Archive for October, 2010

H is for Happy

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Once upon a time there was a boy named M.  Every year he was excited but also very worried and scared about Halloween.  Each Halloween, his sweet twin sister J was very kind and helpful and always held his hand.  He had fun, but he wished that one day he could love Halloween like the other children.

When October 31 arrived, he decided that he and his sister would dress up as scary, spooky vampire twins.  He wanted to be brave and go to all the doors and scream “Trick or Treat”  — even the doors with the spooky goblins, moving hands and screaming ghosts.  Doors that he avoided every year.  But not tonight.

This Halloween night, as the sky grew darker, he traipsed through leaves and around bushes, he climbed many stairs and held hands with his Mom, Dad, and sometimes his sister.  He walked and walked and walked and even spent time with the “BIG KIDS” on this creepy, windy, cold night.

When M returned home two hours later, he dove into his candy and didn’t think twice about what he had just done or where he had been — that he was with neighbors and other kids, that he went to all the houses, and that he stayed until the very end of the “Trick or Treating”.

But his Mom and Dad knew that it took more than the promise of a treat, and more than a costume and more than most kids to brave the ghosts and goblins, the sounds and scares, the confusion and candy selection.

Like his very first Halloween all those years ago, Mom and Dad will never forget Halloween 2010.

It Takes Guts

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Today’s gift (actually tonight’s gift):

Pumpkin guts.  Gooey, gory, slimy, sensual, sticky, smelly, sensory and silly.

Happy Mischief Night!

Harvest Day

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Today’s gift:  for the first time since I started blogging, 223 posts later, I’m giving myself the gift of typing today’s blog post (already hand-written late this afternoon) tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bike Ride

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

I took a long bike ride this morning and enjoyed the last of the warm weather along with a great workout.

Simultaneously pedaling and thinking, I reflected on how far M has come (and how far I hope he goes), J’s blossoming,  my feelings about how hard I’ve been working, how I romanticize M’s challenges sometimes, and how this blog helps me deal with reality.

It’s no coincide that my contemplative mood falls on the eve of M’s classroom Harvest Party.  Most parents don’t even know the Harvest Party is tomorrow and if they do, they think it is cute or they volunteer to help.  Me, I’m focused on the challenges it will bring to M:  the anxiety about the change in schedule, the stress about me attending, the loud sounds, the busy visual field, the noise, noise, noise!

Back home, I jump off my bike and celebrate  my ability to keep two feet on the ground when I have to and ride like the wind whenever I can.


Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Today’s gift:  M came up with the idea and then independently planned that he wanted to show a neighborhood friend his new skateboard at the bus stop in the morning.

This multi-step task is one of the very first I can remember him doing.  From conception to execution, he took initiative and ownership and stayed on task with his plan.

It didn’t matter that he didn’t know how to use the skateboard. The spontaneous idea that he wanted to show his friend because he thought the guy would agree it was cool was a giant leap for M.

The Black Widow has arrived.   (That’s M’s board name.)


Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

In the past, Halloween has been a scary holiday for M.

Halloween can be very tough on sensory children, autism spectrum children and special needs kids in general.  (See my recent post on Parenthood’s episode about Max & Halloween).

Normally, as the day approaches his anxiety increases in anticipation of Halloween night but even more so of being “Boo-ed” (see below).   The combination of the doorbell ringing (auditory sensitivity) with the costumed trick or treat-er (unexpected) made M cling to me with all his might.

Like Pavlov’s dog, I’ve been conditioned to expect the same thing every year. I cringed when our doorbell rang at 7:30pm tonight –of course, we were greeted by a Boo Package and I braced myself for M’s reaction.

You have been BOO-ed!! Know that someone is thinking of you in a friendly way! 1. Enjoy your treat! 2. Place the BOO sign on your front door or visible window.  3. Within the next two days, make two copies of this note and two more BOO signs.  4. Make two treat bags or BOO baskets.  5. Secretly deliver to two neighbors without a BOO.  6.  Keep an eye on nearby front doors to see how far and fast it spreads by Halloween.

Instead of retreating in fear, M screamed with delight!

Being BOO-ed was the best part of our day and a gift.  So, we’re celebrating by eating the candy, giggling over guessing who left the cauldron and plotting our BOOs!


Monday, October 25th, 2010

Sometimes a random parenting moment can transform and elevate the day in a way I never could have imagined.

M’s grandfather agreed to babysit M because I needed to attend a parents-only event.   I packed snacks, juice boxes, books, a change of clothes, magazines and all my other props for M’s two hour visit.  There was enough in that bag for two weeks!

As I was about to drive off in a rush, Pop-pop asked if he could take M to do a short errand.  I nodded yes, left and returned two hours later forgetting that he even asked about the two leaving the house.

Driving home, I asked M what he wanted for dinner.   He authoritatively remarked that since his grandfather took him for an early dinner and a sundae — after buying him a new magazine — he wasn’t very hungry.  Happily chattering, he revealed that Pop-pop gave M his dinner, too, and that they had to rush back to meet me at the house for my pick-up time.

Hearing about this quiet moment of connection and friendship was not only a social milestone for M, it was a moment of pure love and beauty.

J’s Gems

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

A new gem from J today:

“I feel happy because songs and music just come out of me sometimes and that makes me cry tears of joy.”

Me, too, J.  You are my gift today.

Now That’s Italian.

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Today’s gift: sharing J’s first cannoli with her.  A life-altering, momentous occasion.  She’ll never be the same and neither will I.  I’m so happy.

Wait until I take her to Veniero’s.

Date Night

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Dear M and J:

Thank you for knowing that Mommy and Daddy needed a date tonight.  You two ate your dinner with perfect manners, played together like best friends, and watched tv / computer like two angels.

Across the room, Mommy and Daddy had a great bottle of Montepulciano, crusty Italian bread, a spicy puttanesca and an incredible, much-needed conversation about US.

Thanks for being our amazing love-children.  Here’s to the weekend and to romance.