Week One of The World Shutting Down

Please understand that I am in no way complaining about or making light of the situation, but his blog is about autism; my son’s autism and the way his mind works and deals with things and that is just what I am going to write about.

The first hurdle was my birthday (Friday the 13th). Restaurants, stores and just about everything else were still open but I did not feel comfortable taking him “out to eat”.

As you know, my birthday is only important as a stepping stone to his birthday and as an opportunity to go out to a restaurant. He was very upset by this so we got his favorite foods and cake and celebrated at home. He was eventually all right with this – there was cake…

Overall, DC had a happy “Mom’s Birthday”. My day, on the other hand…

Friday the 13th sure lived up to it’s end of the deal …..
(sucky day… that is all)

The two boxes of Girl Scout cookies that came home with me after work yesterday…. gone.
#WhatCanIEatNext

Not going anywhere on my birthday lead to “a bit of” anxiety over his upcoming birthday. His birthday this year, was supposed to be spent in Pennsylvania for one of his Winter Guard shows. We were going to spend the weekend and do “DC stuff” (he always loves a hotel).

 

2019

DC was really looking forward to this show this year. We were going to stay over (nothing is better than a hotel and his “spot” at the desk for his computer and everything else) and make it his Birthday Weekend (the show was scheduled right on his birthday). Of all the things I had to tell him were cancelled, I think this was the toughest for him.

The small bright spot (for me, anyway) was that other people were cancelling all of these events and it wasn’t me keeping him from attending.

It is not my fault…..

DC is good about washing his hands before he eats and after using the restroom but he does not really understand why. It’s a rule. He does not understand germs (because he can’t see them) and keeping his hands away from his face.

He has gotten pretty good with all of the additional hand washing and fortunately I am here to remind him to keep his hands away from his face.

Because I don’t know what to call this so DC understands, I find myself calling what’s going on “The Sickness” so he understands that it’s more serious than a cold or the flu (and so he doesn’t blame me that everything is closed or cancelled). But every time I say it I feel as if I’m in some apocalyptic TV show…
The Phage?
The Pulse?

We have been going out for walks quite a bit.

Boredom Buster: This is how we walk with friends. Meet there. No handshaking, fist bumping or hugging and keeping a few feet of personal space between. We walked 3.1 CharityMiles for Special Olympics.

 

It was not until Tuesday when I had to go into the office, that he fell apart. He is having a hard time keeping track of things and the schedule keeps changing.

You know he was having a hard time when he completely missed St. Patrick’s Day!

He hasn’t mentioned St. Patrick’s Day at all this year; possibly due to our calendar having so many things crossed out that he didn’t notice? #HappyStPatricksDay

I began writing his schedule for the next day down for him the night before so he could relax and stop obsessing about it, but of course, things change and to him it was like I lied.

I was supposed to go into work again on Friday, but it was changed to Thursday – that threw him into another tailspin. (Also, I was supposed to have a Dr’s appointment and get my taxes done, both of which had to be cancelled due to the schedule change). The “writing things down” stopped working at this point.

His program finally closed officially yesterday – he hadn’t been going, but now I could tell him that THEY closed.

Not my fault.

The highlights of his week have been walking and grocery shopping. Explaining the shortage situation to him has not been easy but seeing the shelves empty did help him to understand it a little bit more – some of the time….

 

Some substitutions had to be made when grocery shopping…. Doug insisted that fake Cheerios are just as good as real Cheerios (we ALL know that is not true)
DC, this morning after trying them (he did try them, so I’ll give him that)
“Different Cheerios” and went to the kitchen to dump the bowl.
“Gross-nest” (DC-Speak – grossness?)
#StopHoardingCheerios

While we are on the subject, if any of you ever happen to meet or run into Doug, please let him know that Tootsie Rolls are not anyone’s idea as a substitute for chocolate. NOT EVER!

We were able to find the real Cheerios the following day. Phew!

We had to buy “rainbow carrots”. Let’s see how this goes..

Surprisingly, “Rainbow Carrots” went over just fine.  It was one of those “trying new foods” situations when you put whatever it is in front of him and don’t make eye contact – You all know what I mean. NO EYE CONTACT!

 

 

The “Social Distancing” police was out in full force today. With umbrella in hand to point at offenders, I was drunk with power. We walked 3.0 Charity Miles for Special Olympics.

 

A good indication of just how bored DC is just being home every day is his willingness to walk in the rain. No complaining. No screeching “I’m getting all wet”. He was just happy to be out and also able to see his friend, BB – at a distance, of course.

DC heading out the door for a hike with Mrs. H.
Me: No hugging. Don’t touch benches or anything…
DC: And don’t get lost.
#ThatGoesWithOutSaying

Still, every once in a while the entire situation gets the better of him and it takes him a while to calm down again, but HE is coping much better that expected. I am really proud of him and I tell him so daily.

#ConversationsYouNeverThoughtYouWouldHave
Firstly: I don’t have a lot of room here, so I don’t buy things to have “just in case” – which put us at a disadvantage when the hoarding began. Secondly: I don’t buy alcohol unless I know we are having company or something, but this was a sucky week at home and ever suckier at work so I asked Doug to pick up some wine on his way over….
Doug started to open the wine for me..
Me: Wait! Wash your hands!
Doug: I was going to open the wine and then wash my hands.
Me: But I already sanitized the wine bottle and now I have to do it again!

 

Tomorrow is DC’s 29th Birthday (Twenty-Nineteen in DC speak). He has resigned himself to an at-home celebration and the promise of a birthday dinner out in one of his favorite restaurants after “the sickness” is over. I hope that is good enough for him. It makes me sad that he can’t have the birthday he wants. There is no one who loves their birthday as much as this guy.

Unfortunately this lead to the constant inquiry as to when the “Sickness will be all done.”. He wants a specific date to put on the calendar and I can’t give him that.

I wish I could.

“WE HAVE TO GO TO THE MONEY MACHINE!”

 

DC called me from his van to tell me he is “Going Home Noooowwwww” as he does each day. The conversation is always the same (and I know you have read this before as he rarely goes “off script”)

DC: Hi Mom

ME: What are you doing?

DC: Going Home Noooooowwwww

ME: Did you have a good day?

DC: Great

ME: What did you do today?

DC: Dog Bones Room

ME: What did you do?

DC: Rolling the dough.

ME: Anything else?

(Usually the answer is “no”)

DC: Tied the bows

(I imagine this means he packaged the dog biscuits)

ME: Oh, that’s cool. Okay call me when you get home.

DC: (loudly) WE FORGOT THE MONEY!

ME: What money?

DC: We forgot the money for lunch.

ME: (knowing that he had enough money for lunch) What do you mean? Did you pay for your lunch?

DC: Yes.

ME: Are you sure?

DC: No.

ME: Did you have money for lunch?

DC: WE HAVE TO GO TO THE MONEY MACHINE!

ME: DC, what happened to the money you had?

DC:

ME: Did you pay for your lunch?

DC: Yes! HAVE TO GO TO THE MONEY MACHINE!

ME: Are you telling me that you need more money for next week?

DC: Yes!

ME: Don’t worry, I will give you more money for lunch next week, like always.

DC: Next week.

ME: Are you sure you paid for your lunch today?

DC: Yes! Have to go to the money machine.

I still have not determined whether he paid for his lunch or not but his wallet was empty and there was no note from the staff.

As you already know, communication is always difficult for DC. This is the way he communicates and I usually have to figure out what he really means.

We’ll start with notes from the staff:

When DC began attending this program, he did not receive a receipt for the lunch he purchased every day. Apparently they did not give receipts (it is a restaurant open to the public so I don’t know why that was the policy).

One day, probably a year in,  he came home with a photo copy of a guest check in his talk-book.

Nothing else.

No note.

Just a copy of a guest check.

Great, I thought. They started giving receipts.

The next day he came home with a copy of a guest check and an envelope that had “DC’s change from lunch today” in his talk book.

Nothing else.

No note.

Just the guest check and the envelope.

I didn’t know why they were sending his change home in an envelope instead of putting it in his wallet (I still don’t) but assumed that he had forgotten to take it at lunch time and they put it in an envelope to make sure he got it later.

The following day I received a rather nasty note informing me that DC did not pay for his lunch two days before. I asked them just how a person was supposed to know that? (DC was not as conscientious about his lunch money back then). They sent a guest check home WITH an envelope of change, who would come to the conclusion that he did not pay for his lunch. Apparently after attending this program for over a year, they hadn’t figured out that DC does not tell me anything. They Have to tell me.

Moving on to the money: Back then he was new at carrying money, so I only gave him enough for lunch that day. Sure, there were a few times when I forgot. Now that I know he won’t lose it, I give him 20.00 for the week. His lunch is 3.73 per day so I knew he had enough. Not to mention that over the last few years he counts it every night and says “Yay! I have _____ dollars left” so I can I tell him that it is enough for the rest of the week. (We will talk about his money counting skills at another time)

“I forgot” or “We forgot”: This does not necessarily mean that we forgot something (but sometimes it does). Some of the time when he says “I forgot” or “We forgot”, it means that he wants to do whatever he is saying we forgot.

“I forgot to buy band-aids” usually means that he wants to buy band-aids.

Just as “I can’t find ______, anywhere” usually means that he is going to get whatever he says he can’t find.

“I can’t find my CD anywhere” means he is going to get a CD for the car.

But, there are times when he really can’t find something.

It’s hard to know which is which.

(He can communicate what he wants most of the time, but it is difficult for him to tell me about something that has happened or something that is bothering him or anything other than his wants.)

I can only assume that he was worried about having zero bills in his wallet. Normally they use the bills and the change to pay for his lunch so at the end of the week, he comes home with a dollar bill or two in his wallet. This week they must not have bothered with the change and just used the bills every day. There were no bills left and he was nervous about that.

I suppose I will find out next week if for some reason he did not pay for his lunch, but in the meantime we will be heading for “The Money Machine” so he is all set for next week.

 

*****

For anyone that might be new here: “I tell stories, most of the time; single individual stories about this or that. Some may be written with humor and some may come across as “Oh, look at the cute thing DC did or said” (he does crack me up at times) but my object is always to make people understand how his mind works, never to “make fun of him”

It is difficult to explain “his” autism to anyone without resorting to 1000 examples and 1000 stories. So I tell 1000 stories to make clear that there are other sides to autism than the characters seen in TV or movies.”

He came up with a plan and carried it out.

 

Tonight DC put away his computer and began his bedtime rituals…

  • Moving his pile of 3 books  from “their spot” at “his spot” at the kitchen table, to their “bedtime spot”.
  • Moving his stack of papers from his kitchen chair “spot” to their “bedtime spot”.
  • Putting his DVDs away.
  • Taking off his “If I Need Help” dog tags and his medical alert bracelet.
  • Turning off the lights in the kitchen.

I asked him what he was doing as it was only 6:00 PM.

No reply; he just continued on with his night-time rituals.

I told him again that it was only 6 o’clock.

He was in no way tired or sick. He had just been “ice skating” and dancing around the kitchen and living room.

  • He went upstairs to brush his teeth
  • He came over to me and pulled down his bottom lip so I could see his brushed teeth.
  • He went to his room and got his pillows.
  • He went to my room and got mine and brought them downstairs.
  • He got out his blankets and his iPad and got into his “spot” on the couch and was ready for bed.

I was confused by all of this. Not to say that all of this isn’t the norm every night, but not at 6 o’clock unless there is a storm.

And then it hit me….

The last time DC slept in his room and not on the couch was Christmas Eve (because… Santa). The last time before that was Christmas Eve 2018. Earlier in the day we made a deal – or so I thought. He agreed to sleep in his room tonight. We talked about it for a good long time and this time I thought I made it easier for him to accept by compromising and telling him that for now, I will only ask that he sleep in his bed tonight. He could sleep on the couch the following night, an so on. We would take it one day at a time. (My back was/is screaming for mercy, but we’ll take it slow anyway).

He agreed.

Some backstory from 2018 – The Couch; Another Round:

When DC was young, he would come into my room when there was a storm and he was afraid. This did not mean he would calm down but once he tired of repeating the same few phrases over and over again, he would finally fall asleep.

He is  27  now (chronologically) and it is no longer appropriate for him to come and sleep in my room. He does not understand this because in his mind, the storms are just as scary as they were when he was young and quite honestly, developmentally, he is just as young as he was then. There is no good way to explain this to him.

So……  now during storms or when he hears a loud noise that might be a storm or fireworks or a truck driving by or a plane flying over head…… we sleep on the couch.

I have a sectional.

He sleeps on the chaise lounge (the bottom of the L)  and I sleep on the straight part.

He was trying to get out of the agreement he made to sleep in his room.

He assumed that if he just got everything together right after dinner, ignoring my “What are you doing”s, and just got himself set up and on the couch,  I would forget about our conversation and our agreement.

You know what? It worked.

If it had been his regular time to go to sleep I would have reminded him that he agreed to sleep in his bed. Although my aching back should have reminded me; the fact that all of this was going on so early and he seemed to be on such a mission to get all of his rituals done quickly, I was too busy being confused to remember our conversation earlier in the day.

Apparently DC had not forgotten.

Well played, DC. Well played.

Tomorrow, I will be ready.

(I do have to admit that I AM a bit impressed by his well thought out plan)

 

*****

For anyone that might be new here: “I tell stories, most of the time; single individual stories about this or that. Some may be written with humor and some may come across as “Oh, look at the cute thing DC did or said” (he does crack me up at times) but my object is always to make people understand how his mind works, never to “make fun of him”

It is difficult to explain “his” autism to anyone without resorting to 1000 examples and 1000 stories. So I tell 1000 stories to make clear that there are other sides to autism than the characters seen in TV or movies.”

 

 

 

The Christmas Countdown Continues

In case a refresher is needed (or if you don’t read the other blog), DC is officially on overload with his Christmas Calendar of Events.

“Mom, I am so excited for Christmas Eve with “Grandmother”
“Mom, I am so excited for camp party”
“Mom, I am so excited to go to “Straw-Bridge” with my friend, BB”
“Mom, I am so excited to go to Auntie Kim’s”
“Mom, I am so excited for work party.” 

I worry (it has happened) because sometimes he gets himself so worked up and excited for something that by the time we reach that date, he doesn’t want anything to do with it anymore.

~ Christmas, The Schedule and “Fam-a-LEEE”

When we left you, he was heading to his Auntie Kim’s house for Christmas with his Dad’s “Fam-a-LEEE”.

Over the next few days, three items on his “Remind Mom about Everything 176 Times a Day” list would be checked off.

He returned from Auntie Kim’s happy with some gifts. Fearing that DC’s gift would not arrive in time for her get-together, she had it shipped to our house. DC understood that and the gift arrived the following day.

(DC knows the theme song because I, having a bucket-load of useless information stored in my head, remembered it as soon as DC first discovered the show and sang it at him incessantly. I was surprised however to only hear music and not the song as he was watching season one. I discovered that they did not add lyrics until later seasons. It did not stop me from singing it over and over again)

The day after “Auntie Kim’s” we went to “Straw Bridge” with his friend BB and his parents. It was rather cold and windy but we all had a good time.

We took the route backwards (as we were told to do that last time we were there, to get to Santa before the line got out of hand), so our first stop was Santa.

DC asked for 17 Markers (That is NEVER going to get old for me)

After Santa we found Mrs. Claus (I’ll have to ask for her anti-aging secrets)

We stopped treats at Mrs. Claus’ Cookie Shop.

There was a bonfire and later the tree lighting…

Let’s not forget about the talking tree and a horse and buggy ride…

We met up with The Ghost of Christmas Present and DC was still curious about whether his beard was itchy.

It is not…

Monday came and so did the Camp Christmas Party…

“The events that I need endless “reminding” about are slowly moving into the “completed” column.
DC and *Salli at the Camp Christmas Party”

With Friday came the Work Party…

DC is ready for his work party. Originally this was on the list of things he was “so excited” about. It was on the “every five minute reminder to Mom” list….. until he found out that they were going to be serving pasta (he is NOT a fan). I haven’t heard one peep about it since. I did convince him that where there is pasta there is normally bread (he is a BIG fan) and surely desert, so he is a little bit more in the spirit.
(It is only over the last few years that he will eat pasta but he is still really not a fan)
#NoPastaPlease#JustBread

But…. there would be no bread.

No bread? With pasta and meatballs? No bread?!?!?

Santa made an appearance, though and DC asked him for…

Wait for it…

17 Markers (Sharpies, to be exact)

On Christmas Eve, Eve (DC gets a kick out of that) he announced:

Mom, I’m going to shave for “the place” (the restaurant on Christmas Eve)
He started shaving for Christmas Eve over a week ago. It keeps coming back.
(Time is complicated for him but this is also another way of making Christmas Eve part of the conversation).

Happy Holidays to all of you and here’s hoping that Santa does not forget those 17 markers!

(Oh! He received Toy Story 4 in the mail from a friend in California. Needless to say, he was thrilled but he also went and crossed Toy Story 4 off his list for Santa (the back up list on the refrigerator) immediately.

********

Edited to add:

If you are having trouble following our December posts because I keep bouncing from one blog to another, here they all are in something close to “in order” :

Christmas List Negotiations (aka 17 Markers)

Hey Santa, Don’t Pass By The Older “Kids”

Christmas Preparations – Wins and Losses

Christmas, The Schedule and ‘Fam-a-LEE’

The Christmas Countdown Continues

Still Counting The Days Until Christmas

The two above  cover the same time period in different ways 


And So It Was Christmas 

 

****

In case you are new here: “I tell stories, most of the time; single individual stories about this or that. Some may be written with humor and some may come across as “Oh, look at the cute thing DC did or said” (he does crack me up at times) but my object is always to make people understand how his mind works, never to “make fun of him”

It is difficult to explain “his” autism to anyone without resorting to 1000 examples and 1000 stories. So I tell 1000 stories to make clear that there are other sides to autism than the characters seen in TV or movies.”

 

DC and BB Do Christmas in EUReKA

 

Just a little bit of ‘cross-posting’ for the Holiday Season from our EUReKA podcast.

DC and his best friend BB co-host the two EUReKA Christmas Episodes.

DC has co-hosted a few times with me in earlier seasons. It was difficult for him. I normally had to play the episode silently for him and ask him specific questions about what ever scene we were talking about and then still I sometimes did not get a response and had to prompt a response out of him. There were also times when I just had to go back and record me asking him questions, getting his answers and then insert them into the already recorded episode. Although he wanted to do it, he found it difficult to sit through an entire recording session.

When BB is with us, DC seems to be able to sit through the entire recording session, without watching the episode on mute. He answers questions and even adds his own two cents with out prompting. I am really proud of both of them. (BB does have his own on-line radio show, Wbjb101’s Show so talking “on mike” is not new to him, but talking about an episode of a TV show surely is). They both did a bang up job!

********

The first episode, aired after the mid-season finale in the original run of the series.

Our podcast episode was published on August 21, 2019 in the same position.

S4-E10 O Little Town

Vickie is joined by DC and his best friend BB for one of DC’s favorite episodes of Eureka – O Little Town – a Christmas episode of course.

We had fun recording this but it did get very noisy! So please try to ignore all of the background noise and enjoy the episode.

“Sheriff Carter relates a Christmas story in which the defensive field malfunctions trapping everyone in town for the holiday. So Fargo throws a big party, unaware that the town is shrinking. All from a quest for the perfect fruitcake” ~ IMDB Description 

If you are a first time watcher, we suggest that you watch the episode BEFORE listening to this pod cast.

LISTEN HERE:

Or Listen at Podbean

Download: here

Also Available on Google Play

****

Episode number two originally aired at the end of the 4th season. Our podcast episode was published on November 20th in that same position.

 

S4-E21 Do You See What I See?

Vickie is joined by DC and his best friend BB for DC’s favorite episodes of Eureka – Do You See What I See? – a Christmas episode of course.

We had fun recording this but it did get very noisy! So please try to ignore all of the background noise and enjoy the episode.

Sheriff Carter and Allison Blake are secretly planning the perfect holiday surprise for their kids, but a mysterious kaleidoscopic wave of color crashes over Eureka, leaving the entire town and its inhabitants animated.

Listen Here

Or Listen at Podbean

Download: here

 

Also Available on Google Play

Theme Music: That Positive Feeling (Loop) – Track

By: alumo

Standard License

****

Happy Holidays from DC and BB (and me too!)

 

 

Hey Santa, Don’t Pass By The Older “Kids”

Thanksgiving weekend is usually DC’s big step into the Christmas Season.

We normally go away for Thanksgiving and the weekend after. Once Thanksgiving Day is officially over, Friday and Saturday are usually all about Christmas.

There are a few standard stops that we make each year, one being the Santa Express or the North Pole express.

We like to arrive at least an hour before our appointed departure time so that DC has enough time to spend in the train station.

He writes and mails his letter to Santa at the special post office.

There is always a Princess or two walking about . This year he met Princess Poinsettia. If you ask DC about her he will tell you that she is the princess of the Christmas Flowers.

She came by and spoke with him more than once. They had a good long conversation about his upcoming train ride. She told him all about the Elf training and made sure he knew to ask for a report card when he got on the train (which we did).

She spent a lot of time with him and he was in his glory.

He enjoyed meeting the many characters that were wandering about.

He particularly loves listening to the singers singing Christmas carols.

He was excited to see that the singers were the same singers as last year. They were fabulous with him last year and even asked to have their picture taken with him (and we all know how much DC LOVES to have his picture taken)

Last year, 2018

 

He found them first in the Gingerbread House room and he followed them around, so much that I felt like a stalker. He followed them out to the main room where he requested “Deck the Halls” and sang along to Deck the Halls and every other song that they sang. They were almost apologetic when they had to take a break and put the regular piped in Christmas music back on.

When they came back to play some more, he was right there. They told him that they remembered him from last year (of course they didn’t but he was happy to believe that they did). DC actually asked, on his own (he usually has me do it) for a picture with them. He absolutely loves listening to them and I must say, they both have the perfect personalities to be doing just what they are doing.  He just adores them.

 

It was finally time to board the train. We found our seats. He met some elves. They gave him his elf hat and his elf-in-training report card, just as he and Princess Poinsettia discussed earlier. And we were off.

There was singing, dancing and joke telling along the way and DC passed every Elf Academy test.

It wasn’t long before we spotted Mrs. Claus. Now, DC is a big fan of Mrs. Claus. Sometimes I think he’d rather see her if given the choice between the two.

As Mrs. Claus made her way through the car, stopping at every single seat (as you would and as she always does), Doug moved to an empty seat so as not to block access to DC and so there was space for me to get a photo.

A couple of years ago I was convinced that Mrs. Claus was out to get me because everywhere we went and everywhere DC met her, she gave him a bell. Mrs. Claus did not do that on this day (Thank you, Mrs. Claus), she stopped and chatted with DC and we took a picture. She continued on her way stopping at every seat including the one where Doug was sitting by himself and said hello.

Did I mention that he loves Mrs. Claus? Did I?

He saw that Santa was heading his way and he was getting more excited by the second. He could hardly contain himself when Santa was at the seat right across from us because he knew he would be next.

Santa finished up with the kids in that seat, turned around, looked at DC and walked right past to the seat behind us.

If you could have seen the look on DC’s face…. He was crushed.

As you can imagine, I was not having any of it and YELLED “Excuse Me” to which Santa turned around and looked at me, still oblivious to the fact that DC may have wanted to talk to him so I gave him one of my well cultivated death stares and motioned toward DC.

He said “Certainly” as if he was doing me a favor and took a photo with DC. There was no conversation; he just posed for the picture with DC and went on his way.

If I had not been able to get his attention before he finished the last two seats behind us, he would have been off in another car and DC would not have seen him at all.

DC was happy to get a picture with him at least.

Now listen, I understand that DC is a “bit” older than your average passenger but seriously, we are on THE SANTA TRAIN.

He was sitting there wearing an elf hat and holding his elf-in-training report card.

It is not up to you, Santa to decide who might be too old to want to talk to Santa. Not up to you at all.

You stop at every single seat regardless.

I have to imagine that this was one of Santa’s fill-in helpers and not the real Santa because the real Santa would have known better than to skip over any one.

I think Santa may need to call all of his helpers back to the North Pole for a little Awareness training.

I’m sure DC, since passing his elf training would be happy to help.

But seriously, the rest of the day was fantastic and I can not say enough about all of the other people working both in the station and on the train.  They went over and above any expectations we might have had.

Unfortunately, with Santa being the “main event”, the slight was that much more disappointing. How long does it take to stop and say hello? I was not expecting any special treatment nor do I ever ask for special treatment. I do expect that he be treated in the same manner as every other passenger on the train.

That is not a lot to ask.

As I said earlier, Mrs. Claus was good to me and did not give DC a bell….

The Elves…..

They gave him a bell…

It is a full week later and he is right at this moment ringing it behind my head.

The Elves; they were also very nice to him so I can forgive the whole bell thing 🙂

 

 

Christmas List Negotiations


DC has his list for Santa posted on the refrigerator:

Bandaids
18 Markers
White Paper
A Christmas Story Live DVD
Dolls

We are away for the Thanksgiving weekend. As always, on the day after Thanksgiving, we visit his favorite shops in the area.

In one shop, DC asked to buy markers. We have been trying to limit his sharpie shopping to the dollar store since he would and could buy 18 markers every week and that, along with his bandaid obsession gets expensive.
Since he was not having much luck finding a certain nutcracker book that he wanted, I told him that he could buy the markers. They were not your average sharpie, so they were a little pricey.

On the way to the register DC mentioned “Santa List”.
I was looking around wondering where he was seeing a Santa List.

Me: Where’s the Santa List?

DC: On the Re-fridge-a-later’

Me: Oh! The List at home?

DC: Yes, 18 markers.

So really, right here, I was not being sarcastic or kidding with him; I really thought he was telling me that we could take the 18 markers off of his list at home since he was buying them then. Which, I admit was not something I expected DC to say.

Me: Oh, so we can take the markers off of your Santa List at home?

DC: No! Buy markers and keep 18 markers from Santa on ‘re-fridge-a-later’ at home.

He was bargaining to get these new markers and keep the 18 markers on his list at home.

First it never occurred to me that he would even think that this one purchase would cancel out his Christmas list entry. I mean, he gets markers and some of the other items in his list on a regular basis throughout the year.

It was also different that he thought about MAKING SURE he would still receive the “list markers” if he bought the markers he had in his hand.

I laughed and told him it was fine. The lady at the counter laughed too.

Bargaining over – he bought his markers.

Later that day, we stopped quickly at a Dollar store.
Every trip to the Dollar store in DC’s mind, means markers and bandaids.
He bought one red sharpie and two boxes of bandaids. There was no questioning his list and he was not worried about bandaids being removed from said  list.

Jokingly due to the marker negotiations earlier I asked:

“Does this mean we will change the markers on your list from 18 to 17?”

DC: Yes!

????

I told him I was just joking but he stuck to his deal.

Since buying the one red sharpie, whenever he mentions his Christmas list and the items on that list (which is often), he lists 17 markers instead of 18.

Was the negotiation all about the fact that the package of markers he wanted were not actual “sharpies” and he wanted to be sure that he would still receive 18 sharpies?

I don’t know.

But it IS new that he understood a negotiation.

There are time when I do negotiate with him or try to have him make a choice:

“You can order dessert but you can’t have a snack on top of that when you get home”

He says okay and then seems shocked when I say “no” to a snack when he asks for one later.

Maybe this means he is beginning to “get” making choices other than what color shirt he wants to wear or something like that?

We’ll see if this is the case the next time he has to choose between dessert and a snack.

Just for the record… I am sure that the sharpies he wants come in a package of 18.

Just like when he begs to get “just one” sharpie in the grocery store when he knows that the particular store we shop in does not carry single sharpies. He knows he will end up with at least a three-pack.

He knows what he’s doing…

***

Edited to add: After writing this post (on my phone, so pardon the typos), we went to ride the Santa Train, where DC writes (another version) and mails his list to Santa.

He wrote 17 markers.

The very first thing he did when we arrived home from our weekend away was to edit his “refrigerator list from 18 to 17 markers.

The Many Meanings of “Sorry”

I wrote the post below six years ago. If I were keeping track, I would have to imagine that “Sorry” would most certainly show up in the top 5 on the list of DC’s most used words.

Some of the time, he IS sorry for something or another, but as I have said and written many time before, he really does not understand what “sorry” means. For him it is just something to say when he thinks he’s done something wrong, when he going to do something he shouldn’t and for many reasons that really don’t have anything to do with being sorry.

This morning, I, (“grace”) tripped over the coffee table, broke a coffee cup – spilling the contents on the way down and smacked my arm on said table hard enough so it was bleeding. DC told me he was sorry. In cases like this, I am never really sure if he thinks he has done something or is he reversing things and really thinks that I should say that I am sorry for falling over the table. Or… as a speech therapist once told me, is it his go-to word that he uses when he does not know what else to say?

I explained as I do every time he says he is sorry for no reason, that he did not do anything and there was nothing for him to be sorry about.

I have come to realize over the years that “I’m sorry” is not only used for the reasons above and in the post below. Sometimes he uses it as his way of telling me that something is bothering him….

The other morning his iPad broke, right before he was ready to leave for work.

I know you all just stopped breathing (as did I) in anticipation of the fallout.

Surprisingly, the fallout was minimal. He was upset but calm. For once, he did not apologize for something that was not his fault. He listened to me as I told him I would have to buy him a new one but he could use his phone or my “tablet” in the meantime.

He repeated all of that back to me a few (or more) times before he left. I, in turn had to verify all of what he was repeating and repeat it all again to him.

His transport arrived and he left.

Just like that.

My phone rang on my way to work. It was DC (Spontaneous phone use… Yay!).

I said “Hello” and the first thing he said was:

“I’m sorry”

I did not know what he was sorry for now. I thought that maybe he did something at work and he was now telling on himself – something he does often.

But, no. When I asked him what he was sorry about he said:

“No sorrys. Mom will buy new iPad.”

He was worried about the new iPad more than he let on before he left. It was bothering him. He wanted to talk about it again.

Saying “I’m sorry” is his way in to a conversation about something that is bothering him.

The iPad was bothering him,

He wanted to talk about it.

He called me (again, spontaneous phone use – I will take it)

“I’m sorry” helped him to start the conversation.

 

 

“Happy?” – “Sorry” – What’s next?

Yes, John Lithgow is "Happy"

Yes, John Lithgow is “Happy”

Years ago, DC and I were out doing errands. We had to have stopped at 3 or 4 different stores, which at the time was very difficult for him. By the time we got to the Health Food store, he was so out of control that the cashier saw fit to stop the line to try to educate me about just what vitamins, etc. I should be giving him to combat his ADD – (Holding up a line of customers to give me advice in front of all those customers, was just what I needed). I informed him that my son had autism, not ADD, but thank you very much!

On the way out, I said “I am not very happy today”. That one single comment led to years of DC asking everyone if they were happy. He did not have many “words” under his belt at the time, but he did manage to ask everyone he met if they were “Happy?” (Can you say “guilt”?)

* We have an autograph on a golf card from John Lithgow making it clear to DC, that yes, he is “happy” (see photo).

Eventually he stopped asking people if they were happy and the “Happy” question was replaced with “sorry”. I am sure this is my fault as well. Somewhere along the line I must have told him to say he was sorry for something and there it began.

He is sorry for absolutely everything! Partially because he believes an “I’m sorry” will get him out of anything.  He thinks that saying “I’m sorry” even when he doesn’t know what he is sorry about will get him out of anything or at least get me to stop talking. When he really wants to bring it home he will move on to: “I’m ‘ter-bly’  sorry” or “I am soooooo sorry”. He will even throw in a “Can you ever forgive me?” (movie line) when he really thinks it is necessary.

He says he is sorry, WHILE he’s doing something he shouldn’t, and will continue right on doing whatever it is because he is covered, he already said he was sorry. Or he will say he is sorry when he is about to do something he knows he shouldn’t. He is covered- he already said he was sorry!

He says he is sorry when he asks a question and the answer happens to be “no”. In his mind, “no” is a negative even when it is just an answer to a question. I have tried to explain all of this to him but as much as I try to simplify there are just some things he will never understand.

Don’t get the wrong impression; he is not upset or anxious when he says he is sorry. It is just a word to him. He does not constantly think he’s in trouble. It is just something for him to say….. over and over again.

A few days ago he somehow figured out from one of his books that the word “Sympathy” in a way means “sorry”. So on that day, DC was “in sympathy” for sneaking chips.

I think I might like that better.

 

Belts…. They Worked Until They Didn’t

I saw a post a while back from my friend over at Our Adventures with Riley  (the actual post can be found below) and thought what a great idea this would have been back when DC had such huge issues with wearing a belt. Not only did he just not like wearing them but he had a hard time buckling and unbuckling them.

Then there was the placement of the holes. They were never quite right, so years ago we moved on to cloth/canvas belts. Those seemed to work a bit better. No pesky holes to deal with.

He went a good long time using the cloth belts with no issues.

Then one day, he could not figure out how to put one on. He was trying to start from the side pants loop which meant when he was finished the buckle would be on his side instead of in front.

I don’t know what caused this confusion, but it continued. Every day he came and stood in front of me so I could see if he was starting his belt correctly. Sometimes he did and other times, not.

Along with the new processing issue of putting on the belt, he seemed overly obsessed with the belt being as tight as possible, which again was never an issue.

(He had lost some weight so I believe that all of this is related to the weight loss and his belts feeling different on him)

Because there were no holes and a D-ring instead of a buckle, they were loosening up after a few minutes and we now had the constant, all day adjustment of his belt – over and over again.

Soooo, we went back to the buckle belts. I found a few that had holes everywhere so it didn’t matter which hole he used.  He could wear it as tight or as loose as he wanted. He wasn’t limited by the placement of the holes.

Now that we had all of that squared away, he seemed fine and no longer had any issues with his belts. He was happy with his belts for so long of a while that when I saw the belt post from Riley’s page I did not think anything of it, other than it would have come in handy way back when we were having belt issues.

Speak too soon, much?

Recently he developed another issue.

The overlap.

The excess after his belt was buckled, HAD to either go only as far as the next belt loop or it had to reach the second belt loop. There was no in between. If it went out past the first loop he would pull his belt tighter and tighter until it reached the next loop.

And again, there was the constant, all day long adjustment of the belt. It got to the point that the adjustment of his belt was holding him up during every portion of his day.

I tried cutting a few so the excess was just long enough to reach the first belt loop, but I had to be precise in my measurements and some belts just can’t be cut.

I remembered and I went back and searched for Riley’s belt post and ordered a few.

It took a while to get the belt on him and it will take a while for him to be able to put them on himself because they are  different.  But I was more worried about the reaction of WEARING something different than I was in him learning to put it on.

When I got the belt adjusted and on, DC’s first word was “Amazing!”

That was a good sign.

He didn’t take it off and wore it the rest of the day.

Another good sign.

We are still working on him learning to put it on himself so at this moment in time, he alternates between the new “Buckle-less Belt” and the one that I was able to cut exactly to reach the first belt loop.

Progress.

Happy Halloween – Sing it with me… “It’s Raining Again”

 

DC does not like the rain.

He just does not.

When he was younger, it was just the rain he did not like but now, in his mind – rain leads to storms so there is no tolerating the rain at all any more.

I remember taking him to a birthday party when he was younger. One of the activities planned was a water balloon fight. Getting wet without a bathing suit on was always an issue, but we were instructed to wear bathing suits.  After a lot of explanation, I thought he’d be okay with it.

Unfortunately it was raining when we arrived.

It was summer. They were already in bathing suits.

So why not have the water balloon fight?

Why not, you ask?

You have to understand that to DC, rain means hurry to the car, or out of the car and into the house so you don’t get wet. Or hurry anywhere you are headed to or from so you don’t get wet. Run into the store, so you don’t get wet. Baseball is cancelled because it is raining. Cross country is cancelled because it’s raining. Outdoor activities are cancelled because it is raining.

So you don’t get wet…

Because it’s raining…

We don’t walk around in it and we certainly don’t go outside to play in it! There are no gray areas.

In case you were wondering….

It didn’t go over well.

This year we were expecting high winds and rain for Halloween (and we got both).

Now, I am not one of those people who think that Halloween should be cancelled and rescheduled when bad weather is predicted. This is strictly a “DC” issue and I was a little bit concerned.

I talked about it all week.

He looked nervous each time we discussed it but he still wanted to go Trick-Or-Treating. I told him not to worry, we will use umbrellas.

During the monsoon part of the afternoon on Halloween Day, I ran around town trying to find some of those clear plastic rain ponchos for him and his friends. (You NEVER wear coats or jackets over a costume! It’s a rule. Look it up.) But because I did not think ahead, there were none to be found any where.

Fortunately the rain calmed down and stopped for a little while when we were ready to go to *Candy’s house for dinner with her and *Sally before we all went out Trick-Or-Treating together.

They had their dinner and a few treats and off we went.

I had been poured on many times already that day when I was out looking for ponchos and earlier when I went out to look for an umbrella to match his costume (yes, I did) so I was over trying to stay dry at this point.

We were pretty lucky for the most part.

We had some rain.

We had some wind.

 

But fortunately not all at the same time.

DC went from “I’m getting very nervous about this” to (insert excited voice) “Happy Halloween! Thank you” and back many times over.

We did not visit as many houses as we usually do but they all came back with a good amount of candy, mostly from people trying to get rid of their overstock due to the smaller than usual weather-related turn out.

I would have been surprised if DC had opted to skip Halloween due to the weather, but one never knows when rain is involved.

It all worked out and the 3 of them had a great night.

(I think the 3 Mom’s had fun too)

In true DC fashion; when it’s over, it’s over.

In the car on the way home, he obsessed about changing the calendar to November and when he did:

“Mom, I’m so excited about Thanksgiving”

over and over.

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

***

Our 2019 Costume “Parade/Wrap Up” can be found here.

 

 

2019 Halloween – Merlin from The Sword and the Stone