The Case of the Reappearing Fluffballs

Yesterday I spied on my son.  Turns out I’m no Nancy Drew, because I did NOT solve the mystery.  Back to Spy school I go!

Let me explain.  Peter’s room is basically the only “Peter safe” room in the house.  My dear Dad turned the bedroom door into a barn door, whereby we can lock the bottom half and leave the top half open.  In essence, we are able to lock Peter in his room for short periods of time (don’t judge) and still be able to hear what he is doing.  Mostly.

You may note that I put quotation marks around the words “Peter safe,” above.  This is because as soon as you think you have a room Peter-proofed, he immediately proves you wrong.  It’s his talent.  Case in point: Last week he discovered his window shades and proceeded to gnaw on the little wooden knobs attached to the ends of the cords.  So I cut them off.  This week he has discovered the joy in lifting and dropping the shades with the cords, over and over.  Slam!  Shades down.  Whoosh!  Shades up.  You get the picture.

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That’s When it Hit Me

Scene Heading: The First Time I Realized My Son’s Disability Was Obvious to Others

The Setting:  A Christmas party at my sister’s house 4 years ago.  It is late in the evening.   The party is magical, as it always is whenever my sister is hosting.  The atmosphere is festive, jovial, full of the spirit of the holidays. 

Peter, at age 4, is scurrying about “doing his thing,” playing with his iPad, jumping up and down with excitement, making happy sounds, eating his favorite chips and pretzels.

I am standing in the kitchen, smiling at my son’s obvious happiness, when I notice a woman – a stranger – staring at Peter.

The Dialogue:

Me:  Hello.  I’m Laura, Maria’s sister.

Woman:  I figured that out.

(a beat)

Woman: What’s HIS problem? (nodding towards Peter).

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Just One of Those Days

A few days ago I had a conversation with a tennis friend about the troubles she has been having with one of her children.  Later, she texted me to apologize.  “I’m sorry I was so negative,” she said.  “I know that in the scheme of things, this is minor… sometimes it just feels big.”  I told her she didn’t need to apologize, and that we all have good days and bad days.

I know what she was feeling, though.  Probably guilty for complaining, for not being perfect.  I know, because yesterday this is what I posted on FaceBook shortly before falling into bed with exhaustion:

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The Tracker Jacker

This post has nothing to do with the dreadful, genetically-modified tracker bees in The Hunger Games.  Instead, it’s all about a tracking device that Peter wears on his ankle that we call his “Tracker Jacker.”  We think it sounds cool.

I’ve written about this before in my blog post about safety.  But I wanted to place special emphasis on this particular safeguard, in light of so many recent articles about kids with autism going missing.

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You Made My Day

Sharing a memory from my Autism Journal (December 2012):

Every morning when I walk down the long hallway of Peter’s school, headed for his classroom with him holding my hand, he makes his loud “happy noises.”  He loves school and skips and hops in his own clumsy way in his excitement to get to his classroom.  Sometimes I wish he would be a little quieter, because we get puzzled looks from the older school children who pass by in the hallway.  They don’t understand why he makes those noises.  And every morning, Peter looks into every classroom we pass and smiles.

One particular teacher always steps into the hallway and says, “I hear Peter coming.  Good morning, Peter!  How are you today?  I’ll see you at lunchtime!”  This morning she called out to me after we passed by:

“Ms. Kane?”

I turned around.  “Yes?”

“I just want you to know that Peter always makes my morning.”

Wow.  That really made MY morning, and I don’t even know her name!

Thank-You-You-Made-My-Day-m201

Lessons Learned on a Sunday

No matter how much I think I “know” my son, he continues to baffle me.  Yesterday, on what should have been a peaceful Sunday afternoon, I learned two important lessons:

Lesson #1: No More Naps!

Since Peter was sick on Friday and seemed a little run down, I thought it would be a great idea to let him have some “rest time.”  This consists of me taking a power nap in his room while Peter plays with toys, quietly, on the bed.  Well, he fell asleep.  I let him rest for about 2 hours.

I regretted that decision at 1 am when he was still wide awake and tossing noisy toys around his room!

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A Day of Firsts… and Lasts?

Son #1: First Day of College

 

Yesterday was a Very Big Day.  Our oldest son, Christopher, moved into his dormitory at the University of South Carolina.  It was a whirlwind of activity: fighting traffic, finding a parking spot, lugging tons of stuff up twelve flights of stairs to avoid the lines at the elevators, cleaning the dorm room (ugh), decorating, sorting, etc.  When we (the parents) were told (by the son) that we really didn’t need to hang out in the dorm all day, we took a deep breath and said our good-byes.  First-born son.  In college.  Sob!

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A Life Free of Hatred 

When it seems as though the world will burn itself into oblivion with hatred and bigotry, I look at my son and think, “Thank God he doesn’t know.” 

He doesn’t know that citizens of our own country can turn against one another in an instant, like wild animals.  He doesn’t know violence. He doesn’t know evil.  He doesn’t know racism, prejudice, discrimination. 

He is not aware that these blights on our society exist. 

I turn away from the horrifying media images and look at him. A perfect, innocent soul incapable of hatred. 

He may never be aware. He may never know. 

And today, I thank God for that. 

Are We Having Fun Yet?

“Come on, Peter!  This is supposed to be fun!”  These are phrases I find myself saying often.  Very often.  This past weekend I tried my best to do “fun” things with Peter, to get him out of the house and away from his iPad.  On Saturday, my sister was visiting so we went to a nearby state park to play in this adorable Splash Pad:

play4

I first had to convince Peter that it was okay to enter the gate.  Mind you, we’d been there before!  It took another ten minutes for Peter to get near the water, then another ten until he seemed to be having a bit of fun:

play5

By then I was hot and sweaty, so when Peter sat himself on a bench a short time later and tried to put on his shoes, I was fine with leaving.

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