2016 Top 5 Posts, #2 1/2 – But does he know……

The following post was not written in 2016. It was written two years ago. I am including it as part of my “Top 5 Week” because it actually received more views this year than it did when it was originally posted. I also have a post banging around in my head that runs along this line, so I decided to give it it’s rightful place in the line up.

Two years later; I still really do not know…..

But does he know……

Lost in thought NY

I’ve been asked quite a few times –  twice just this past week, if I have ever told DC that he has autism and if so how did I approach the subject. Most of the questions came from mothers with children that are just beginning to or do already realize that they are different from their classmates and friends.

To be perfectly honest, I really do not think that DC is aware that he is different – I do not know if this is a good thing – at the moment I am going with – yes, but I really do not think he sees any differences between himself and other ‘men’ his age, or anyone for that matter. I really do not believe age is a factor in anything he thinks about or notices. I don’t think age means anything to him at all.

That being said, it is never perfectly clear just what he might understand and what he does not. I really do not know what goes on in his head at times. I Know that just because he doesn’t seem to notice or understand, does not always mean that he doesn’t. Going on the small chance that he may actually know that he is different… yes, I have told him. I have told him many times, since he was very young.

We don’t have “sit down and talk about it” sessions because he becomes overwhelmed with too much information. He needs examples, he needs to see something. We also can not  talk about it too often – when we talk about anything too often, it makes him anxious – he thinks something is wrong.  I never want to give him the impression that anything is ‘wrong’ with him. He doesn’t need that.

I have to take the opportunities when they come. Because he is very visual, I try to approach the subject when we are watching TV or reading something that happens to have a character with Autism. The first time I brought it up to him, we were watching TV.

I remember starting out by pointing out the character.

“DC, do you see that boy?”

“yes”

“He has autism. Do you know that you have autism too”

“yes” (he answers “yes” to just about everything)

“Do you see the way he flaps his arms? Who else does that?”

“You” (pronoun confusion – ‘you’ instead of ‘me’)

“Autism means you and the boy may think about things a little bit differently than Mom and some of your friends. Can you say ‘Autism’?”

“Autism” (usually I can type his pronunciations, but I can not type his pronunciation of the word Autism)

We’ve gone through this scenario many times – arms flapping – loud noises – whatever happens to be going on with a character or story.

We talk about it when we participate in an Autism Walk or fundraiser. We talk about which of his friends have autism. I can not get into too much into detail with him, I just point things out as they come up – a character, a fundraiser, his friends….

I point it out to him when he is watching his sign language sing-a-long DVD’s. I explain to him that his autism made it harder for him to speak at first (he was non-verbal until he was 7), this is why he went to speech therapy with Liza for so many years.

He was always very happy to see Liza every week. He worked hard.

(He LOVES Liza)

Before he learned to speak, he used sign-language.

He was always happy to see Sandi for sign. He worked hard with her as well.

(He LOVES Sandi)

Speech therapy and sign language were “good” things in his mind – fun time. This can be directly attributed to the insight and resourcefulness of both Liza and Sandi and the way they choose to make the process fun by working from his interests and incorporating them into his sessions. I am 100% sure that Liza can recite the “Wizard of Oz”, in every variation to this day. They made him happy.

We’ve discussed* it many, many times over the years and in many different ways, but for a boy who remembers everything, he can not give me the word “Autism” at any other time.  Unless I ask him to repeat it for me, he does not seem to even remember ever hearing the word. This just strengthens my belief that he really does not understand any of it. He does not know that he’s different and for now, that is fine with me. My goal here is not to make him feel that he is different.

So why do I continue to talk about it?

On the chance that he does recognize this now or later on, I don’t want him to wonder and not be able to communicate the question to me. This isn’t the sort of question he would ever be able to communicate.

And though I am relatively sure he does not understand, it is possible one day he may understand, or partially understand, but over and above all of that, if he were to hear “Autism” or “Autistic” elsewhere I want to be sure he doesn’t think it something that is “bad” or “wrong with him”.

I don’t and will not harp on it – I don’t feel the need to have those long heart – to – heart flowery discussions about it. He is happy, he knows he is loved. I will continue to mention it from time to time when the occasion arises, just so the word is recognizable to him and just in case he should ever wonder. If there comes a time when it seems that he might need to know more then I will try to explain it a little more in-depth or try to come up with a different way to explain it to him. For now, he seems to be just fine knowing what he knows and that is really all I want.

I wish I had a better answer for the people who asked…

Have I told him?  – Yes.

But does he ‘know’?

I may never know for sure….

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2016 Top 5, #2 – Understanding Death Is Not Like a Disney Movie

My second most popular post in 2016 about understanding death and dying. Not an easy concept for DC to grasp.

Understanding Death Is Not Like a Disney Movie 

My step father passed away this week. DC adored his Grandpa and the feeling was quite mutual. When I had to look for a few old photos for the service, there were two that I was determined to find. The first was of DC on a bike with his Grandpa running along side him, holding him up.

IMG_4258

The other was from my brother’s wedding when DC was about 5 or 6. The photo was from the hotel room before the wedding. I was standing off to the side and there was DC and his Grandpa, in their tuxedos standing in front of the mirror, arms out to the side as if they were saying “Taa Daa! Look at us”.  As I searched and searched for this photo I remembered standing there watching this moment between them in front of the mirror and thinking I was about to take THE cutest photograph that had ever been taken, when my mother walked right through the shot. I had missed the moment with the camera. I realized that this photo that I had been searching for existed only in my head. All these years later, it is still right there in my head as if it was yesterday; as if I had actually taken the picture.

I was not sure how to explain his Grandpa’s passing to him. He has never lost anyone close to him before. I was not sure that he would understand. I have tried many times and in many different ways to explain this to him in the past, when people we knew had passed on,  but I was never sure that he really understood.

In his Disney movies, characters may die but usually someone comes along to give them a kiss to wake them up. (I truly believe that this was part of the reason that DC insisted on kissing him on the forehead more than once at both the wake and the funeral a few days later). As many times as I have tried, I have never come up with a good, understandable way to explain this to him.

That afternoon when he came home from work I made the attempt to tell him what had happened before we left to go to my mother’s house. I told him that Grandpa had been very sick and he was very old (I added that so I would not frighten him into thinking that if he got sick, the same thing would happen to him) and because he was just so sick, he died. I specifically did not use the phrase “passed away” so as not to confuse him with different words.

“Do you understand what that means, DC?”
“Yes”

“Grandpa loved you very much and he did not want to leave you. It was not his fault”

“Yes”

“This is not like your movies. He will not be able to come back, like Snow White. He died like Cinderella’s father. Do you remember that Cinderella’s father did not come back after he died? I am sure he wanted to come back but he couldn’t.”

“Yes”

His Grandpa had been suffering from dementia for the last few years and was well past the point of recognizing anyone, so DC really had not seen him in quite awhile. He would ask for him every once in a while when we went to my mother’s and Grandpa was not sitting in his chair. We explained to him that Grandpa was sick and was in his room at his new home where there were lots of people who could take care of him. I am not sure that he ever really understood that and I sometimes got the impression that DC just thought that Grandpa was upstairs taking a nap.

Both DC and I had birthdays in March. We had planned more than once to get together with my mother but she was sick herself for a good few weeks and did not want to infect DC or I with whatever she had. When we arrived at her house that night she brought out the gifts that she had been holding on to. DC opened his card and as he always does, read the card in it’s entirety out loud. Then he reached the signature and read: “Love, Hugs and Kisses, Grandma and Grandpa”.

He stopped and he looked at me. I could see he was a bit confused.  Then he said “Grandpa ‘is’ died”.

Honestly, I did not expect that. He really had been listening, paying attention and possibly understanding a little bit of what I had explained to him earlier. I told him that Grandpa wrote the card on DC’s birthday a few weeks back and that he was very lucky to have this card that Grandpa wrote for him before he died.

IMG_0794

(Of course, Grandpa was too sick to really sign the card, but DC really did not need to know that)

This seemed to make sense to him and he no longer looked so confused.

On the way home that night, I mentioned to Doug how I still was not really sure that DC understands what death means and how much I really want him to understand it.

Doug asked me why it is so important to me that DC understands. Why couldn’t  I just let him believe what he believes, the way he believes it and leave it at that?

I understand that thought process. I understand wanting to protect him from anything bad or sad, I do. So why is it so important to me that he does understand?

“Because one day I am going to die and I want him to understand that it is not something one wants to do.  I never want him to think that it was my choice. I NEVER want him to think that I just left him.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding Death Is Not Like a Disney Movie

My step father passed away this week. DC adored his Grandpa and the feeling was quite mutual. When I had to look for a few old photos for the service, there were two that I was determined to find. The first was of DC on a bike with his Grandpa running along side him, holding him up.

IMG_4258

The other was from my brother’s wedding when DC was about 5 or 6. The photo was from the hotel room before the wedding. I was standing off to the side and there was DC and his Grandpa, in their tuxedos standing in front of the mirror, arms out to the side as if they were saying “Taa Daa! Look at us”.  As I searched and searched for this photo I remembered standing there watching this moment between them in front of the mirror and thinking I was about to take THE cutest photograph that had ever been taken, when my mother walked right through the shot. I had missed the moment with the camera. I realized that this photo that I had been searching for existed only in my head. All these years later, it is still right there in my head as if it was yesterday; as if I had actually taken the picture.

I was not sure how to explain his Grandpa’s passing to him. He has never lost anyone close to him before. I was not sure that he would understand. I have tried many times and in many different ways to explain this to him in the past, when people we knew had passed on,  but I was never sure that he really understood.

In his Disney movies, characters may die but usually someone comes along to give them a kiss to wake them up. (I truly believe that this was part of the reason that DC insisted on kissing him on the forehead more than once at both the wake and the funeral a few days later). As many times as I have tried, I have never come up with a good, understandable way to explain this to him.

That afternoon when he came home from work I made the attempt to tell him what had happened before we left to go to my mother’s house. I told him that Grandpa had been very sick and he was very old (I added that so I would not frighten him into thinking that if he got sick, the same thing would happen to him) and because he was just so sick, he died. I specifically did not use the phrase “passed away” so as not to confuse him with different words.

“Do you understand what that means, DC?”
“Yes”

“Grandpa loved you very much and he did not want to leave you. It was not his fault”

“Yes”

“This is not like your movies. He will not be able to come back, like Snow White. He died like Cinderella’s father. Do you remember that Cinderella’s father did not come back after he died? I am sure he wanted to come back but he couldn’t.”

“Yes”

His Grandpa had been suffering from dementia for the last few years and was well past the point of recognizing anyone, so DC really had not seen him in quite awhile. He would ask for him every once in a while when we went to my mother’s and Grandpa was not sitting in his chair. We explained to him that Grandpa was sick and was in his room at his new home where there were lots of people who could take care of him. I am not sure that he ever really understood that and I sometimes got the impression that DC just thought that Grandpa was upstairs taking a nap.

Both DC and I had birthdays in March. We had planned more than once to get together with my mother but she was sick herself for a good few weeks and did not want to infect DC or I with whatever she had. When we arrived at her house that night she brought out the gifts that she had been holding on to. DC opened his card and as he always does, read the card in it’s entirety out loud. Then he reached the signature and read: “Love, Hugs and Kisses, Grandma and Grandpa”.

He stopped and he looked at me. I could see he was a bit confused.  Then he said “Grandpa ‘is’ died”.

Honestly, I did not expect that. He really had been listening, paying attention and possibly understanding a little bit of what I had explained to him earlier. I told him that Grandpa wrote the card on DC’s birthday a few weeks back and that he was very lucky to have this card that Grandpa wrote for him before he died.

IMG_0794

(Of course, Grandpa was too sick to really sign the card, but DC really did not need to know that)

This seemed to make sense to him and he no longer looked so confused.

On the way home that night, I mentioned to Doug how I still was not really sure that DC understands what death means and how much I really want him to understand it.

Doug asked me why it is so important to me that DC understands. Why couldn’t  I just let him believe what he believes, the way he believes it and leave it at that?

I understand that thought process. I understand wanting to protect him from anything bad or sad, I do. So why is it so important to me that he does understand?

“Because one day I am going to die and I want him to understand that it is not something one wants to do.  I never want him to think that it was my choice. I NEVER want him to think that I just left him.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easing my “Elf Envy” with ornaments and clues….

DC is most definitely what I would call the ultimate ornament collector. In 2013, I decided that I would start hiding them around the house to make receiving new ornaments more interesting and to ease the “Elf Envy” I was feeling by not participating in the whole Elf on the Shelf thing.

He did so well with the random hunting of ornaments by the end of that season that last year I decided to make it even more interesting by leaving clues instead of just hiding the ornaments for him to happen upon. It took a little while for him to get it, but he did and I think he had some fun with the hunt.

Below is a post from 2014 – our first attempt at hunting ornaments with clues. We have already begun our hunt this season and at this point, really all I have to say is “Here’s a clue” and he knows there is an ornament to be found somewhere.

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

The Santa Train revisited….

train s

December, is the time for reruns. I love reruns, especially holiday reruns. The following is a post from December 2014 about the important lesson DC and BB learned while riding the Santa Train.

******

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep on Tryin’

try2

Semi-typical morning….

DC: “Mom I need help! Something is wrong!”

I run upstairs – due to his recent-ish development of seizures, I run a little bit faster with a bit more panic than I used to.

Me: “What’s wrong?”

DC (angrily) : “Nothing wrong!”

Me: “Bud, you called me and said something was wrong and you needed help. You have to try to tell me what is wrong.”

DC: “Nothing wrong!”

Me: “If you try to tell me I can help you”

DC: “Nothing wrong!”

At this point he is beginning to clench his jaw and arms to the point where his whole body is shaking. I go through the list of everything that would normally set him off in the morning:

  • Did he find a pin hole in his sock?
  • Did he get a drop of water on his shirt?
  • Does he not like the shirt?
  • Is there a tag I didn’t remove?
  • Did I move something in his room?

“NO! NOTHING WRONG!”

Me: “Okay do you want me to leave?”

DC (getting more angry): “YES!”

I take all of two steps towards my room to get ready for work when I hear “Mom, come here. I need your help!” I turn around and am right in front of the door when he decides to slam it in my face.

Me: “DC, that was very rude. You called me to help you and you slammed the door.”

DC: “I’m sorry, Mom ‘for rude’. I will never be rude again!” and he opens the door.

Me: “Okay, Please try to tell me what is bothering you and I can try to help you.”

DC (still clenching) “NOTHING BOTHERING YOU!”

I went though the list of every aliment I could think of; headache, stomach ache, etc…..

DC: “NO! Nothing wrong!”

This whole back and forth continued for another 15 minutes (one might wonder why I either just make it or am late for work every day). He wanted me there but then he didn’t, so I decided to just sit there with him without asking him any questions at all. After a while he calmed down and was back to his happy, smiling self. Whatever was bothering him was not bothering him anymore. After 24 years of trying to figure out every little thing, I had to chalk this one up to not ever knowing what the problem was. Morning issues seem to end up in the unsolved column more often than ‘other time of the day’ issues.

Ready and waiting for his transportation to arrive he said,  “You are the best Mom I ever was” – something I never tire of hearing; exactly the way he says it.

But then….

“Mom, I try so hard”

Whether this was:

  • one of those random phrases that he tends to throw out that does not mean what he thinks it means but often is shockingly  appropriate to the matter at hand
  • or mixing up his pronouns meaning I was trying hard to figure out what was bothering him
  • or he knew exactly what he was saying and was saying exactly what he meant…..

I opted for number 3. The fact of the matter is that he does always try very hard. As much as I have the need to figure it all out all of the time there will always be days when I can’t. As much as he would probably like to be able to tell me, there will always be those days when he can’t ~ and that’s all right. We will both keep on trying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Stories

It has been another one of “those” weeks. A “fluff” piece usually goes hand-in-hand with one of “those” weeks (lately, anyway).

Below are some “short stories” (statuses) that have been posted on my own and my public Facebook pages – too short to qualify for a blog post, although many have turned out to be the inspiration for an official blog post. You may have seen a few of these before, probably not all though.

This is one of those posts that I put together and save to post later when we are away or when I am really busy and really don’t have the time to write .Like the “Blog Title Series” (Series? Yes, there’s more), they are very often off topic or “fluff”. I like fluff, sometimes fluff is fun.  (a few current status’ have been added to the “saved” version before publishing)”

 

Well, DC got on the bus this morning wearing a 4 inch witch nose – he’s in the spirit!

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Today the bus driver will be entertained by a flashing Rudolf nose.

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…… and who thought an electronic mega-phone complete with siren was a good idea for Christmas?

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Banana phone

I was required to have a conversation on the “banana phone” with the Fairy Godmother before he would eat the banana –

 

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merry happy

 

“Merry Happy Christmas Eve, Mom”

 

 

 

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Lesson of the week: Using the phrase “let’s head out” when taking DC to the bookstore, means that “let’s head out” ALWAYS means he’s going to the bookstore #ThingsIShouldKnowByNow

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Well he’s heard the “T & L “ words on the weather . It is official. There will be NO outdoor activities for us today

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Camera roll 10-2013 082“Mom, the glasses are bothering you”. (Translation: I bought new cheaters, they are different, he can’t stand it. They are bothering HIM.) But…. he’s not trying to take them off my face as he used to. #Progress

 

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DC is shaving – getting ready for the Prom, scaring the life out of me w/ the razor. Finally he turns to me & says “Mom, are you still here?” #IGuessThatsMyCue

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Doug after sitting through 23 coffee-house acts at DC’s Arc activity. I guess we’ll be skipping this activity the next time around.

 


 

 

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“Mom, how are you feeling?”
(Me) “I am fine, how are you feeling?”
“I am perfectly ‘nis-able’ ” ~ Even Stevens – Influenza the Musical

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DC just informed me that he needs to get his “beauty rest”

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Going to have lunch today with DC at his “job”. He’s excited because he knows he will be able to have a cheeseburger……. Should I be upset that I don’t rate as highly as a cheeseburger?

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Camera roll 10-2013 117So after I wiped out on my walk with DC today, I asked him “what would you do if mom couldn’t get up?” He answered w/out hesitation “call 911” (after he stopped laughing, of course) #Progress

 

 

 

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ren faire

We went to the Ren Faire to see my brother’s show. DC loved it but yelled out in mid-performance “Oh no! *Bill, are you okay?” He was very concerned about the welfare of *Bill and *Uncle ‘Scamp’ and the bed of nails. Although not as concerned about the man actually laying ON the bed of nails…..

 

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DC picked up the word “sympathy” from one of his books last night & figured out it means “sorry”. So now he’s “in sympathy” for sneaking chips yesterday

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DC: “Annette ‘Fun – Tree – O’ in Babes In Toyland, my favorite movie” (Me: Worst Movie Ever …. Seriously ….)

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We had our  IP (The “E” is dropped post-school age) meeting this morning at DC’s program. The first with his new case worker. One of the first sentences out of my normally agreeable son was “I don’t like this stupid meeting!”
1. I’m the Mother so I can not laugh (but I think I may have anyway)
2. I couldn’t agree with him more……

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It’s a New Years Eve, Eve miracle! DC is eating PASTA!
PASTA! And about 10 meatballs, but…..PASTA!

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grease

Just because I LOVE this and……. our kids ROCK!

 

 

 

 

 

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headyache

 

I couldn’t have said it better! #DC-isms

 

 

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I was on the phone with an automated system that was not cooperating. DC was making a lot of noise behind me. I told him that he had to be quieter while I was on the phone. I suppose he did not trust himself to keep the noise down because when I turned around, he had applied a Band-Aid over his mouth! Band-Aid 101 – other uses.

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soundmachine

Band-aide 101 – other uses”  When I told him that his sound machine was too loud; this was the fix he came up with.

Happy Sunday!

 

 

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arm

 But then, of course there are the “regular” uses #HeJustLikesBandAids

 

 

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DC: “Mom, my leg is killing me.” (there was nothing wrong with his leg, I checked)

Me: “What happened to your leg?”

DC:”I broke my leg.”

Me: “How did you break your leg?”

DC: “Tree branch. Ouch!” (we are in the house)…

The lengths that he will go, to plaster himself in band-aids.

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DC doing his best impersonation of Nick from Top Chef 11 – ‘Don’t Touch my pots!”

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DC's hat

DC insisted on putting his Dr. Who WINTER hat into his backpack this morning. I asked him why, he wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me. I pointed out that he has a baseball cap in his backpack for the sun. It didn’t matter. So here’s hoping he won’t be walking around the greenhouse on this beautiful, sunny spring day in a T-shirt and a winter hat. #PickYourBattles #WhoviansUnite

 

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excuse me

DC and his Winter Guard Team went to perform at an Ice Cream Social Fundraiser tonight. In the warm-up room before the show, he and his team were lined up getting their last-minute directions from their Director. DC waving/raising his hand during her speech….. “Excuse me! I’m waiting for Ice Cream”.

 

 

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sick of butter

 

DC presented me with his shopping list for tomorrow. “bandes” – band-aids – and no, he is not sick of butter – he wants butter but in stick form (he doesn’t like the tubs😃)

 

 

 

 

 

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DC woke up in a fabulous mood this morning. “Good Morning Starshine. The earth says hello “ (lol, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Hair – take your pick) #DisneylandParis

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DC and Doug decided to go on “Indiana Jones Temple of Peril” in the rain…. Go figure #DisneylandParis meets #MrNoStormToday . Apparently rain is not as frightening at Disneyland

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cape

  A cape…. Because proper attire is a necessity while watching you-tube (and you never know when you may  have to save the world)

 

 

 

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Me: Hi, DC. Is Mrs. H there yet? (I knew she wasn’t, but would be there in seconds – but still I like to try to get the correct replies)

DC: No.

Me: Did you lock the door?

DC: Yes

Me: Did you lock the door?

DC: No.

Me: Please go and lock the door. You are supposed to lock the door as soon as you come home.

DC: Okay

Me: Don’t hang up! (He does not understand that he can just put the phone down, lock the door and come back)

He hangs up…

and second later the phone rings

DC: Hi Mom, I am home again!

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five teen six

 

Book Editing 101 –

Page “Five teen six”

 

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trouble

“Someone” may have just realized that he might be in a little bit of trouble tonight….

 

 

 

 

 

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steve DC was having an “issue” tonight at the time his Best Buddy, Steve called to say hello.

 Steve understands, but I did tell DC that he was very rude to Steve.

 DC went straight into “note-writing” mode and presented me with this note. We did   text  it right over to Steve.

 

 

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rain

It’s pouring.. POURING! DC was ready at the door wearing his raincoat (Me? No. I wasn’t going outside yet). When the car arrived, he ran out and I stood in the door as always. I saw him flagging we to the car, which he never does. Thinking something was wrong and not wanting to waste time looking for my umbrella, I ran to the car as I was. Opening the door, DC said “Mom! It’s raining! Sorry!” (of course he let me stand there in the pouring rain for a little while before he came out with that) … Happy Tuesday!

 

*Some names have been changed to protect the innocent

Have a great weekend…..

February reruns… How do you do?

It’s been one of those weeks…… Enough said….. and just because I needed a laugh, I decided to post yet another rerun. The following was posted back in April 2013 – but it still makes me laugh….

“Please allow me to introduce…..”

Pleased to meet you DC loves to make introductions. I don’t believe he really understands the point of introducing people. He notices people making  introductions in the movies he watches and in the books that he reads. It doesn’t matter if the people he is introducing already know each other. It doesn’t matter if he knows they already know each other, when he gets to urge to make introductions, he does. He is usually very formal about it as well – “I would like to introduce my mother, Vickie Lastname” or “It is my pleasure to introduce to you, my mother, Vickie Lastname or (my favorite) “Please allow me to introduce my ‘lov-er-ly’ mother, Vickie Lastname Recently we attended a pasta dinner fundraiser to benefit the summer camp DC has attended since he was 5 years old. We purchased enough tickets for DC, Doug, my mother and myself and we sold a few more to friends and family members. Seated with DC and I were, – My mother (DC’s grandmother) – Doug (who was also pulling DJ duty) – DC’s grandparents on his Dad’s side – DC’s Dad – Tracy – DC’s stepmother (His Dad’s wife. I generally do not use the stepmother title to describe her because DC is so very much into Disney that there is no explaining to him that all stepmothers are not evil) Karr-ee-anna – in DC-speak -DC’s Aunt K -Her husband R – My friend Tonya – and DC’s friend, Salli Due to the crowd, Doug’s father and sister had  moved over to the next table. DC was very excited that everyone was there at the same time. He sat at the table as if he were “holding court”. He then decided that introductions were in order. Turning his attention to his father, Tracy: “Tracy, this is my mother Vickie Lastname” and “Vickie, I would like to introduce you to my father, Tracy (same) Lastname” ~ Insert Dramatic Pause ~ Me:   “Um……. “we’ve met……………………..”   Photo: Credit "Tonya"

Snow-cation

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Our preparation for the Blizzard of 2015 consisted of packing our bags and booking a hotel room. I wasn’t taking any chances. I wasn’t really concerned about this storm until I received a robo-call from our utility company warning of power outages. You might remember that back in October 2011 we lost power for 6 days.

The following year we had a few pretty big storms. One in particular dropped a couple of feet of snow on us. We did not lose power but we were trapped for 4 days.

We live on a cul-de-sac. Usually the town comes to plow the road, but only to the edge of the cul-de-sac. Later a smaller pickup truck comes to finish the job but it is usually somewhat of a wait.  When day 1 came and went, I didn’t think all that much of it. On day 2 the town announced that all of the roads would be cleared by the following day. Day 3 – nothing – I started calling Public Works to a “full voicemail” message and finally no answer at all. We were left trapped in waist-high snow with no one to contact as the rest of the town offices were closed. Finally on Monday (day 4) I called the police, only to find out that they had our street marked “complete”.

I reasoned that if the power did go out the hotel should have a generator so at the very least we would have heat. If they did not have a generator, at least we would be able to get out of the place and not be trapped in waist-high snow for days on end.

I explained this to DC, leaving out the “power-outage” piece of the story.
As you also may already know DC usually loves nothing better than a hotel room. I thought he’d be excited.
On Monday morning we packed up what we thought we would need for the next few days and headed out to my office. DC loves to come to work with me so he was thrilled.

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He was a tiny bit anxious about the snow but nothing really over the top. Doug came to meet us at work so that I could follow him to the hotel which was just over in the next town (someday we will talk about my sense of direction or lack thereof).

We arrived at the hotel and checked in. DC was getting himself set up at the desk as he always does, when he discovered he had forgotten the cord for his laptop at my office. I won’t go into detail about the chaos that followed, just believe me, it was a tragedy. Doug went back to get it before the roads got worse and DC, while continuing to perseverate about his cord, kept himself busy with you-tube on his phone. One would have thought Cinderella entered the room when Doug came back with that cord!

IMG_8232

 

A couple of hours later he really began to get anxious, asking over and over again when he could go home. I realized that although I explained all of this to him and that this was certainly not the first time we left and stayed in a hotel due to an upcoming storm, he was still very confused. I thought about how different this ‘trip’ was from the last storm trip.

  • Our previous trip to avoid a storm (although I was sure we’d be sitting in a hotel room for 3 days) turned out to be much more of a ‘real’ vacation than just an  escape from the storm.
  • We packed, went to work and left from there – he didn’t get to go home first.
  • There was a travel ban in effect so there would be no dinner at a restaurant.
  • He was very concerned about going to his friend BB’s on Friday. It was on the calendar, you know.

I told him that I understood why he was a little bit confused. I explained that we were on a “Snow-cation”. We had come to the hotel so we didn’t get stuck in our house. I also explained that the hotel was very close to our house so he did not have to worry about going to BB’s house. We would be home before Friday (I wasn’t ready to mention a specific day for him to obsess over). I did finally have to mention the threat of losing power as another good reason to be “Snow-cationing”. He liked the word “Snow-cation” and the threat of a power-outage seemed to do it for him.  “Confused” became the word of the day. He used it anytime he needed the explanation again. It was comforting for him to have a word to use to explain his feelings and he felt better about expressing his confusion because I had told him that I understood. So, even though I had to explain our “Snow-cation” a few more times, he wasn’t as anxious about it.

He was able to use his computer, he read and edited some books, he went to the gym and went swimming in the pool. It was like a vacation (of sorts) to him. He was much better and a little less confused about everything.

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I’m not sure that he really understood how close to home we were. Even though it was only a 20 minute drive from my job. I think that the mere fact that we were in a hotel, meant distance to him.
He was concerned about his work and going to BB’s house. I did point out a few other places in this town that we visit often as a point of reference as to just how close we were to home, but I’m not quite sure he understood.

When I was relatively sure that all was clear, our street was plowed and we had electricity at home, I told him what day we would be heading home.

“My ‘Powers’ is back” – apparently all of the explanation I had given him only led him to believe that the power was out at home –
“Yes, DC, your ‘powers’ is back”

When all was said and done, we did not get as much snow as they predicted, some parts of the state did, but we ended up with a little more than a foot. Still a foot is a foot, and I would opt for the “Snow-cation” again and now that DC worked through his anxiety, I think he would too.

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!