Use Your Words

Tomorrow is The Boy’s birthday (Just FYI – there will be another birthday related post tomorrow.  Birthdays are a big deal).  Today’s post is about verbalizing.  The Boy is verbal.  In fact, if he is speaking about interior dome lights in cars, he is downright verbose.  But he is not always verbal about what he wants and needs, nor is he verbose when asked direct questions.  This is fairly common with autistic kids.  They can tell you every plot point of the latest Disney movie, but ask them to make up a story and you are met with complete silence.

The Boy has always been this way.  When he was younger and Webkinz were a thing, he would receive a new one for his birthday or Christmas, and could not come up with a name.  They were often named whatever the first suggestion I offered was.

Tails added to "the list"

Tails added to “the list”

He will tell you what he wants (in terms of toys, games, etc.) while in the store, when they are staring him in the face.  This is why we came up with the strategy of taking pictures of them with my phone and putting them on “his list”.  This helps us get out of the store without having a meltdown about not purchasing what he wants then and there.  And you may be thinking, “Great!  Then you know exactly what he wants when it comes to birthdays and Christmas, because you have pictures of them right there on your phone!”  But often, he never speaks about those things again, and I am left to wonder whether he really wants those things, or whether he was just attracted to them at the time.  Was it true love or was it just lust?

Therefore, I did a mental double-take last week when we were at the store last week, and he saw some fleecy sleep pants he liked.  He pronounced, “Mom, you could get these for my birthday!  I want these for my birthday!  Take a picture!”  He repeated some variation of these three phrases for a couple of minutes, and I think he was as excited as I was that he had verbalized his want for something specific for his birthday.

A couple of says later, I casually asked, “Do you still play with your Bionicles?”  He said, “Yes, I do.  You could get me a Bionicle for my birthday, too.”

It may seem like a small distinction, but it was huge to me.  He has never before asked for something specific for his birthday, and he continually amazes me by making these small (but huge) steps toward independence.


The Show Must Go On (Without Us)…

The Stage

The Stage by Luminitsa

My parents are in town for a bit, for The Boy’s choir and band concerts this week (and also because they haven’t seen him since Thanksgiving and were missing him big-time!), and we went to a musical put on by the district in which I work.  The Boy even dressed up in his dress-up clothes to attend.  We arrived, purchased our tickets, as well as flowers for PITA, who runs the show, and finally raffle tickets for some baskets of goodies.  We found our seats, and enjoyed the first half.  At intermission, The Boy and I got up to stretch, and buy a small treat.  We purchased our M&Ms, walked around the lobby while we ate them, and returned to our seats.

Before the end of the intermission, they did the drawings for the raffle baskets, and that’s when things started going wonky.  Remember that The Boy has only had a few experiences with raffle baskets, and luckily for him at the time (but not so luckily for us at it turns out), he has won virtually everything he has attempted to win.

But today, we didn’t win.

And even though I had prepared him for this possibility (taking pictures of the baskets, assuring him that we could always purchase the contents on our own), he began to melt.  And we had to leave.  Luckily, I was prepared for this, and had even scoped out how far we were from the aisle, making sure we wouldn’t cause too much disturbance if we had to leave.  I have learned from past mistakes, it seems (why is it always at a play??).

The Boy is still upset, wanting to have a “funeral for our luck” – clever even while not comprehending the larger concepts, here.  And he will probably be in a funk for a little while.

So while we had planned to go to the show and then for dinner afterwards, we’re all quickly shifting to plan B.  Thank God for take-out!

Crafty Gift Review

I know I shared some of the crafty gifts I was giving for Christmas this past year, but I couldn’t share them all because some of my loved ones actually read my blog!  And I realized today that I can share them now (now, that it’s February…)

This is a tote bag I picked up from Hobby Lobby for $3.  I also used sprayable fabric paint, and contact paper for the stencil (which I downloaded from Martha Stewart).  I traced the stencil onto clear contact paper with a sharpie, and then cut it out, and applied it to the front of the bag. I was able to use the stencil twice (I made two bags), although I did have a few small tears that I had to pay special attention to with the second bag.  Once the stencil was applied, I used the spray-paint, also found at Hobby Lobby, and let it sit.  When dry, I peeled back the stencil, leaving this:

cherry branch tote bag

I also made some large prints like these, but made it much easier on myself by using large poster frames (which were 70% off at Michael’s) rather than trying to use spray adhesive or mod podge to attach them to MDF or foam core board.  Then when they inevitably fade, I can replace them with new ones.  The three prints altogether cost me about $3 at Staples.  I think the three frames together came to about $20 at Michael’s:

large engineering prints

Finally, in the picture above, you can also see my little silhouette project, which was way easier than it looked and brought tears to my mom’s eyes.  I used this tutorial (although getting The Boy to be still enough to get a sideways shot of his head was easier said than done – I managed to get one while he was asleep), and here is a larger shot of the outcome:


We had a fine, crafty Christmas, and my pocketbook is thanking me for it!