It’s Thanksgiving..

 

DC has been counting the days waiting for Thanksgiving to arrive and just know that he would never imagine keeping me out of the loop on this…… daily/hourly/every few minutes.

I do have to say that his ‘Thanksgiving’ pronunciation has improved over the past year but “firsday’ is still ‘firsday’

I am not really sure why he looks forward to this holiday so much. He will eat turkey (preferably with bones) but other than that, there is really nothing else “Thanksgivingy” that he will eat.

Turkey and bread. That is about the extent of it and honestly if there are no bones (legs or wings) to be had, the bread is really the main event. He will eat the turkey but he is not very excited about it.

He does look forward to seeing his aunt and uncle. He enjoys staying in a hotel.

And there’s dessert. We can’t forget the dessert.

Or the bread..

Happy a Happy Holiday!

*****

Happy Thanksgiving!

(November 2015)

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving…..

Someone I know is looking very forward to a turkey leg –

or “Chicken with bones and sprinkles”

-although I’m sure the wings will do in a pinch.

It’s all about the bones.

But bones aside,  right now he would just like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

“I Love you, Mom” (Just a little Thanksgiving Quickie)

(November 2013)

DC flashing the I Love you Sign as he does almost anytime he walks by me.

DC flashing the I Love you Sign as he does almost anytime he walks by me.

Who would not be thankful for this wonderful child who will just flash me the “I Love You” sign, just because he happens to be walking by or just randomly peek around the corner to say “I love you, Mom”.

Happy Thanksgiving…….

***

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving…..

Someone I know is looking very forward to a turkey leg –

or “Chicken with bones and sprinkles”

-although I’m sure the wings will do in a pinch.

It’s all about the bones.

But bones aside,  right now he would just like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Two Years ago – “I Love you, Mom” (Just a little Thanksgiving Quickie)

(November 2013)

DC flashing the I Love you Sign as he does almost anytime he walks by me.

DC flashing the I Love you Sign as he does almost anytime he walks by me.

Who would not be thankful for this wonderful child who will just flash me the “I Love You” sign, just because he happens to be walking by or just randomly peek around the corner to say “I love you, Mom”.

Happy Thanksgiving…….

“To Boldly Go……”

To Boldy Go....

To Bodly Go….

I confess…

I admit it…

I am just a big old Sci-fi geek from way back. I watched the first episode of Star Trek back in 1966/1967 (?) and I was hooked – for life.

The first “sign” that DC learned when he was very young (for those of you that may not know, DC was non-verbal until he was 7 years old) was the “Live Long and Prosper” sign. If and when he saw a picture of Mr. Spock or heard him mentioned, he used that sign.

Today, he is verbal but will still, at times use his signs in conjunction with his speech – that “Mr. Spock” sign has come to represent Star Trek in general for him and he still uses it.

Coincidently, DC just happened to be born on William Shatner’s birthday (not planned – I swear)

Before the days when Star Trek costumes were available to purchase - DC's second Halloween.

Before the days when Star Trek costumes were available to purchase – DC’s second Halloween.

Last October, we finally made it to New York Comic-Con. I was nervous – it was so crowded, but the hope of meeting Felicia Day, kept DC pretty much on track. He also got to meet William Shatner and the Real Mike Tee Vee. All were very nice to him and he was very, very happy.

A few years back a friend of mine told me about “Shore Leave“,an event held in Baltimore every August. It is smaller than ComicCon and the original plan was to try this first, see how DC managed it and then move on to the bigger ‘Con’ in NY at a later date. Somehow we ended up doing it in reverse. But, since DC did so well at ComicCon we decided  Shore Leave would be a breeze.

We left on Thursday afternoon as soon as DC came home from his work program. Our 5 hour drive to Baltimore somehow turned into an 8 hour haul. We opted not to stay at the hotel where the event was being held as we were planning on doing a few other things in Baltimore while we were there and I really thought it would be just too much for DC. We had reservations at the Holiday Inn – Timonium. We finally arrived a little bit after 11pm.

The man at the desk checked us in to room 717. We headed up to the 7th floor in the slowest elevator known to man – reverse warp speed. We opened the door to room 717 and found that the door was bolted from the inside and soon a man’s face was looking at us through the 6 inch space in the door. He wanted to know what we were doing and why we had a key to his room. We explained that we had just checked in and this was the room we were given. He explained that HE had just checked into this room moments before. DC does not understand this, he wants to “go to the room”.

Fortunately a hotel employee was in the hallway and called down to the desk. He got the desk clerk to assign us a different room on the same floor, let us in with his master-key and went down to switch out the keys for us. We were now checked into room 725. At about 11:45, the room phone rang. It was the desk clerk. He has forgotten our name (??!!) – we had reservations so he should have all of that information, but I gave him our name again. At midnight, the phone rang. It was the desk clerk once again, this time calling to tell us he would have someone slip free breakfast coupons under our door for our inconvenience. We thanked him and hoped this would be the end of the phone calls for the evening.

We spent Friday at the Inner Harbor. DC of course spotted the Barnes and Noble and Hard Rock “Caf” (DC-speak) so, you bet we had to  visit both places. It was a nice day and we had a very nice time.

We got back to the room at about 4pm to discover that no one had come to clean. I thought that was odd, but given the debacle of the night before, I really didn’t think too much about it at the time. We would be heading back out in an hour so there wasn’t much point to calling anyone to clean at that time of day.

Reading the Shore Leave schedule, I noticed that there was a “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock” tournament at 6pm. DC loves the Big Bang Theory and thinks “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock” is the most hysterical thing he’s ever heard. He does not really know what it means, the words are  just so funny to him. I thought if we attended the tournament, he would see exactly what it is…. a game.  I didn’t think he would actually understand the game, but at the very least he might understand what they are talking about in the show.

When we first walked in, the moderator was explaining the rules, reading from a very confusing T-shirt, complete with diagrams and pictures of the signs. One of the participants piped up “That boy has the directions right on his shirt” – I don’t think the moderator appreciated this, he looked up, sighed and went right back to explaining with HIS T-shirt. DC got a kick out of the tournament and asked me more than once “to play“. I knew he really didn’t understand it and thought about asking the moderator if someone could play a quick game with him when they were finished, but during the practice rounds I did with him, I could see he really didn’t get it. He just threw whatever I threw. I told him he could play against me. We played at the table while the tournament was in progress. This seemed to make him happy enough.

After the tournament we were walking down one of the hallways and I noticed the TARDIS in the corner and pointed it out to DC. He recognized it immediately yelling,  “Dr Who” We went to check it out. It was a photo booth. I don’t know what sort of directions the man gave DC when he was in the booth, but I could see from the computer screen outside that every time “Look at the Camera” came up on the screen, DC did something with his hands and his face, when the prompt was not there he sat looking at the screen normally. I’m sure he was following his understanding of the directions the man gave him.

He also happened to find a pair of TARDIS slippers. There were only two pair on the table, but thankfully one pair was his size. He was pretty darn happy to get them. He has a “thing” about slippers lately, I don’t know why. He has a few pair of slippers at home but never wanted to wear them, all of a sudden he loves slippers and wears them all of the time. The Tardis slippers were a nice find for him.

Pictures taken, slippers purchased, now DC was beginning to get antsy. He had enough for one night and as you may or may not know, DC’s favorite thing when on vacation – besides bookstores and restaurants, that is – is the hotel room. He really just LOVES hotel rooms, so he was anxious to get back. We arrived back at the hotel at a little after 9. Jokingly, I said to Doug, “I hope they didn’t give our room to someone else”

 -I really have to stop joking like that, really!

We got to the door and the key would not work, none of our keys worked. There were 2 women just down the hall going into their room and I heard one  say  to the other, “Now look,  their keys won’t work” and they asked us if our keys worked. We told them that they didn’t. They proceeded to inform us that they had just checked in and they were assigned room number 725 (our room). They opened the door, went in and realized that this was clearly someone else’s room (especially as you know,  no one had come to clean it that day). They had just been down at the desk to have it corrected and in the process the people at the desk deactivated our keys.

DC just wanted to “go to the room” and again, we are left standing in the hallway. I was so worried about Shore Leave being too much for him, but as it turns out the hotel caused him (and me) more anxiety that anything else that weekend.

We went back down to the desk and informed them that once again, we were stuck in the hallway. Last night they had us walking into someone else’s room and tonight they sent strangers into our room. The women at the desk said that when the desk clerk switched our room the night before he didn’t mark it down – which explains why no one came to clean – they thought it was empty (but why did he call to ask our name?? – That will remain a mystery). One woman offered us free breakfast coupons for the rest of our stay (they must have to give out an awful lot of those) – I informed her that we had already been given coupons the night before for that error. They didn’t offer anything else. I could be wrong, but it did seem as though the women that walked into our room that night were upgraded to a suite – but, I could be wrong…………….

On Saturday morning, we decided to take in the “Fairy Tale Panel” back at Shore Leave. DC must have been much more exhausted from Friday than I realized as he fell asleep and slept (in the front row, mind you) throughout the entire hour. 200lbs of dead weight hanging on me the entire time – just what you want when you are running a panel, someone fast asleep in the front row!  He did also sleep through the Once Upon a Time panel at ComicCon, but at least it was a dark room and we were nowhere close to the front. I suppose it could have been worse, he could have been snoring.
Saturday was much more crowded than Friday night had been. We tried to stay away from the most crowded areas, but refreshed from his “nap”, DC made a bee-line to the Buffy doll that I knew he wanted but refused to buy the day before – I think he was just too overwhelmed on Friday night to know what he wanted until he found the Tardis slippers, that is..
We had purchased tickets for 3 photo ops the night before, but we still had a little time to kill, so we went to the autograph tables, which surprisingly, were not very crowded.

Our first stop was Robert Picardo. I explained to DC that he was once on a Star Trek (Voyager). His sign read “I’m the Doctor”. This confused DC, he knew it wasn’t David Tennant, the only Dr. he is aware of, but the sign did say “I am the Dr.” so he called him Dr. Who.

– just following directions, Doc…….

We moved on to Michael Welch. He was exceptionally nice to DC – really, they all were.

We then headed to THE most confusing Photo Op line ever. We had tickets for 3 Photo Ops which meant we had to get in line 3 times. The lines did move quickly, but it was all very confusing trying to figure out where we were supposed to be.

The woman at the entrance to the photo room just Ooo’d and Ahh’d over DC every time we arrived for a photo. “Oh! Look at him, he is so excited!” – he was, plus there is no one that loves to have their picture taken more than DC does.

His first photo was with Robert Picardo, “Dr. Who” from a half hour earlier. He didn’t call him Dr. Who this time even though he was wearing a Dr. Who shirt (he didn’t have his “I’m the Doctor” sign with him and it wasn’t David Tennant on his shirt).

Next up was Eve Myles. She was a few minutes late getting to the photo room and when I saw her coming down the hallway, I got a little bit anxious. Her hair was much longer than it is on TV and in photos. DC LOVES long hair, LOVES it! Before we were faced with another  ‘Snow White Incident’ I launched into “the rules”.
“DC, you can not touch her hair”
“Okay Mom”
“DC what is the rule? – Tell me”
“Don’t touch your hair” (the usual pronoun confusion,but I knew he understood)
and then….. just for good measure…
“DC, what is the other rule?”
“Don’t pick up the people”
and he didn’t……….

Next and thankfully, last as DC was tired of getting in and out of lines…. Silas Weir Mitchell. I love Grimm. DC has seen it a few times, but I don’t think he really knew who he was. It didn’t faze him because, someone was taking HIS picture and isn’t that really all that matters?

At this point, DC was starting to get edgy. Our last stop was the Eve Myles autograph table. We had a good 1/2 hour wait until she was finished with the Q&A she was leading. We slipped inside to listen and more importantly to move DC out of the hallway.

He didn’t want to sit down.

He didn’t want to stand where we were standing.

He didn’t want to stand in the next place we moved to.

We moved close to the door and he seemed okay with that.

But then a staff person came over and told us we couldn’t stand there so we moved back to the hallway.

We decided to just wait at the table.

There was a wonderful lady sitting at the table who just happened to be a Special Ed teacher (we seem to run into Special Ed teachers everywhere we go, she was the second on this trip), she let DC pick out the photo he wanted autographed early. He picked a photo of Ms. Myles from a Merlin episode. We chatted a bit, she chatted with DC a bit as well. She told him he was doing a good job waiting – he loves compliments, who doesn’t.

The Dalek from the Tardis photo booth was now roaming the hallway “EXTERMINATE!”,  so that helped to keep him occupied until Ms. Myles was finished with her Q&A. When she arrived at the table, the woman whispered something to her and then introduced her to DC. She told her that he was waiting a long time for her. He was first in line for her autograph, she was lovely to him. He was thrilled…..

but he was also “done”.

I didn’t try to push him to do any more. We arrived that morning at 9 and it was now after 3. That was a long stretch for him, even with the nap. He had a few sketchy moments throughout the day, but I really I think, overall he did a fantastic job!

In the words of DC, “We all had a wonderful time”

except for this guy…………..

this guy....

this guy….

and a big shout-out to the “trying to be helpful staff member” that asked Doug (aka “This Guy”) if he needed help finding something….

“I’m just looking for some place to hang myself”

(Thanks Guy, I’m sure, Doug was waiting all day for an opportunity to use that line, and there it was)

#LLAP

Mother’s Day and The Macaroni Necklace

Macaroni

Macaroni

My only Mother’s Day gift wish when DC was little was a macaroni necklace. You know, the macaroni necklace that every child makes for their mother eventually, for some occasion or holiday or for no reason at all. I think I remember making a few of my own when I was a kid. I really wanted a macaroni necklace! Unfortunately,  there was no one that was going to help him do this, with the exception of me, of course,  but that would not be the same. In other families if there was not another parent or sibling to make the suggestion and help with the project, eventually the child got old enough to come up with the idea as we all did when we were young, on his own. I knew that this was also something that was not going to happen in the foreseeable future, at least.

I know it was an odd thing to be fixated on, with so many other things to worry about, but it really made me sad that  my son was never going to make and present me with a macaroni necklace. I talked about it all of the time. Whenever my birthday or a holiday came around, my friends would have to listen to me whine about the fact that I would never have that cherished macaroni necklace. In my mind it was the “right of passage” of parenthood.

Now, yes of course I realize that this necklace that I wanted so badly was just a representation of the many ways our life was and would continue to be so very different from the way I had imagined when he was born.
I know that very few people end up with the life they imagine, but I knew ours would be very different.

DC was in school, but at this point in time, they really hadn’t done many of the “school gift” projects that most children come home with around the holidays ~ probably because the projects would not  make it home in one piece ~ therefore my hopes for a macaroni necklace were dwindling.

One day, the Friday before Mother’s Day, when DC was 6 or 7, I opened his back pack and found a package labeled “Mom”. I called DC over and asked if this was for me. He signed “Yes”.

I opened it and there it was,  a macaroni necklace! Made with HEART SHAPED macaroni, no less. Also included was a photo of DC and his aide stringing the pasta.

This was absolutely THE best Mother’s Day gift! Of course, he didn’t really understand that he had to give it to me, I had to find it in his back pack, and of course the writing wasn’t his, but there was photographic evidence that he had made it himself!

I wore it all day on Mother’s Day and  to work on the Monday after Mother’s Day. He seemed to be very pleased that I was wearing it!

My office mates were happy too, believe me….. I specifically remember one saying “Thank God you finally got that macaroni necklace, I was about to make one myself!”

Now-a days DC is no longer oblivious to holidays. He knows when they are coming, he knows what they are about for the most part. His mind still doesn’t go to “Hey let’s make Mom a card or a gift for Mother’s Day”, but he now has some help for that.  But he does remember to give them to me, usually early because he is too excited and can not wait. He does make the connection with the holiday and the gift and he is very, very proud of himself when he gives me a gift. Such a difference from the boy who didn’t know it was a holiday or to know that he should give me the gift he made at school sitting in his back-pack to the “man” who just can’t wait to make me happy with his gift!

There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing him proud of what he’s done and accomplished.

So, Happy Mother’s Day!

May your jewelry box runneth over with pasta and your day be filled with joy!

Happy Mother's Day

 

 

Pants on Fire

Pants on Fire

Pants on Fire

We have heard a lot about RESPECT, AWARENESS and UNDERSTANDING over the past few weeks (End the r-word) and we will hear quite a bit more next month during Autism Awareness Month.

There are times when, we, as parents of children or adults with special needs, do have to go to extremes or try many different tactics to get information from our children. Communication is not easy with my son. He can/will tell me what he wants but anything else is difficult. An answer to a simple question, if I can get an answer at all, can take a good long time and a lot of work.

But….We do not “trick” and we do not lie.


Having said that, when I drop DC off at an activity or event, I do have to tell him verbally and in sign that I am going for ‘coffee’. For some reason, and I really have not been able to figure out why, he knows this means and I am coming back to pick him up. I consider this a “little white lie” , not a big deal. 90% of the time, coffee will be involved in whatever I am doing or wherever I am going.
If I tell him I am going home, or to the store, my departure is prolonged by :
“Mom is coming back?”
Yes, DC.
“Mom is never coming back”
Of course I am coming back, DC.
As I start to walk out of the door, he moves on to – “Mom, come here please”
…………………….and the whole process begins again.
For some reason he accepts ‘going to get coffee’ and it is all good.
For the record, in case anyone thinks he’s been traumatized at some point by being left somewhere……. I have never forgotten to pick him up, I have never even been late to pick him up from anything at anytime, so I really don’t know where this comes from, but ‘coffee’ seems to be okay with him. Why I have to use the ‘coffee’ sign is just another mystery.
This sort of thing, which actually makes him feel better, and is not hurting him or anyone else, is fine with me. I don’t really consider it a lie and it is certainly not a trick.

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were having lunch in a restaurant that is staffed by special needs adults. They do, of course have supervisors, but the wait staff and kitchen staff are all adults with various special needs.
This particular day, my friend and I were sitting at the farthest corner of the restaurant.
I am a “people watcher” by nature, but if the following exchange could be heard in detail by us, sitting so far away, it was without a doubt, heard by the customers sitting closer to the front.

I noticed a staff member approach the restaurant supervisor, who had been eating at her desk since we arrived, with some sort of candy/food wrapper. I really didn’t hear what the first staff member said to the supervisor, but the supervisor replied, “I don’t know who was just in the bathroom”. So again, being a parent of a special needs child and having quite a few friends with special needs children, I surmised from this (loud) statement  that someone was sneaking food in the bathroom.
I get this, I get how this could be a concern. Did it have to be announced? No, but I do get it.
I continued to watch because, still eating with one hand, she picked up the wrapper in a scissor hold (between her index and middle finger), lifted it up into the air over her head and turned it side to side as if she was looking for finger prints or something. The production she was making was kind of funny and way over the top. It was without a doubt entertaining, anyway. I assumed that was the end of it, but what followed was not funny or entertaining at all.

She put her food down, got up from her desk and went over to the counter that looks into the kitchen area. She raised this wrapper over her head (still in the scissor hold) and asked, “Who left this wrapper out here” (Not “Who left this wrapper in the bathroom”).
I could hear a few employees answer, “Not Me”, “It wasn’t me”.
She then said, “I just wanted to know where I can get these”. Her assistant joined in by saying “They look so good, they have raisins and ___,  (I couldn’t hear the other ingredient she mentioned) we just want to know where we can get them”.

At this point I could hear someone reply. I could not hear what they said, but someone did reply.
The supervisor then asked “Did you buy them yourself or did your mother buy them for you?”
I heard the employee reply that her mother bought them.

As they walked away from the counter, proud of themselves for tricking the employee into confessing by taking full advantage of her disability, the Assistant said, “I knew it was her” – the Supervisor replied, “Of course it was, she didn’t say a word when I asked who left it”.

Again – far side of the restaurant – we heard all of it.

RESPECT, UNDERSTANDING, AWARENESS, TRUST and let us add CONFIDENTIALITY???? What do we do when the people entrusted to care for and work with our children do not seem to know the meaning of any of those words?

Apparently, we still have so much more work to do.

(Just as an FYI, Normally I would have said something to her, her supervisor or both right away, but I was 95% sure that the person they were tricking into confessing was the son of a friend of mine. I wanted to tell my friend the story before giving the manager a heads-up and a chance to come up with a different version.)

“I Love you, Mom” (Just a little Thanksgiving Quickie)

DC flashing the I Love you Sign as he does almost anytime he walks by me.

DC flashing the I Love you Sign as he does almost anytime he walks by me.

Who would not be thankful for this wonderful child who will just flash me the “I Love You” sign, just because he happens to be walking by or just randomly peek around the corner to say “I love you, Mom”.

Happy Thanksgiving…….