Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's the Little Things

You never know what you don't know.

Does that make sense?

What I mean is, I have no idea what I have to work on with TJ until I start working on something else.

Summer is very hard.  I can't just send TJ to camp.  He is a home body.  Well, truth be told, he is one of the laziest kiddos I know (he gets it from me).  All he wants to do is stay at home and play on his iPad.  If you know anything about autism, you know that this is a bad thing to let him do all day, every day.  So it's my job to shake things up for him and get him moving.  I'm no autism specialist, but I am a TJ specialist.  So while I can't direct him in academics, I can direct him in simple everyday life lessons.

Like walking down a sidewalk with someone.

That sounds like nothing, right?  Well, in my simple desire of just wanting him to get out of the house and move, I have unearthed more things that come so easily to other people, but are difficult for TJ.

Things like sharing sidewalk space.  He walks right down the middle, as if he's alone.  I've had to remind him that we are supposed to be walking together, and to make room next to him for me.  

Then, there's pace.  He has long giraffe legs so he walks faster than I do.  I've reminded him repeatedly to slow down and match pace with the person he's with.  

He keeps forgetting both.  I've gotten stepped on quite a bit.  He's got big feet.

Then there is conversation.  Waiting for responses.  Listening to the other person.  Asking about their interests.  Listening to the other person.  Listening to the other person.

It's challenging.  And surprising.  Surprising that he didn't already know these things.  But these are the small, simple things that create connections with others.  And for a kid about to start high school, these are so, so important.

So there you go.  I never knew what I didn't know.  

I wonder what else I don't know?....

Monday, July 14, 2014

I want you to be a girl

"Mom, did dad feed my fish?
"TJ I don't know.  He's walking the dog; you're going to have to wait until he's home and ask him."
"Argh.  Ok."

About 10 minutes later....

"Mom do you know if dad fed my fish?"
"TJ please wait until dad is home so you can ask him yourself, ok?"

And 5 minutes after that....

"Mom did dad feed my fish or not?!"
"TJ do you remember what I answered a few minutes ago?"
"That I have to wait until he's back from his walk and ask him myself."
"That's right."

"God that's so annoying TJ!  Mom said you have to wait!  Didn't you listen?!"

I quietly asked Peter to come into my room.

"Pete, some things we just have to accept and be patient about with TJ."

"I know but it's so annoying!  And he learns stuff all the time, maybe he can change.  I'm sick of it."

"Well what if I said I'm sick of your hair and I wish it were black?"

"Anyone can change their hair color."

"Ok then, Pete, I wish you were a girl.  How about that?"


"Pete honey, I absolutely do not wish you were a girl.  But what if I did?  You can't just change the nature of who you are, can you?"


"Well neither can TJ, sweetie.  Some things we just have to be patient with, no matter how annoying."

"Ugh.  I get it mom."

It's going to be interesting to see, as Peter gets older, how he deals with his developing understanding of autism and the role it plays in his life.  It's going to be bumpy, just like anything a kid needs to learn about.  But I also know that when push comes to shove, no one has TJ's back like his brother.

We will see.  

And if he's annoyed by this, what's he going to do when Sean and I tease him in front of his future girlfriends?!?!  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Lessons Learned

Here are some things I've learned lately:

According to TJ, his cousins drive him "bazonkers".  That doesn't stop him from turning into Shecky Jordan at night and saying boarderline inappropriate things to make them all laugh.  I love it.

My brilliant sister, the smartest person I know, gets incredibly freaked out in water where she can't see her feet.  Never knew that.  And she still swims in the lake with her kids, because that's the kind of mom she is.

My brother-in-law is a fantastic person and so much fun to be around.  I already knew this but I just thought it should be said.

When you have a friend who just radiates goodness, and he has a faboo wedding to another guy who also radiates goodness, chances are it will be a fantastic wedding where you will love his friends, who also radiate goodness.  Even while giving some fierce Resting Bitch Face (or RBF).

My youngest is quite possibly the sweetest kid/young man on the planet.  Thoughtful, empathetic, helpful, loving.  With the best nose freckles evah.  

My Sean continues to be the biggest dreamboat, and the best friend, I could ever imagine.  And a great person to road trip with. 

And finally, I've learned that good things come to those who wait.  I'm 3 years sober today.  This past year has been a difficult struggle, to say the least, and it was worth every second to get me where I am today.  Happy and healthy.  With cute shoes.  Always with cute shoes.

Oh - I also learned that a ball thwacky game thingy is called a "ding-a-ling", which really just seems kind of insulting.  It should be named something much cooler.  Like Knuckle Buster.