Supernatural – I wish I was able to hear that Conversation #SPNNJ

 

This week the Finish The Sentence Friday prompt is a Listicle – “Share 10 photos from your phone”. There could not have been more perfect timing.

As you may or may not remember, I lost all of the photos that were stored on my computer a few weeks ago. The computer went to the “computer guy” just before we went away for the weekend. It took much longer to get it back (with some of the photos recovered) than I expected, so all of my photos from that weekend are still on my phone waiting for a computer to download them on to, so I could write about the weekend as I do with every Convention, ComicCon or the like that we attend. They were already cropped and cartoonized (not a word, I know) and ready to go.

So here goes.

As you also may or may not know; DC loves New York City. He also loves Kim Rhodes. He met her last year at the some convention in NJ that we would be attending this weekend and I believe it was the highlight of his year (Let’s Talk About Kim Rhodes #SPNNJ)

As we did last year, we decided to take the weekend to go to New York City on Friday to do “DC-Stuff”, as he puts it, go to the convention on Saturday and back to New York for more “DC-Stuff” on Sunday.

Photo #1 (since this IS Supposed to be a “list)

“DC-stuff” means Times Square, The Disney Store, The M&M or Hershey Store (he chose Hershey this time), The Book Store and Lunch at Hard Rock. We accomplished that on Friday.

The hotel where we were staying was in NJ, within walking distance of the convention center.

Photo # 2

 

He started getting a little bit anxious at the hotel. He was done “of” walking (DC-Speak) but also excited about the next day. But this is normal for him. He “Flapped Furiously” for a while and got it out of his system.

Photo #3

Because I have learned much over the years, we had to go over the rules. Briana Buckmaster has beautiful long flowing blonde hair so he had to promise not to touch it (he would be reminded again the next day, but it never hurts to begin the reminding early) and of course, he is not allowed to “pick up the people” (a lesson I learned the hard way)

Saturday came and DC did a <insert sarcasm font> “little bit” of stimming outside the hotel (I’m sure it is on you-tube somewhere) and once he got himself together we walked over to the convention center.

He had his picture taken with Ruth Connell who had her hair up, luckily – but before he got anywhere near her, he was made to listen to the rules again – just to be on the safe side.

Photo #4

We sat in on the panel with all of the women characters where he got his first glimpse of Kim Rhodes. I had purchased autograph tickets for Kim Rhodes and I thought Briana Buckmaster because DC really wanted to say or hear her say “Okey Dokey” or in DC-speak “Ok-kiddy-Do-key” but #MomFail, I did not buy both. I don’t know what I was thinking. But he got to see Kim Rhodes, so he was sort-of okay with my error.

In line, waiting for the autographs, DC was, for some reason rehearsing “This is my mother, Vickie *LastName”, but when we reached the table and Kim asked him who I was he just said “Vickie” – not his mother – just Vickie.

Onward to the photo ops.

Photo #5

First ….. Kim Rhodes. The ‘Boy” is very happy, in case that isn’t 100% obvious.

Photo #6

Even though I failed with the autograph tickets, I did get a photo-op ticket for Kim and Briana Buckmaster together. Briana had her hair up too, so she was safe from DC the Hairdresser. He was thrilled, as you can see. I did not hear if he was able to give her an “Ok-kiddy-Do-key” and if she would even understand what he was saying if he did, but he was one happy guy. He wore his “Jody (Kim Rhodes) and Donna (Briana Buckmaster) shirt very proudly that day.

Once photos are taken, it is a good amount of time before they are printed and put out on a table in the vendor room. We only had one more photo-op to go before we were going to leave, have dinner and go back to the room for a break before we came back for the concert at 930. I try not to schedule anything after 3 or 4 so we have that time to take a break before the concert. It’s a long day for DC. Doug checked the photo table while we were in line for Misha Collins.

The last photo-op of the day and I have to say, my favorite photo of all time.

Photo-ops move quickly and there is not really any time at all to say more than “hello”. I was standing off to the side and saw that Misha Collins was taking to DC and DC was answering. I do not know if he was getting actual answers to the questions he was asking but I could see that DC seemed to be responding to whatever he was saying. It was more than a quick “Hello, what is you name”.

Whatever they were talking about; the conversation led to this photo.

Photo #7

Absolutely the

Best . Photo . Ever.

Let me also point out that DC TOOK HIS GLASSES OFF for the photo! That does not happen.

I did not see the photo until after we left and had dinner. We were able to get the first two photos before we left he convention center. We stopped at Outback on the way back to the hotel. After dinner Doug volunteered to go back to the convention center to check for the photo while DC and I went back to the hotel.

DC and I were sitting at a table outside the hotel when I saw Doug coming down the road with the photo, laughing. I don’t know if he laughed all the way from the convention center (I would have) but he was sure laughing on the way to the table.

Best picture ever.

It makes me really want to know what they were talking about before it was taken.

After our break, we went back for the Saturday Night Special (the concert) where DC got to hear them all sing.

Photo #8

Photo #9

Photo #10

Photo #11 (Bonus)

The concert ended with Justin Guarini. I am not sure why he was there, but……. cool. It was also a bonus for Doug because if you know Doug at all, you know that he has no idea who anyone on TV or in the movies is, but he did know who Justin Guarini was, not from American Idol but from American Idiot – one of the few Broadway shows that I dragged him to that he actually enjoyed.

A few things I noticed, though. We’ve been to a few conventions over the years and this one is one of the most organized conventions around, without a doubt.

DC had a few minor meltdowns while we were there. No one stared, no one made an issue about it. One lady was concerned and asked me if he was all right. I started to explain that he has autism and he gets a little bit anxious and before I got that all out of my mouth, she said “Oh, I know. Does he need anything?”

During another outburst, the woman behind us in line did not even flinch and offered us some granola bars in case he was hungry.

I guess I am not used to people knowing and understanding without me having to explain. It was nice. Maybe the whole “awareness thing” is doing some good in some places. It certainly was not the case when he was stimming outside the hotel that morning.

Sunday consisted of sleeping late; as late as DC would allow and back to the City for the rest of the “DC-stuff” on his list.

Central Park

and the Eloise Store at the Plaza

 

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This has been a Finish The Sentence Friday Post. This week is a Listicle and the prompt; Share 10 photos from your phone.
Finish The Sentence Friday is hosted by: Kristi at Finding Ninee and  Kenya at Sporadically Yours

 

 

 

 

Costumes…. back to an old favorite.

It’s been busy ’round here and before I knew what happened, it is the end of September with ……

Wait for it……

Halloween right around the corner and we are just now “getting ready”.

If you are new here, you might not understand that last sentence.

Halloween is a big deal for both DC and I (don’t you just love it when your kid is actually interested in the same thing that you are?)

We finally have his costumes picked out – much later than we usually do. DC’s choices are again, not as elaborate or I should say, not as difficult to find or “create” as they have been over the years.

Last year DC decided that he wanted us to be Chip and Mrs. Potts. I was thrilled for him when I found a Mrs. Potts costume…. BUT after searching everywhere, I was unable to find an adult-sized Chip. Finding adult sized costumes for whatever he chooses to be, has been a challenge over the last few years.

Randomly, around his birthday I searched again and (Yay!) was able to find one! Halloween costumes for your birthday? In DC-land…… yes!

Mrs. Potts and Chip were meant for Halloween night, because we always both dress for the big night.

We did the rest of our “holiday’ shopping the other day.

He chose “Peter Pan” for his camp Halloween party (Boring, yes but this is not about me …… not really anyway. Well maybe a little)

His Best Buddies party would require a different costume because; Halloween and that is how we roll.

DC met his new Buddy on Saturday and she asked about his costume (his Buddies last year were nice enough to do a theme with him – Lumiere, Cogsworth and the Beast – all costumes we already had in our collection) and I was able to talk her into wearing the Mrs. Potts costume to go with DC as Chip.

The Halloween Gods were smiling upon me and saved me from burning in Hot Flash Hell wearing that costume this year! Costumes for me are becoming more difficult as the years go by for this very reason.  #IsItHotInHereOrIsItJustMe

Now we had to switch gears. His Halloween night costumes are going to be worn at a party instead. So what did he decide to wear on THE BIG NIGHT, Halloween?

You guessed it!

Jim Dear! Yes, this year!

Me? I think I am going to try to sit this one out, unless that “little” voice continues to ask about “Jim Dear AND Darling”.

(From 2016)

“Jim Dear?” – Not this year……

 


hat

So Halloween is upon us.  It is already September and we are a little bit behind schedule this year. We usually have our costumes chosen and purchased in August. We did pick out our “official” Halloween night costumes way back in April or May so we are not 100% behind, but we are still behind. There are plenty of parties to attend for which DC must have different costumes (gotta love this boy!).

Okay maybe we like Halloween just a little teeny tiny bit -but we’re not obsessed or anything….

Last week we discussed what party costumes he wanted to wear this ‘Holiday’ season. This is always a little bit of a challenge.  At times the costumes that DC requests are just people that he likes who happen to be wearing regular everyday clothing, or it is an obscure character that nobody knows but him (he might get that from me).  Most of the time there is no such costume available so my mission is to come up with something or make up something that at least in his mind, makes the point.

The one costume that continues to make the list from the time DC was very young is “Jim Dear” from Lady and the Tramp.

(sigh….)  A man in a suit…..

Not my idea of a Halloween costume, but – this is not about me….

……not ALL about be, anyway.

 But, this year I was prepared.

Last October we attended a fundraiser/gala with Tony Orlando. The gala had a 1940’s theme. It was not a costume party, it was a theme, but in keeping with DC’s love of costumes, I bought him a 40’s style hat to wear with his suit. There was also the added incentive to get him excited about going to the event of calling the hat and suit a costume.  While I was shopping for said hat, I came across a derby style hat that closely resembles the hat that “Jim Dear” wears. I purchased that to save for this year.

While looking for items to make a “Timekeeper – Spy Kids – All The Time in the World” (yes, we must use the proper and entire title) costume last year I came across a tremendous amount of steampunk costumes.  I discovered them too late for last years’ costumes (they had already been chosen and we can’t mess around with the costume line-up)  but I knew that they would be a great option for this year.

2015 would finally be the year of “Jim Dear”.

I had everything ready when we sat down to choose his costumes. I had a choice of two suits up on the screen, I had a few options for “Lady” stuffed animals for him to carry. I even found a “Tramp”…. and I had the hat.  I was excited because I knew that he would be so excited when he saw that one of his costumes would be “Jim Dear”. I saved the surprise costume for last.

He chose a Disney Character – surprise! He also chose a character from a television show – whoo hoo! – a current television show – bigger whoo hoo! When we had only one more to pick, I started to wonder why he hadn’t yet brought up “Jim Dear”. I thought he may have been so overwhelmed by looking at all of the other costumes that it had just slipped his mind, so I opened up the windows that I had saved, expecting him to be over the moon….

He said “No! No, Jim Dear!”

What ?!?  

“No, Jim Dear!”

I asked him again just to be sure he was not confused, I showed him the hat that I already bought. I showed him the photos of the suits and stuffed animals – “NO! Jim Dear!”

sigh…….

Anyone in need of a black derby hat complete with decorative feather?

– in great condition – never been worn….

 

 

As Summer Moves Into Fall

Never could I have ever imagined when I was younger, that I would at some point be counting the days until summer was over.

Summer was ALWAYS my season.

We were on the beach by the end of March or early April (maybe in not so warm conditions, but we were there) and perfectly tanned by the end of April. A co-worker and co-sun worshipper used to say:

“You realize, by the time we are 40, we are going to be nothing but leather and teeth”. When you are in your 20’s you really could care less or think about what you will look like in your 40’s.

As I got older – still worshiping the sun, I did take better care to use sunscreen.

The heat never bothered me. I could walk for miles in any kind of heat and it was never a big deal. I remember on one of my marathon walks, during a heatwave more than one person stopping me to tell me that it was just too hot to be out walking. It never bothered me.

DC always loved to swim.

All vacation destinations were somewhere warm and beachy.

Fall/Autumn meant Halloween (a good thing) but other than that, only meant that winter was on the way.

It’s amazing how things have changed.

My Listicle about the changing of the seasons is a bit different from what it would have been even 5 years ago:

  1. DC who is more and more annoyed with the Air Conditioner (“Hair-dish-on”) over the past few years, is getting antsy for it to come out.
  2. DC, who works outdoors and in a greenhouse is at the end of his rope with the morning bug spray and sunscreen application.
  3. DC, who hates to wear shorts, is already getting anxious to have his long pants back (It is still HOT here so that will not be happening soon)
  4. DC decided he did not love the water as much as he used to.
  5. Mid-August through the end of September have been difficult for DC over the past few years because of all of the above and because there is a limit to just how much he can take of all of the above.
  6. Fall is now MY Season. Once it cools down a bit, I might just venture outside once in a while.
  7. I wish the Autumn season was a little bit longer. I feel as if we are losing it as we have lost any resemblance of Spring over the last few years. The weather goes from Cold to Hot and really not too much “Spring” in-between. Summer seems to go on much longer than it did and is really starting to  taking a bite out of the Fall season.
  8. Our favorite “holiday” comes in the Fall – the one thing that has not changed over the years.
  9. We try to schedule vacations now, closer to home and with no beaches involved.
  10.  I am no longer “One with the Heat”.

*************

This is a Listicle Friday post. It’s the Week 2, of the old school blogging, prompt for the Finish the Sentence Friday writing community where I’m co-hosting with Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee. This week we are sharing “10 things about the changing of the seasons”.

 

 

First Day of “College”

I had already decided which old post I was going to re-post for Finish the Sentence Friday’s “Share an Old Post” when I came across this status in my Facebook memories from 8 (gulp) years ago and decided (being that it is so timely) I would share the post related to the “college” status instead.

 

From the “Everything is Related” series:

Everything is Related – Toy Story

– Everything being related, many times, is the ability to relate one movie or actor to another. This has helped him to be more open to watching something that may not be Disney-based. This was not always the case, but now he can go and enjoy a movie with his friends or at an ARC activity without issue……..

Everything being related, oftentimes just explains his love for a particular city, game, song or some of the many other things that he does or says.

Everything being related,  has, many times been used as a learning tool. “

This post is about just that…

ts

DC as Woody and Candy as Jessie from Toy Story – Halloween

Again we start at Disney. Disney, Disney, Disney anything Disney. When the first Toy Story came out way back when, I wasn’t sure DC would really go for it at all. Yes, it was Disney, but it was not the Disney he was used to. There were no princesses, no castles, no Haley Mills and most of all, no music. Of course I know that there was music, but not the “Hollywood musical” type of music – characters would not be belting out a song at the drop of a hat. DC was never a “toy” kind of kid. He never really liked or played with toys, so the toys in the movie were nothing that he would be familiar with. But, to my surprise, he loved it AND the two that came after. This boy who does not like toys actually owned a Woody, Buzz, Mr. Potato Head and a Jessie. No, he did not want to play with them, he just wanted to own them.

Tom Hanks brought him to “The Polar Express” and of course “Saving Mr. Banks” (also related to Mary Poppins).

Tim Allen…..Tim Allen….. he loves Tim Allen. That love brought him to “Jungle to Jungle”, all of the Santa Clause movies, “Christmas with the Kranks” and “Home Improvement” (yes, woo hoo, an actual TV show)…. but there is more…..

When DC was younger, transitioning into a new school was never easy, but it did seem to be easier on him than some of his other friends (and me).  “School age” for Special Education here is 3-21 years of age. So there were many moves and many transitions during his time in the school system – kindergarten building to elementary, to middle school, to high school. The school handled these transitions very well. They started early with many tours of the new school, picture books with photos of the classroom and other areas of the school and a few visits (orientations) with parents. DC was always anxious about these moves but he always did rather well due to all of the work the school system and I put in to make the transitions go as smoothly as possible.

The number of children in SPED in DC’s age group seemed to be much larger than the kids moving up in previous years. This meant that the schools they were moving up to had a lot more students to accommodate at one time than ever before. We always joked that our kids always seemed to be the “test subjects” for these new or expanded programs. At times this did not go well.

When DC was in his junior year, I started looking at alternate programs for him to attend for his last two years of school. DC would walk with his class at graduation at the end of his senior year (at 18) and then either spend two more years in the high school or I could have him out-placed into a different program that focused more on getting him ready for the next phase – a work/day program and life. I already knew I did not want him in the high school for another two years and I was already leaning towards another program the next town over. Mid-senior year, the high school announced that they were creating a transition program of their own in conjunction with a local university. It would be up and running in time for our kids to start that September. The program they came up with sounded wonderful but, our kids would be the first ones through and again the “test subjects”. This worried me.

On the other hand, I was torn because it had only been over the previous couple of years that DC recognized “friends”. He had real friends. Not just the children of my adult friends, but real friends. People that HE considered friends. Friends that he did things with and wanted to do things with. DC had always gravitated more towards adults and with the exception of his friend of many years, BB, he did not pay much attention to kids his age at all. I didn’t want him to lose that connection. I rationalized that “social skills” were one of his major issues and if I tried this program and really did not like it, I could always move him to the other program I was looking at earlier.

Putting this program together was a long process. Obviously there are many legal issues to address when creating this type of program. By mid-summer the other parents and I were beginning to panic that this program was not going to be up and running by September. Fortunately by August it was a go, but they had lost all of that transition time they would have had during the school year. We did get to visit a few times before the school year started and I did talk to him about it all summer. Some of my friends children have siblings that went off to college so in turn their children expected to go off to college too. DC doesn’t think like that. He doesn’t have any expectation of what should come next. He lives in the ‘now’ until the ‘now’ changes to a new ‘now’, but we were calling it ‘college’ for everyone’s benefit. “College, College, College” he was going to college. I was still worried, having missed all of that transition time.

Toy Story 3 had come out right around this time. We bought the DVD and watched it at some point during that summer. It didn’t even occur to me while we were watching it or even up to the point when DC was standing at the front door waiting for the bus on the first day of school, that he made a connection in his head with the movie…..

He turned to me and said “Mom, I am going to college, just like Andy in Toy Story”

….. and he was.

With that, everything was just fine.

****

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday (5th Friday of the month) post – 

Share anything previously written! Post an old post for some new eyes, write something new and link that to an old one… 

Hosted by  Kenya G. Johnson  of https://www.kenyagjohnson.com/

and Kristi Campbell of https://findingninee.com/

Jekyll Island, First Flight and Barney Colorforms

I always loved this photo of DC. I love the floppy hat, the bench on the beach and other than my eyebrows, I love everything about this picture.

DC was a year old and his father and I, in all of our infinite wisdom decided to fly to Savannah GA and Jekyll Island. DC had never flown before. We figured that since it would be a relatively short flight (3? hours), he would be just fine.

It really was not all that bad on the way down until we had to change flights in Atlanta. When he realized that he was not done and was getting on another plane, he just screamed and screamed and screamed

and screamed.

All the way there. I was armed with everything I thought I would need to help keep him occupied (remember, we had no iPhones, iPads or any sort of technology back then); his favorite cheese nips, juice, books and I’m sure some other items but he was not having any of it. He just screamed and screamed and screamed

and screamed.

It was amazing how long and hard that little skinny child could scream.

It is amazing to me how much he loves to fly now. After this trip, I thought we would never get him on a plane again.

Flight behind us (until we had to get back home) – this trip is where DC developed his absolute and complete love of hotel rooms. These days, he packs all of his technology, DVD’s and books and takes “his spot” at the desk. There was none of that back then.

He did find the full length mirror on the inside of the bathroom door and not being one to ever pass up looking at himself in the mirror, plopped himself on the floor in front of it and applied and re-applied his Barney Colorforms to the mirror, over and over again, for hours. He could have done that forever.  I was VERY happy I decided to grab and pack those at the last minute – purely out of desperation in anticipation of his first flight! It’s funny because that he did not have much interest in Colorforms at home, but he came up with a different use for them in that room that made him happy.

I had totally forgotten about Colorforms in general until I began writing this.

Do they still make Colorforms?

In between the flights to and home (the flight home was just as, if not more horror filled than the flight there because the screaming began as soon as we stepped on to the first flight) we had a nice time. The area was beautiful. DC loved the beach, “swimming” in the pool and of course the hotel room.

It was his first official attempt at travel and although some of it did not go very well at all, the rest of it was just fine. The “just fine” outweighs the terror of that first flight.

I love this photo

I miss him at that age.

I miss that little face.

I wish I saved that little floppy hat.

1 dc jekyl island 1992

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This weeks prompt,  “Share a photo and the story behind it!”

Finish the Sentence Friday is hosted by Kristi at Finding Ninee and Kenya at Sporadically Yours

 

 

The End of Summer?

Like clockwork on August first, DC started talking about the last day of camp, which I discovered last year really meant that he THINKS the last day of camp marks the end of summer and in his mind the air conditioners will be coming out.

Until last summer when he must have heard someone at camp call the last day “the end of summer”, DC was resigned to the fact that the air conditioners do not come out until late October or November. Just hearing one person say “Camp is over, Summer is over” has moved his expectations up for “air conditioner – free” living. And like last year, he was not happy to hear that there is some summer left after camp is over. Life was much easier when his expectations went to October (or November).

Is it hot in here or is it just me?

(Originally posted August 2017 on Take Another Step – Life with DC)

It was very early in August and I could not believe that DC seemed to be getting excited about the last day of camp as if he was willing it to be over. He loves camp and I did not understand why he wanted it to end so badly.

He started saying “This week, the last day of camp? Camp is over?” on Thursday the 4th.
I told him he had the following day and next week left.

“Next week, last day of camp? Camp is over?”

Yes, You went today and you will go tomorrow then Thursday and Friday next week. Next Friday is the last day. 

I was confused because he loves camp so I tried to get him to tell me why he wanted camp to be over. Wasn’t he having fun?

“Yes, DC is having fun with my friends”

So I gave him a choice…

DC would you rather to to ARC (work) or Camp?

“DC want to go to Camp, see my friends”

Do you like camp? You don’t have to go if you don’t like it any more.

“Yes, like camp. Fun with friends”

Let me just break here to explain that although DC understands the seasons, he cannot always tell you that July is summer or September or October is fall. Summer is HOT. Winter is COLD – so if we happen to be in Florida in January, it is summer – in his mind. He knows the seasons and the months that go with them by memory, not by understanding. They do not always make sense to him and when he is not concentrating or has something else on his mind he goes by the weather, period.

This week he started asking me about the last day of camp again and added “Summer is over”.
I told him that camp would be over on Friday but summer would not be over for a few more weeks.

He looked very disappointed by that.

It was then, as he stood there staring at the air conditioner and looking forlorn about summer not ending on Friday, that I realized what was going on in his head.

Someone at camp must have mentioned the end of summer. DC got it into his head that summer was over on the last day of camp.

DC hates the air conditioner. He thought he would be getting rid of it earlier this year because he heard and believed that the end of summer THIS year would be the last day of camp.

He must have been excited thinking he would be getting a break earlier than usual. As per the conversation we had before someone mentioned camp being the end of summer – he was looking at October as the end of the air conditioning. No wonder he looked so disappointed when I told him there was still more summer ahead…

<From Facebook Status 8/1/17 (before his end of camp/summer assumption)>

I know the air conditioner bothers DC but I usually don’t hear about it after the first few weeks after it goes in (it went in, in April) – Today is August 1st aka #CalendarFlipDay and after flipping all of the calendars, DC said…
DC: My ‘Hair-dish-on’ out in October
Me: What?
DC: ‘Hair-dish-on’ out at Halloween.
Me: (wondering why he is talking about Halloween)
I don’t know what you mean.
‘DC: ‘Hair-dish-on’ FAN out at Halloween!
Me: Ohhhhhh, the Air Conditioner! October or November, okay?
DC: October
(He’s hoping that the air conditioner is out by Halloween. He knows that removing the A/C is NOT a decision I make lightly or early.) I guess even though he might stop talking about it after the first few weeks after it goes in; it still bothers him.
He’s looking for the light at the end of the tunnel – and even if it’s two months away; he wants to know it’s coming.
#WishfullThinking #IsItHotInHereOrIsItJustMe

———

I really do feel for him but I can’t take them out early. I can’t do it… I just can’t:

<From Facebook Status >

I can’t say “shopping for a bathing suit” is on my list of  “Seven Things I Hate About Summer” because I just don’t do that….. haven’t owned one in years..

Number 1-7 for me THESE DAYS are:
1. IT’S HOT!
2. It’s too hot
3. Why is it this hot?
4. I can’t take this heat!
5. Holy S&%#! I am not going out there!
6. I AM ON FIRE!!
7. IT’S Too #$&%in’ HOT!

#IsItHotInHereOrIsItJustMe
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
(you can pretty much count on hearing all of the above year round from me, though)

——–
<Facebook Status >

DC: Mom, Fan, Flapping, whoo, Mom, Flap like bird.
***
(DC pointing out that my “I’m sweating to death” episodes include some of my very own “Flapping” …. Seriously, that’s kind of amazing that he’s made that connection…)
#IsItHotInHereOrIsItJustMe

——–
<Facebook Status>

#IsItHotInHereOrIsItJustMe enough said…

——-
<Facebook Status >

Dc wakes up in the middle of the night (yes, it’s 50 degrees and yes, I have both air conditioners running at the coldest temperatures) –
DC:”Mom! The Fan is Freezing!” – from the boy who never seems affected by heat or cold.
DC: “Mom! Turn it off!”
Me: “DC, I’m sorry but I can not do that. You will have to use another blanket”
I will do just anything for this child, except turn the AC off.
#IsItHotInHereOrIsItJustMe

——-

<Facebook Status>

DC just came home from his Dad’s. It’s 9 bazillion degrees (to me anyway) so yes I have the AC on. He just came down stairs with his long pink and mauve pajama bottoms (the same PJs that he had to have in Niagara Falls), his big Doctor Who Robe, Doctor Who slippers and a stick on mustache. Who says we lack any fashion sense?
#IsItHotInHereOrIsItJustMe
#TheMustacheMustKeepHisFaceWarm
oh…. and the teal Cookie Monster shirt.

——–

As you can see, this is not an issue that is new and does not look as if it will be resolved any time soon (unfortunately for the both of us)….

I am very soon off to bed armed with ice pack, my cooling pillow and the A/C set at “ultimate freeze” ~ Happy August. Here’s to looking forward to the “end of summer”.

Summer Reruns: Shore Leave

Four years ago this weekend, we made the ‘Trek’ to Baltimore to attend Shore Leave…… yes, everyone puts up with me and my Star Trek obsession.

The previous October, we 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 Comic-Con we decided  Shore Leave would be a breeze.

To Boldy Go....

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.

We left on Thursday afternoon as soon as DC came home from his work program. It took a full 8 hours to get there (traffic). It was late but at least we would be there to spend some time in Baltimore on Friday before Shore Leave opened on Friday night.

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 (DC) 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 to “his” desk and all of his “stuff”.

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….

 

*****

(This post was originally posted as “To Boldly Go” in August 2014)

The Couch; Another Round

 

A couple of weeks ago on the 4th, my neighbors decided to blow off “cannons” right under our window………It went on for hours.

Now, DC really does not mind fireworks when he is expecting them. It’s the fireworks that begin two weeks before and continue on for a month after the 4th that bother him. Being a guy who is terrified of storms, hearing these random fireworks does not go over all that well.  Even on the 4th when he should be expecting them, he certainly is not agreeable to the noise when it sounds like a cannon is going off directly under our window.

Due to the my neighbors and a couple of pretty good storms over the last few weeks, we have been sleeping on the couch.

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.

I am old. Everything hurts after sleeping on the couch for more than a few days.

It is not always easy to get him back to his room and into his bed, especially at this time of year when the storms just seem to  keep on coming. It doesn’t even need to be a storm – clouds, dark skies, rain or anything that puts the notion of a storm in his head is enough to send us “to the couches”.

Our last round of couch-sleeping lasted more than 2 years. I am hoping this round does not last anywhere near that long.

It’s only been two weeks but I am tired.

It’s only been two weeks but I am afraid that there are plenty more storms ahead. ‘Tis the season.

It’s only been two weeks but I can already tell that it is going to be a very long summer.

It’s only been two weeks but……….. I miss my bed.

***

Ahhh, but there is always a little bit of a bright side  – FB Status – July 17, 2018)

 

Between looking out the door and repeating “Storm is over soon, Storm go away, I am brave, Storm is over soon……” DC kept coming into the room with his hands in prayer position, bowing and saying “Yay! We Must Stay”. I just assumed it was more drama about the storm but I’d never heard him say this before so I asked him (thinking it must be a movie line) where this was from…..
DC: Yoga Class
(I’ll give you a minute….. 😂😂😂😂😂)

*********

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday  5-minute stream-of-consciousness post about “My Bed” hosted by Kristi Campbell of  Finding Ninee and Kenya G. Johnson of Sporadically Yours 

 

 

Camp, Old Friends and a Little Bit of Anxiety

Yesterday was the first day of summer camp for DC and Salli. DC has talked about nothing else since I told him he would be going on Thursdays and Fridays for the summer. I did not tell him too early because…….

enough said.

He was excited, to say the least.

Not only would he be going to camp but his his favorite ex-group leader, “Giselle” (everyone is named for a Disney character or Princess) would be taking the head position in the after camp program this year!

What you need to know about DC is that no matter how much he wants to go somewhere or how much he is looking forward to going, there is always an element of anxiety that hits him when he arrives…. I like to call it “Arrival Anxiety”.

This anxiety is not anything new with DC, it just seems to be a little more intense, and dare I say, loud since he has been on his seizure medication. It is as if someone flips a switch and there it is. It can be brought on by anything or nothing at all. It just “is”.  It also takes him a little bit longer to shake it off now-a-days. For camp drop off, this means a big production until the switch gets flipped back and I am able to leave.

My other concern was that DC, as soon as he heard he’d be going back to camp, began asking for his friend Ron (see story below). Ron had moved out of state a few years ago but still came up to visit his aunt (who was the camp director) and volunteer at camp each summer. With his aunt stepping down as director I was not sure that Ron would be volunteering any longer.

I tried to prep DC ahead of time, just in case Ron was not there this year. He seemed to understand, but with DC one never knows if he is “getting it” until he’s faced with whatever I was hoping he was understanding.

I saw that flip switch before we even left the house.

“Please DC, don’t do this today. Try to calm down and breathe before we get there”. Yes, I know that I can’t just talk someone out of anxiety, but still one can hope.

By the time we picked up Salli, he was “roaring and growling”. It wasn’t looking good.

Somewhere between Salli’s house and camp, he turned a corner and he was just the happy, goofy guy he had been before he went ’round the bend earlier at home. It stops and starts just that quickly, with no warning and often no explanation.

I did not know what snapped him out of it in the car but I was relieved for the moment. I knew that this did not necessarily mean it was over as we hadn’t actually “arrived” yet,  but I was hopeful.

Still holding my breath, we pulled into the driveway and got out of the car….. and there was Ron!

ALL HAIL the the Spirit of Chief Gotchabagollie (it’s a camp thing, don’t try to figure it out)!!!!

They hugged each other and DC announced something like “It’s a beautiful day” – that was not exactly what he said, but I knew what he meant and his day was now made.

As DC would say; Phew!

More about Ron and DC (from 2015)

Best Camp Ever!

Yesterday was DC’s last day of camp. The last day is also always “Awards Day”. When DC came home I asked him if he got an award. He said he did. He didn’t have anything with him so I asked him where it was – “At the camp”. (I don’t know if he actually won an award). I asked him what award he won…..
“Best Camp Ever!”

I am sure he did not win an award for “the best camp ever” although he reported it that way to more than one person. I do know that he was really excited about camp that day.

Feeling bad that he had to miss so much of the little bit of time he was scheduled to go to camp this year, I arranged for him to attend on the last two days instead of just his scheduled Friday. It did not make up for the rest of the summer but at least he would be there two days in a row during the last week.

When I called to ask if he could attend the extra day the director let me know that her nephew *Ron would be there volunteering that week. Ron is one of DC’s favorite people at the camp. Ron has been around and volunteering for quite a few years. Like most of the volunteers, he spent a good part of his summers at camp.

DC really, really likes Ron and when DC likes someone – he really LIKES them, to a point that he really needs to be reeled in so as not to frighten the subjects of his admiration. DC really does not understand that not everyone wants to be hugged, not everyone wants him right in their face all of the time. He gets so excited over these chosen few that I really worry that he will end up pushing them away. You have not experienced fear until you see this guy come barreling at you at full speed.  Even though at this point I know he is running to give me a hug and even though I know he will be able to stop before mowing right over me,  as he is coming at me and in the moment, I am still convinced that he is going to knock me into the next town.

The friends that he sees often are used to this and because he sees them often do not always get the in-your-face DC…… not continuously, anyway. There are a chosen few that he does not get to see all that often, that really get the full DC-experience. If I know we may be coming in contact with any of these people ahead of time, I do try to have a conversation with him before we arrive.

He is supposed to ask permission of the person before hugging, unless of course it is someone we have already established does not mind being on the receiving end of that back crushing hug. Normally when I have to make a rule, DC is good about adhering it. This particular rule seems to give him a bit of trouble. He just gets too excited to think about the rules.

He has had a few experiences where someone was absolutely NOT happy with DC’s attention.  In one instance it caused a schoolmate to have meltdown. This upset DC for days. He doesn’t understand. It is not clear to him why he can hug some friends and not others. Some just try to avoid him, a few put up with it because they understand and others do not mind at all and actually are happy to see him. Ron is in the “happy to see him” group.

A few years ago, Ron moved down south with his family. DC continued to look for him at camp and every camp event throughout the year. As soon as he was aware that a winter camp activity was coming the very first question would be about Ron. It took a good long while for him to understand that he had moved far away. I am still not sure that he quite understands ‘moved away’ but he does finally understand that Ron will not be there all the time as he once was.

Ron does come back on vacation to visit his aunt during the summer and comes to volunteer while he is here. In case you missed that…… He spends his vacation volunteering at the camp. Impressed? I certainly am.

DC was so happy to hear that Ron would be there and I am so glad I opted for that extra day. Ron doesn’t seem to mind having DC all over him all day. He is very good with him and I don’t feel as if I have to give DC too many instructions beforehand because I know Ron can handle it.

Halfway through the last day of camp I received a text from the assistant director with this photo.

camp 20151

 

I know that DC did not win “The Best Camp Ever” award. I am sure he was telling me that he had the best day at camp ever  –  and a good part of that due to his friend Ron.

*****

*Name changed

 

 

 

 

Our Kids Are People.

I have read and shared a couple of pieces just this week (here and here) about a subject that many people just do not seem to understand.

Our Kids Are People.

One might think that this would be something that should not have to be explained, but believe it or not, it is. Praising your child for spending time with or eating lunch with the SPED student or someone who is viewed as different is in reality, teaching your child that our kids are not people and that treating them as you would treat anybody else is cause for celebration.

*The TSA agent who decided that because DC is autistic, there was no reason to speak to him or treat him like a human being. He just grabbed him and patted him down. The mere mention of autism led the agent to believe that DC did not have to be treated as a “person”.

People do at times overlook him completely and direct their questions to me instead of talking to him. I do always ask him the question myself and make sure he gives the person the answer himself. I mentioned earlier in the post that I thought that there was no way on earth that the security guards did not understand even before I explained that DC has autism.  Now as I think about it, I wonder if they actually did understand and decided that due to his autism, they did not really need to talk to DC directly at all…… and THAT is a problem.

*The “Volunteer” that we will talk about in the post below.

*The people who refuse to even respond to DC when he attempts to socialize. It happens quite often.

These people have decided that DC has a disability and therefore does not deserve to be treated as a human being – he doesn’t know any better. Well, he does know. He can and does get his feeling hurt.

Along these same lines… if you or your child are going to volunteer for some sport or activity, please be sure you/they are doing it for the right reasons and remember that our kids are people too.

Originally Posted in April 2018 on the other blog:

Attention Awareness, you missed a spot

Doug works as a job coach in a transition program. Like the program that DC attended through our school system (18-21) but located at a local college, the program Doug works for is through that town’s school system and is located in their local college. Doug will also volunteer his time to DJ dances for his students.

While on our way to one of DC’s events, I asked Doug how the dance went the night before. He said that it went well. Then he began telling me that one of the college’s sports teams had to do some community service hours – I thought he was going to say that they volunteered at the dance….

…but no.

They opted to have dinner with some of his students in the cafeteria before the dance. Basically, they took 45 minutes < Insert Sarcasm Font> out of their busy day to have dinner in the cafeteria with these kids <End Sarcasm Font>.

So…….. having dinner with one of our kids is now considered community service???

I wonder if there will be a video?

Awareness……. FAIL!

******

After hearing the volunteer/dance story in the car, we arrived at DC’s event.

DC is a participant in a few sports teams. As with most of the teams he participates in, each participant is assigned a “Buddy” who carries their equipment, directs them to what they are supposed to be doing and where they are going and helps them out during the game.

DC has a buddy who does not acknowledge him at all. She doesn’t say hello, she really does not even look at him. I thought maybe she was just shy at first, but she has no problem talking to her two friends (who are also ignoring their participants for the entire time we are there).

DC knows he is supposed to stay with his buddy, so he got a little bit nervous when she and her two friends walked through the halls on the way to the gym in the front of the line and DC was way in the back (they are supposed to walk with their buddies). Later in the “holding area” where they were waiting for their turn, she stood with her two friends, back to DC who just stood there alone – the entire time. Twice I had to go and move DC over because she had his equipment over her shoulder and I was sure she was going to hit him in the face with it each time she moved. I thought maybe she would get the hint, but she did not. She never even acknowledged he was there.
This is not the first game where I noticed this and Doug (who notices nothing – his words not mine) actually brought it up to me more than once.

When it was finally their turn to play, they went out to the gym (no, she did not walk with DC), had their turn and then…….. she just walked out of the gym leaving DC standing there in the middle of the gym by himself. Fortunately I was close enough to get to him before he ended up in the middle of the crowd at the doors, where if he got that far, I would still be looking for him now.
She did not even turn around to see where he was – she just left.

I did report it via email to the coach (after we left the building because I just did not trust myself to be civil to this girl and just wanted to leave the area).

After I got over the whole safety issue of him getting lost in the crowd (I have nightmares of him getting lost in a crowd – always), I began to realize that this was not about her being shy, this was not about her not knowing what to do – this was about her treating him as if he were not a person.

A shy person would say hello. A shy person might maybe look in his general direction once in a while. A shy person would at least acknowledge his existence. She does none of those things…. not one. If you were there to see this, you would understand that this is NOT just a case of her wanting to spend time with her friends.

She treats him as if he does not exist, as if he is not a person.

You have to wonder what motivates her to even volunteer with this team.

Common courtesy would motivate a person to at the very least,  say hello. Apparently some people do not see our children as real people. This is a problem.

AWARENESS: Fail!