doctor’s appointment that they strategically scheduled right in the middle of the day so going in beforehand and/or going back afterwards is almost not worth it.

Not to say that panicked is not my normal state of being – My friend Bill (not a work friend; an autism Dad) would get a kick out of the fact that I could always admit to my – “panic first and think about it later” mindset. He, having worked with me on a few projects and in a few groups, knows this to be very true. He always thought it funny that I knew this about myself but still could not seem to control it. But this month just seems to be worse. There are a number of other things that I won’t get into, but the end result is that I am really not looking forward to our vacation right now, at all.

So yesterday, we had an ice storm. Why not? Now that DC is no longer in the school system, bad weather is just leads to very confusing mornings. When school was cancelled or delayed, it was cancelled or delayed, there was nothing to figure out. If cancelled, I could bring him to work with me. If delayed, I knew what time the bus would arrive and I could call work to let them know what time I’d be there.
It is not as easy now.
DC’s work program rarely closes and because his transportation and work are two separate entities, we really never know what to do. Will the car arrive at the regular time, will it be delayed? If so how long? If the roads are bad, do I really want the car to arrive at the regular time? If I choose to delay, will they even be able to come as it is a livery service on a schedule with other passengers to pick up and drop off throughout the day? I try to avoid calling the dispatcher, who doesn’t let me get a full sentence out before screaming at me as if I was insisting that they come in any sort of weather, I certainly am not, I just need to know all or some of the information above. During his rant, he never fails to “mention” that he was once “THE STATE COMMISSIONER OF TRANSPORTATION” – I wonder if he can have that tattooed on his forehead, or if he introduces himself as such to random people he might meet. I usually end up having to call back once or twice to get all of my ‘sentences’ out (story of my life).

Then we have DC’s “storm anxiety” – I have to watch the weather, just in case his work program is cancelled or delayed. It is also helpful to see the school cancellations listed to give me some idea about the conditions in the town where he works as well as the town where I work.

DC spent the morning stimming, yelling out random words, running to the door to look outside and yelling:

“No ‘wea-ver’! Two Five”
“No ‘wea-ver’! Two Five”

After many, many years of watching “Angel” every weekday morning on TNT (channel 25), this is the channel we must watch each morning. Even though Angel was removed from their line-up a few years back (BOO! I say) and replaced with “Smallville” (aka “Somebody Save Me” in DC-speak) which does not seem to hold his attention the way Angel did, the TV still must be on Two-Five in the morning.

I tried to salt the sidewalk so he could make it to the car when it arrived, but I have issues with both of my arms, which happen to be acting up more than usual lately so I only made it part of the way down the sidewalk.  I decided he could walk that far and cut across the lawn to the car when it pulls into the driveway. This did not go over well with DC at all!

“No grass!”

The driver began pulling into our driveway about a year ago. Originally she would pull up right in front of the house. But DC would not walk across the 2 foot strip of grass between the sidewalk and the road. He would walk right up to where the car was parked, turn left to follow the sidewalk out to the driveway and then a right onto the road to walk back to the car. He did the same thing when it was the school bus sitting in front of the house.

So not only was I ruining his life by watching the weather, now he had to walk across the grass!

“No ‘wea-ver’! Two Five”
“No ‘wea-ver’! Two Five”
No grass! No grass!

The driver called to say she wouldn’t be leaving the station for at least another half hour. She had already spoken with Tonya. DC and Salli (Tonya’s daughter) ride in together and Tonya, knowing I needed to get to work said I could drop DC off at their house to wait. As much as I didn’t want to be two hours late for work due to everything that was waiting for me there, and as much as DC would have loved to go there under normal circumstances,  I just couldn’t throw another wrench into his morning routine by bringing him to Tonya’s. The driver laughed,  as she’s seen him in “storm mode” before.

The wait was good for him, it gave him a chance to read, edit and calm down. He needed that. He was back to his old self by the time the car arrived and I walked across the lawn with him, so everything was just fine on that front.

Did I mention that just two nights before, I had finally convinced DC, after 2 years,  to sleep in his bed instead of on the couch? I could have predicted a storm as soon as he agreed. We’ll see what happens there. Storm=Couch. Just because the storm is over does not mean he won’t be “feeling very nervous about this”.

And just a side note- hasn’t it been said that stress could lead to weight loss? I mean, there should be some sort of silver-lining for me during this miserable month, right?

It looks like I’ll probably miss that boat as well.

Did somebody say “Christmas shopping, card mailing?” – No?

I didn’t think so…….

 

December reruns

Last week I wrote about DC anxiously awaiting “Peter Pan Live” on Thursday.

His anticipation of the production led me to remember the previous years production of the “Sound of Music Live”, which in turn led to a repeat my Sound of Music post from December 2013.

(By the way, DC’s review of “Peter Pan Live” – “Two eyes closed” – he fell asleep after only an hour… take from that what you will).

The “Sound of Music” post contained photos of a Sound of Music sing-a-long we attended with friends. That and the fact that DC had been watching “Grease” this weekend, led me to the “Grease – Sing – a – Long” we also attended.

Because everything is related and this is the way mind works…….

From March 2014:

“We Go Together……..

…like Ramma lamma lamma Ka dinga da dinga dong
Remembered forever like Shoo-wop sha whada whadda Yippidy boom da boom
Chang chang changity chang shoo bop That’s the way it should be
Waooo Yeah!”

GreaseSR

These Kids Rock! They really do!

That was originally all I intended to say. I wasn’t really considering writing about this, but……. as I was thinking about just how proud I am of each and every one of them and just how much DC and his friends just rise to the occasion and always have a great time together,  I just had to mention the fact that not only does DC have the best friends anyone could hope for…. I do as well.

As I wrote in an earlier post:

***I am fortunate to have friends that are willing to go all out for something that DC loves so much; we all took a line from that song and dressed appropriately for the Sing-A-Long. He and his friends had a ball and I think after the initial embarrassment, my friends did as well.***

DC and I are very fortunate to have these people in our life. I am not just talking about the sing-a-long we just attended, but in general, these people are just the best, THE BEST!

DC and his friend BB love Grease. BB is a long-time fan, DC became a fan because of him. When I heard the local theater had scheduled a Grease Sing-A-Long, I knew we just had to attend. Everyone agreed to attend and then I proceeded to harass them for months about costumes. I will admit that I can be a little bit high pressure when it comes to costumes (just a little bit), but I am sure they expected it and if they didn’t, they put up with me anyway. I am sure the last thing the adults wanted to do was to wear a costume again (Halloween is over, can’t we get a break?) but they agreed.

But…. did they expect to be wearing toilet paper rolls? I doubt it. I think they actually thought I was joking when I first brought it up. They quickly realized that I never joke about costumes so the “roll collection” process began. BB and his Mom, Donna were not able to attend the Sound of Music event with us, so as BB was looking forward to wearing his “Grease Garb”, I don’t think Donna realized that she would also be in costume as well until about a week before the event.

We collected our toilet paper and paper towel rolls and headed to Tonya’s house one Sunday afternoon. Tonya being the craft genius and glue gun wizard, was able to figure out just how to do this.

Talk about “Above and Beyond”; she sat there for hours gluing toilet paper rolls to foam strips! All that we had to do was supply our heads.

Glue Gun Wizard

They looked fantastic! They were unexpectedly comfortable too!

We headed out to the theater on Thursday night in single-digit weather – not wanting coats to muck up the costumes – it was COLD! We had 10 seats in the first row of the upper orchestra section. Coincidentally a friend of mine had the rest of the seats in that row! Together, we made the best row of costumes there (my opinion only, but I firmly believe this to be true 🙂 ).

We sang, we danced, we had many, many photos taken of us as a group and of us with strangers. We were interviewed and photographed by the local news paper. Those under the delusion they would not be noticed, were wrong.
The “kids” had so much fun singing, dancing and using the props provided by the theater. They just ate up all of the attention they were getting.
The adults had a great time, singing and dancing as well..

except for this guy……..

Except this guy - Grease Sing A Long - Beauty School Drop Out

Those still under the delusion of anonymity, had that shattered when they were plastered all over the news on Saturday.

The Theater's Facebook Page

The Theater's Facebook Page

As the show was on a Thursday night and not on a weekend, we weren’t able to go out to eat in full dress afterwards – this had to be some consolation to the adults anyway……

But all joking aside, we did have a wonderful time. I can’t say enough about all of them.

Walking around in public wearing toilet paper rolls….

the truest measure of friendship….

Thanks to all of you!

*Thanks to my friend *Al at work, who always comes up with a fantastic photo of our outings

“Mom, we have to see Peter Pan Live on ‘Firsday’ – Please!”

DC loves Peter Pan. (If you are not yet aware of this, please read “Second Star to the Right and hang a left”)

He has just discovered that NBC will attempt a live performance of  Peter Pan (Peter Pan Live) this Thursday night. It is already written on the calendar so there is no way out of it. I was required to add it to the calendar the moment he saw the commercial.

Last year, I suffered through “The Sound of Music Live” and I was really hoping to avoid “Peter Pan Live” this year. Yes, I knew it was coming but I remembered that they released the “Sound of Music Live” DVD in time for Christmas last year, so yes, I pre-ordered the “Peter Pan Live” DVD this year because no, I don’t want him to miss out on it altogether, I just really didn’t want to have to watch it myself as he watches his DVD’s in his room or on his laptop. My plan really didn’t work out all that well…. he saw the commercial.

So come Thursday night, you know where we will be.

In anticipation of Peter Pan Live, and in remembrance of  ” The Sound of Music Live” –  here is my post from December 2013:

How do you solve a problem like……

My Favorite Things

One of DC’s favorite musicals – and there are plenty- is the Sound Of Music.

He was introduced to the Sound Of Music by his cousin Erica, who gave him his first copy of the movie in VHS form when he was 6 or 7. I never imagined he would watch it, let alone learn every word to every song, but he did. It is still one of his favorites.

He has the DVDs, the soundtrack, the album insert,  books (which were not easy to find), Christmas ornaments, music box,  he dressed as “Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes”

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes.

for the “Sound Of Music Sing-A-Long” a few years back….. you get the picture…… he loves it.

Girls in white dresses...... Snowflakes.... Silver White Winters/Melt into Spring...... Favorite Things.....

***I am fortunate to have friends that are willing to go all out for something that DC loves so much; we all took a line from that song and dressed appropriately for the Sing-A-Long. He and his friends had a ball and I think after the initial embarrassment, my friends did as well.***

A few weeks ago I found myself being tortured with “The Sound of Music Live”**. My fault! I told him it was on! I then regretted that for the next 2 hours.  DC informed me over and over again that this was “Not Julie Andrews”, but he loved it anyway.

While I was trying to endure this version, my mind went back to DC’s time in the school system and more specifically, the mainstream portion of his time there……

….this is the way my mind works……

I am all for inclusion and mainstreaming, IF it is done properly. In Dc’s case, there were many battles over many years because it was not.

Just a few examples: His history class was studying Apartheid and DC was coloring pictures of Africa.

His history class was studying Nazi Germany and he was sent off to watch “The Sound of Music” (because that’s a true and complete picture of Nazi Germany) .

Inclusion? –  I don’t think so! I understand that these concepts were somewhat out of his reach, but if nothing else, shouldn’t this inclusion include social interaction with peers and some sort of participation in and with the class? How did they call this “Inclusion” when he was coloring in the back of the room or in another room watching an entirely different movie?

As we were watching “The Sound of Music Live” and singing “Edelweiss” together – as is mandatory, I remembered one teacher, years ago; his second grade teacher, Mrs. Fair* . She went out of her way to not only include DC in the class BUT, believe it or not, to also include the entire class in activities that DC enjoyed. She made him a part of this class. He was not an observer or off on the side lines, he was a part of the class.

I can give you many examples of the things she did to achieve this, but the one that came to mind that night was; She was aware of DC’s love for the “Sound Of Music” and his love for “Edelweiss”. She had the entire class learn all of the words to the song and once or twice a week, she and DC would lead the class in song. He loved it!  She made sure he was part of this class, she made sure his “inclusion” was not just one- sided, she made sure he was comfortable with his classmates and better yet, they were comfortable with him. He just adored her.

It is unfortunate that she was the exception and not the norm. He still remembers her all these years later and the Sound of Music is still one of his “Favorite Things”

 

*Name changed

**Yes, he is getting the DVD and soundtrack for Christmas, but he can watch/listen to it in his room