It’s been a while since my last virtual adventure 🙂 you know, life happens – school, job, kids, God forbid major changes 🙂 One of my SATB2 mom friends asked for a couple paragraphs about Paul so I started thinking about my own little literature adventure. so here I am again..
I know Holidays are tough, even on typical folks. SN is a different kind of rough / tough, right?! From the overall excitement that transfers over to SN kiddo, getting things ready (cleaning, cooking, baking, chores etc), school projects being due, to kids getting on winter break, stores overflowing with Christmas stuff, caroling everywhere and everything else in between… enough to get you go crazy, right? and eventually transfer your craziness over to your kid(s) and/or your SN kid(s).
It happens. I wish I had a secret recipe, a perfect combination, something, to help with the many meltdowns, yelling, screaming, things not being done (in time or at all), but I don’t. What works for other kids, doesn’t work for mine – guaranteed 😉 So then I improvise. I do my best to adapt many “tricks” (that work on typical kids) to what I know works for Paul (most of them don’t but I feel I am a bad mom if I don’t at least try – “hey, it worked with another 14 yo, why wouldn’t it work for mine?”).
But I digress… back to our adventures during fall season. Like most SN kids with autistic features, Paul is very OCD – very. And he fixates on major holidays (surprise, right?), from Halloween, to Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s (I am pretty sure he doesn’t understand what they represent but is attracted by them). So fall and winter seasons are great for him – from the very pure joy you can easily read on his face all the way to the presents he gets to give and receive. And the scariest meltdowns and screams. Usually… but not this time. Which came as a pleasant surprise – is he maturing, has he started to understand more abstract things (like holidays, meaning behind them and traditions)? Not really sure what or why but this year was different (and I really hope I’m not jinxing it).
After a fairly uneventful school start in August – he got back into school routine fairly easy and quick – we got to celebrate our anniversary (early October, one week earlier than actual date) in Las Vegas – with kids, of course. And yes, it was a few days after the mass shooting so the place was even crazier than normal. Great flight & ride to hotel (awesome hotel by the way, great warm water lazy river), good behavior, eating out (just the 2 of us) etc. Until I opened my mouth and said – “lets go out and take a walk on the Strip, see the water dance in front of Bellagio”… so we go. All good until we get to Bellagio (about half an hour into it) to a Strip overflowing with people enjoying their evenings walk, taking pictures etc when my Paul snaps. Big time. Dropping to pavement screaming and raging time, trying to grab me or anyone else in his immediate circle. So I move away giving him space, he darts after me, I try to block the kicks and hands, not so successfully at first. I am trying to restrain him all while Sorin is telling me to move away and give him his space – “what if some is recording this and calling the cops on you?” “Good, then they can calm him down”… few minutes pass (all while it feels like hours to me) and slowly Paul starts to get back to calm (cant remember what I had to promise him to calm him down). The rest of the walk was fairly uneventful, the remaining visit was great. He really enjoyed seeing airplanes taking off and landing and flying close above us. All in all, a good week away from home.
Next – Halloween. Paul really loves to give out gifts and candy is no exception. Everything needs to be done a certain way; for the last few years he’s been asking for the same costume (a vampire cloak) and this year we had a new addition – a white shirt with vampire teeth – perfectness 🙂 So the candy have to be in a certain bowl (of course orange and Halloween-y), put in a certain place (on the little table by the door), Halloween-y candles and items throughout the house. Not a whole lot kids are ringing our door (one of the longest driveway in our neighborhood) but the few that do, Paul loves to give out handfuls of candy – everybody is happy: kids who get more candy than normal, Paul who gets to play host, and mom & dad who get to enjoy his happiness and not get sick (eating all that leftover candy) 🙂
Thanksgiving meant the week off for kids, not so much for parents 🙂 and a week-long visit from family. For his OCD self and his program being a bit off, he behaved (just a couple of incidents ending with mom yelling and Paul answering back in “style” aka dropping to the floor or throwing stuff around). But he did enjoy a full house.
Christmas is a special time – Paul talks about Santa non stop. Really. He is afraid to go near Santa, likes to watch from a distance. But he talks about him all.the.time. At school they have a Holiday craft fair and he always buys little items for all of us, to put under the tree. Every year. And he has pretty good taste – this year he got tree ornaments for the twins, a necklace for me, an insulated coffee cup for dad. We had Carolers stop by, a couple get-togethers with friends and Christmas day visit to Church (2 hr drive one way) all in one week. Lots of stimuli overload right? Lots of chores (and less time attending to his needs), lots of baking and cooking and new people swarming around him. And he behaved. He was great on his own turf but he was exceptionally good at Church. Four hr drive (back and forth) plus 2-3 hours at Church – Santa visited, we stayed for lunch as well. He watched the special caroling program kids from Church prepared, waited in line to get lunch, ate in the same room with other kids, watched in utter disbelieve as other kids (typical) ran around screaming and yelling and being mean to their parents and other adults.
End of year / New Year’s was pretty much uneventful – and now we’re getting ready for school again (such a looong winter break, no snow and spring-like temps did not help at all).
Paul started puberty a short while ago; I’ve been told puberty is super crazy, super moody, hormonal and absolutely wacky. So far for us its probably the best since elementary school. Yes, he has his moments but dont we all?! Yes, he’s driving me crazy with asking the same question a million times a day, constantly seeking me and needing my hand, being selfish (we go to the restaurant he wants, watching the TV program he wants, going to bed when he wants, playing/eating/reading what & when he wants etc), only accepting Dan & Laura when it suits him, etc. But he also understands more & better, has made tremendous progress (for the last progress report he is well ahead of his reading, typing and comprehension goals, life skills goals, social & emotional goals), does chores without prompting, initiates more communication, goes potty by his own volition and without prompting/reminding. And these are just a few I can think about now. Yes, he may never ride a bike, learn to play board games, read a book (in the traditional sense), learn or master currency, go on a date, have a family and for these my heart cries every minute of every day. For him, for what he might have been. But we also learned to celebrate every minuscule achievement even if its just a high-five or a “good job Paul”; the joy you can see on his face when he accomplishes something is priceless!
So learn to celebrate the minutes and the seconds not the weeks and years, learn to enjoy every little accomplishment, take one day at a time! Have an outstanding 2018 full of joy, peace and happiness!