Thank God there are people who enjoy(?) doing this for a living. Because if I were stuck up in a tall metal tower thingie and my brother arrived to save me..... well I think I would say, "marshall!!! get down from here and find someone to help me!" Not because he couldn't save me, but because I just can't picture the little kid who picked up the chair he was sitting in and put it down on his own foot and then sat there and cried in front of the video camera to be saving me from a high tower. Of course, you'll never find my butt up in anything near that high, so Marshall, don't worry, you'll never have to rescue me from one. :) But I'm glad that you find it entertaining.
Human nature allows you to become accustomed to your day to day circumstances. But I believe God whispers (and sometimes yells) on your heart and you are moved to see beyond what you normally see. And I think that you often don't see things because they are too hard or painful to bring to the fore front of your thoughts.
One of the reasons I love fall and winter is because it's socially acceptable to stay inside where it is warm. The seasons here have become very clear. It is now late spring and everyone starts to come out of their houses. Yards need attending too, the weather is warm, and kids can't wait to play outside.
Autumn loves to play outside with all the kids. And there are still tons of them around here. I'm not sure on this, but I would bet we have the highest kid to house ration on our street in our subdivision. Autumn is old enough to play on her own without us standing over her and watching every move. And it's wonderful for her to be able to play and socialize and be active. I'm happy for that. 99.9% of the time Will is very content to play inside. In his own world of make believe, costumes, computer and video games and toys and books. And it's safe and it doesn't require us to face the hard challenges.
What challenges?? Yes, Will is doing great, he's smart, he's loving, he can talk now, he doesn't have many behaviors, we can take him places, he does what we ask him to, he's a great kid, and for the most part LOOKS like any other first grade boy. But he's not. He has autism. Yes, he still has autism. Not aspergers. Autism. And it's a real disability. Not an excuse for bad behavior, not just a label for an 'odd' person. A disability. Now he can talk, now he can read and do regular classroom work, now he can do all the things that can technically make him 'get by'. But he doesn't have the skills to maintain a relationship. Not yet anyhow. It becomes painfully more apparent as he gets older. One of the hardest parts is that for the most part he doesn't have a desire to. What comes naturally to a seven year old child are friendships. The need to play and connect with other children. And around this age they start to form strong bonds, wanting to always play with a certain person, wanting to go to their houses, having them over, talking about them and ultimately being crushed when they feel the slightest bit of rejection from them. I know this because I've had two other 7 year olds. But now I have one that doesn't seem to 'get' that part. It sucks and it makes me mad. It's bittersweet because he is starting to recognize it. It's so very encouraging when I see that he realizes that somehow he's not fitting in. Encouraging because then I at least know that HE is starting to understand. On one hand I would like to keep him sheltered from those feelings and for him to never understand that he doesn't get it. But I know that without this realization, he will never 'get it'.
So I pushed him to ask his sister if he could play too. She was outside with other kids. He yelled to her, 'autumn, can I play too??' Not now she said. He came in and said, 'she said not now'. Not really sad about it , just matter of fact. A few minutes later I prompted him to ask again. Same thing. I can't expect her to want him around all the time. I can't expect her to be the perfect therapist to her younger brother. She's 10. Well, I can expect her to be her and to do what I know she can do. So I called to her and she knew right away that that wasn't a fair thing for her to do. So she asked Will if he wanted to play outside. He immediately said yes. She took him on his bike and they went a few doors down to ask some other kids to play. I sat in a chair in the garage and watched. They went to the park across the street. I couldn't hear them , but I watched them play. A few minutes later I watched Will walk back to the house. For the past week or so he has been pretending to be a 'pokemon trainer'. He has made pokeballs out of paper and pretends to be a trainer, whatever that means.
So he comes back and says that he asked if anyone wanted to 'battle' him and they all said no. He seemed sad. I thought, well that's easy to fix! "Will, the kids think that battle means you want to fight. They don't want to fight you. Why don't you ask them to play something else? Here, take the jump ropes out and see if anyone wants to jumprope with you." OK! he said. I was sure that would work. The kids here love to turn the jump rope. He came back a minute later hanging the jumprope. Nobody wants to. I'm so lonely. Oh God tara, don't cry. Ok, think quick before he goes back into the house. "hey! why don't you take snoopy on the leash over there?" Ok, he said. So I run and get snoopy who is more than happy to leave his pen and put on his leash. Will takes the leash and he's off. Snoopy stills pulls really hard and practically drags Will down the street. He gets over to the park and I see one girl run towards him. The others follow. SNOOPY!! they all yell. Will and snoopy are surrounded by all the kids at the playground.
It's the great neutralizer or equalizer or whatever you want to call it. This is one of the main reasons for wanting a dog to train for Will. He is by no means trained yet. He's still a puppy, still a pain in the ass, still learning, still a spazz. But it's working. He is Will's dog and they both know that. Everyone knows that. It's something to talk about, it's something to approach him about, something to encourage people to relate to Will about. And I think that the attention he got when he brought snoopy to the park helped pick him back up from the rejection he felt. It didn't last a real long time, I think he got tired of holding onto his leash and soon he brought snoopy back. But he was happy. I took the dog and encouraged him to stay outside and play some more. Autumn helped facilitate some play and he stayed outside for about 30 more minutes.
Oh, I am so NOT the right person to do this. I don't want to engage anybody. I want to stay inside with my husband and kids. I don't want friends, I don't want outside relationships. Ok, not SO true, but enough so that I don't feel like I'm the right social butterfly to teach my son how to relate to others. So imperfect. What a struggle.
It went well. We promised a trip to the Disney store at the mall if he sat still and allowed his hair to be washed and cut. The girl was great with him. Patient and checking to see if he was ok. I could tell that he was concentrating really hard to tolerate it. He had a worried look on his face the whole time and said very little.
Here's the before. I liked his hair and was sad to cut it. But, it WAS looking quite straggly and the hotter weather was going to make it more uncomfortable. So we decided on a 'medium' haircut.
Part of the deal was a hair wash complete with laying back in the sink. He did great.
He even sat still for the blow dry.
The after. It's an alright haircut. I prefer the longer version. But I think we will go back in a couple of weeks and do another haircut.
Take a look at the video:
After the haircut and the disney store, which Will picked out a Peter Pan bow and arrow set, we went to a resturant supply store. Tim wanted to check out some things for the business. I was sure he was going to trade me in for a case of dog food, I mean giant corned beef hash.
If Grandma were still with us here, then she would have turned 100 today. Though when we said goodbye to her in March I considered her to have reached that milestone. I was so fortunate to grow up knowing several sets of grandparents. My Grandma Ann and Grandpa Russ who once lived in the same town as us and more than once took me in as their own daughter. And TWO sets of Great Grandparents. One set living in Santa Barbara. I have vivid memories of visiting them on Sundays. Setting up for the LONG drive from Simi to their house, taking my pillow, asking to be 'woke up' when we reached ocean view, and listening to Breakfast with the Beatles on the radio. G&G Mathews lived in Canoga Park so that wasn't quite such the journey. But they were often at our house and part of all the family gatherings. The first one to leave us was Grandpa Mathews when I was in 8th grade. And I was (am) 35 when I said goodbye to my last Great. So I had lots of time to gather memories and time with my Great Grandparents.
I know Grandma enjoyed having me as a great granddaughter, but I think she enjoyed her great great grandkids more! She really had a thing for the littlest Russell Joseph -
Though we all know she made each and every grandchild, great grandchild, and great great grandchild feel special.
Happy 100th Birthday Grandma! I believe it WAS a happy 100 years.
Tim finally decided that we would have a pizza free weekend. So we took a day trip to Twin Falls. Of course we took the scenic route that took us through Hagerman. The highlights there being fossils and a cool little museum. Russell had all four of his wisdom teeth pulled on Friday, so he was still kind of out of it and in pain and puffy faced. We made him go anyway. We're mean like that. Here's a little montage of our adventures.