Use your words

This is how the advice sounds when I’m exasperated. It’s not fair at all, because one of the things about Asperger’s for my kids is that it makes the path from idea to vocal cord very cumbersome indeed, and one of those concepts that I have to explain regularly is, “The words in your heart don’t reach my ears if you don’t use your mouth.” But it’s been a “Use your words” kind of weekend around here, and so I give you the advice I all but shouted to my children earlier today. (Parenting fail.)

Thanks for letting me vent, Trifecta.… Read the rest

Of speaking and silence

CarolineWithSky“Caroline, help Lisa with her seatbelt.” I handed my daughter her classmate’s buckle.

Lisa said, “I got it,” in her nasal, robotic voice.

Caroline tilted her head and moved her mouth, but nothing came out. Her words had gone away again.

I climbed in up front and scanned the permission slip. “Crap, Scott which thing are we going to?”

Scott finished clicking in Sam. “Which what? Yogurt shop?”

“Yeah.”

“I thought you knew.”

“Well, I don’t, and the paperwork doesn’t say.”

“I’ll go in and ask.”

“The teachers are right there. Ask them.”

A minute later, with the right destination in hand, we started out of the lot.… Read the rest

Pay it Forward January

CarolineShySmile A couple of awesome bloggers, Missy over at Literal Mom and Carolyn of Hooked and Happy have a meme called Pay it forward. They ask people to do random acts of kindness and write about it in a post, not because they want back pats, but to encourage others to do the same. The meme was initiated before the Sandy Hook tragedy, but it has really taken on new significance in that light.

But my contribution isn’t some specific act I performed. I agree with Missy’s logic that it’s better to do good always, rather than to commit to a mere 26 acts of kindness, as thoughtful and symbolic as that gesture may be.… Read the rest

My Children Have Asperger’s

My kids’ Christmas party was yesterday. It’s the first time I’ve been to their school since the Sandy Hook tragedy. In the lobby, one mother asked if the front desk could have a panic button installed, just in case. The secretary, whose son also attends the school, agreed it would be a good idea. I’m not typically given to worry about the grand scheme. You want small scale frets? I have them in plenty. Conspiracy theories? I’m your woman. But the big stuff doesn’t usually bother me.

This does.

My kids were with me on Friday, December 14. It was my birthday, and the opening night of the Nutcracker, in which they both performed.… Read the rest

Learning Curve

When Caroline was three, she hated swings and couldn’t dangle from monkey bars. She knew her colors, but she couldn’t recite them reliably. She loved the slide at the local park, but if she didn’t walk to the top by exactly the same route every time, she sat down and cried. She adored other children, but if a group of them came too close, she put her hands over her ears and cowered. And ‘too close’ was typically about a car’s length away.

In the bathroom, she never washed her hands without a fight. The preschool director used to accompany her and talk her gently through the process multiple times a day.… Read the rest

Sam Part III

If you’re not familiar with Sam’s story, start with Sam Part I and Sam Part II. Then, if you’d like a happy little interlude, try out Beauty and the Beast. Although the story below will make sense without the background, the background will help. A lot.

___________________________

I just took some chocolate chip cookies to the neighbor’s house. Normally, I do that to express sympathy. I eat for comfort. Surely you do, as well. But today, I was saying, “Thank you.”  We barely know these neighbors, a married couple with teen kids. In the three years we’ve lived here, we’ve exchanged maybe thirty words.… Read the rest

Thank God For the Fireflies

Sam proves that they're called 'monkey bars' for a reasonThe super moon has turned Sam into a super monster. Seriously. He’s been on a rampage today. He isn’t normally all that talkative, but today? It’s been nonstop words. We took him to the zoo this morning, and I swear to God he woke up every snake in the reptile house bellowing “HERE I AM,” as he ran in the door.

When we got home, we tried to slow things down with a viewing of Wall-E. Scott and I enjoyed the movie. What little we saw of it between “hug attacks” and “What’s that?” bombardment. (NB: This is a kid who can follow Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen so I know he’s full of piss and vinegar when he claims to be unclear about a Pixar plot.… Read the rest

Zombie Jesus

Short entries are supposed to be best, so I’ll keep this one to the point. This is a great Caroline tale. And today is the right day to retell it, for sure.

Scott is Christian. I’m agnostic. When we lived in Lexington, we went to Scott’s Presbyterian church and sent Caroline to preschool in a synagogue. Right across the hall from Caroline’s room, the temple held its bar/bah mitzavah classes, and there was overlap between the beginning of big-kid class and little-kid-pickup time. The big kids discussed important religious questions at length.

Keep this in mind.

The nursery at Scott’s church understood that although Caroline didn’t have a formal autism diagnosis at that point, there were social delays that made it difficult to move her up to the appropriate preschool Sunday School class.… Read the rest

Spectrum

Listen, we’ve only got a little while to get this wrong. After that, our kids can screw things up for themselves. I feel for the parents whose children may never be independent, for the ones who just don’t know. Scott and I are so lucky, because we do know. Our kids won’t just become independent adults, they’ll have college degrees to show for it. Even though we get things wrong right and left, our kids are turning out just fine.

Assuming that Sam gets that little monster temper under control, he’s going to be a good student. He’ll dance circles around his academic subjects, I’m certain.… Read the rest

Celebrate CALM Part One

I attended a mini-conference last week, and because I am me, I’ve been mulling it over ever since. It was one of these parenting seminars destined to be either spectacular or spectacularly dumb. I should assert here that my inner skeptic was expecting the latter.

A little background. I do not approve of parenting via the fluffy-cloud method.  Scott and I once paid some $400 for a parenting course that was ALL 1970s schmaltz.  The class text even used the phrase “hang-up”. Does it get more 1970s than “hang-up”? And yet, I loved that syrupy thing. Every annoying idea that irked me actually had practical applications that were anything but stupid.… Read the rest