Life, Autism, Disability, and More

Tag Archives: disabiltiies

returning library booksWe’ve had a rough week off school, but tried to make it as fun as possible: Chuck E Cheese, ‘Palm Beach’ (which is like a splash pad on crack), the library, shopping, and horseback riding. We didn’t stop. Even with the meltdowns and constant reminders that we would have ESY – Extended School Year for you newbies – we got through it all happy, for the most part.

This weekend went even better, probably because Simon knew that ESY was right around the corner. He even slowed down his constant asking for the circus, which I hope means he realizes that it will happen, but not until next month when they actually come to Houston.

But then, today, we decided to go to the library again.

We had started last week with the library, going on Monday, and, of course, he loved it as always. But I had taken out some DVDs, and while books have up to three weeks, the DVDs only get a one week rental period. Since I knew tomorrow would be crazy with the first day of ESY, I suggested we go today.

A good, solid plan, right?

So solid that when I asked Simon if he wanted to go, he said yes. He did his usual going out routine (bathroom and finding his flip flops), and then he came to meet up with us in the kitchen. Holding his library book from last week. He had found it and was ready to return it and swap it out for a new one.

We’ve never taught him to do that. We’ve never told him to do that. He just knew we were going to the library, and he put it together that he was done with the book, so he wanted to return it.

Totally cool.

I know that to some parents, that might be nothing. But for him to make the observation, then to go and to find the book and bring it along…that’s really something for him. It took forethought and planning. It took effort. It took being truly aware of what the library is, and what we do there.

I had actually wondered if he understood the concept of ‘borrowing’ books from the library. He knew that we took them out. And I’d take his books and put them in the stack of returned books, but he’d never done it before himself. And he’d never said anything or done anyway to make me aware that he knew it was going on.

A little victory maybe, but a super cool one, and one that convinces me that all our trips to the library are definitely worth it, and not just for the awesome selection of books and movies and music they have there. (Have I mentioned my library rocks? Because it does.)

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When I was growing up, every Easter morning, my sister and I would wake up early and find clues to help us hunt for our Easter baskets. One time the baskets were hiding in the cabinet under the barrel cactus. Another time, on the stairs to the attic. The baskets would be filled to overflowing with candy and, normally, something my mother had knit or crocheted – a stuffed animal of some sort or something else small to try to keep the basket from being more than a wicker holder for chocolate and jelly beans.

This year, Simon was 11 when Easter rolled around. His Easter basket from last year was still sitting on the bookcase behind the sofa, and there were multiple unopened toys in it, things like bubbles and little plastic toy cameras that let you look at images of the Easter Bunny.

But he seemed excited for Easter. Sort of.

He wanted to dye eggs.

He wanted to have an Easter egg hunt.

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And this year, instead of buying another Easter basket and filling it with little toys, we just got him a “Little People” Easter train (suitable, according to the marketing, for a 1 1/2 to 5 year old) and a set of two Play-Doh filled bunnies that could make little imprints of bunnies and carrots. He played with both things, and he said he liked them.

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I don’t know that he “gets” Easter. He knows about it, enough to know what is related to it. He knows it’s time to dye eggs and hunt for eggs and that there is an Easter Bunny (whether or not he believes it’s an actual Easter Bunny, I have no idea).  He quotes the Charlie Brown episode about making “egg soup” when we hard boil the eggs. [Sorry for the bad video – this one is hard to find!]

I also don’t know that he will ever experience Easter the way I did. He doesn’t eat candy, except for Tootsie Roll Pops, which have to be red, and which he also carefully eats down to the Tootsie Roll part and then throws away as opposed to actually eating the chocolate-like substance that hides in the middle. (I can’t, in good conscience, call Tootsie Rolls chocolate.)

He also doesn’t really figure out clues, unless it’s with Blue and Steve, and even then, I’m not sure he figures out the answers on his own. But he can sure memorize them and then tell you what they are and what they mean. And he can draw them all so they look exactly like what Steve has drawn. (Another admission – I also can’t, in good conscience, say that I have watched all the Joe episodes because Joe is about as good as the “chocolate” that is in Tootsie Rolls…but Simon likes them, so I’m not about to stop him any more than I would stop him from throwing away the center of the Tootsie Pops.)

It can be hard on the holidays to avoid dwelling on things that could be or “should” be instead of just accepting things that are. Because of how I grew up celebrating Easter, that’s how I want to teach Simon to celebrate it, but that’s not happening yet, and it may never happen. And that’s okay. He’s enjoying Easter in his own way, and while it may mean that the only Easter candy I get to raid is stuff that we buy for ourselves, that doesn’t mean that he’s missing out on anything. He’s not deprived of Easter goodies – he just wants something different than what I wanted, and even different than what a lot of other kids want. That doesn’t make it bad, and it doesn’t mean that it could or should be any other way. It’s the way that works for him, and for us, and while some day I may be able to write out clever clues and lead the way to a basket filled with fun toys and chocolate treats, maybe not.