Life, Autism, Disability, and More

Tag Archives: holidays

calendarYes, I’m a big fan of “Trading Places.” The 1983 movie, that is, not the show that’s on HGTV or whatever. It’s an excellent holiday and end of the year movie. Even if it’s completely inappropriate at times. Although perhaps that’s what makes it so excellent.

Regardless, that’s not the point of this post.

The point is that this afternoon, I was sitting around, working on my computer, and Simon walked up to me.

“January first,” he said.

“Umm, okay.” I wasn’t entirely sure how he knew what day it was. I mean, yes, we had changed the calendars around the house, but did that mean he knew how to follow them? He does “calendar time” at school, but that seemed to be less about figuring out the day on the calendar and more about reviewing the day of the week, the weather, and all that good stuff.

“January,” he insisted.

“Yes, it is,” I told him. “It’s the first of January.”

He stood there, looking at me.

“What about it?” I asked. “Why does it matter?”

“Exciting,” he said.


How is January first exciting? He couldn’t really tell me. But it was exciting for him.

And it was exciting for me.

Simon came to me to share something. Maybe he couldn’t explain it, not in words. Maybe he wasn’t sure why he felt that way, and maybe he wasn’t even sure how he was feeling. But he was trying to tell me. He wanted me in on it.

January first was very exciting.

april 5Easter!

But without candy.

No candy.

I want to repeat that again.

No candy.

No way I would have survived Easter without candy.

Chocolate bunnies.
Chocolate eggs.
Jelly beans.
Peeps! Peeps! Peeps!

So it’s really odd for me to try to create an Easter basket that doesn’t include candy, but Simon isn’t into candy. Sometimes he likes Tootsie Roll Pops, until they get to the Tootsie Roll part. Then he throws them away.

But he loved his basket. It had fun squishy toys (a bunny and a caterpillar), eggs with erasers and stickers in them, pencils, mini Thomas the Tank Engine toys, and a set of Easter Matchbox cars.

And he loved searching for eggs on the back porch – the rain we’ve been having on and off for three days made the lawn a little less than hospitable for an egg hunt, especially when the egg hunter hates it when his shoes or feet get wet and/or get any grass stuck on them.

And he loved dinner out at Logan’s with some friends.

So, all in all, a great Easter for him. But no candy.

No candy!!

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2013

What’s the cut-off age for Halloween?

When I was growing up, I didn’t worry about it. No one really commented on it (to me anyway), and as I got older, my costume got more complex. When I was 17 and dating, my boyfriend – now husband – actually made me up as a car accident/fire victim, going so far as to cover an eye with a patch and making me look all bloody and raw and burned. It was awesome.

But nowadays, I hear grumbling. I hear people complaining about kids who are “too old” or “too big” to go trick or treating. There’s the old joke about “if you can shave, you’re too old to go trick or treating.” The thing is, some boys start shaving when they’re 12 or 13. Is that too old to trick or treat?

The real worry that I’m bringing up here isn’t actually about general trick or treating. It’s about Simon.

He’s 12 this year. He’s not exactly small for his age, either. He’s in the 6th grade (should be in the 7th, but he was held back a year in kindergarten), and he’s definitely going to need to shave within the next year or so. Puberty is setting in.

He loves Halloween, though. Super duper loves it. He just brought it up to me again, and I had to tell him (for the eight-thousandth time this week) that it is on Friday, and that we can go trick or treating after school. The actual plan is to go trick or treating at the mall after school, and then hit the neighborhood around dinner time.

Will he be able to go?

Will people make snarky comments? Refuse him candy and other fun Halloween goodies?

I don’t know how he’ll feel about it next year, but what if he still wants to go? Will we have problems? Will we not?

I hate to quote the Doors, but the future is uncertain…and is the end of Halloween near?

I love Halloween. Looooove it. It’s probably my favorite holiday of the year (other than Christmas because, well, Christmas…).

I’m one of those people who can’t decide if ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ is meant to be for Halloween or Christmas. Both of them are just so awesome.

Because of that massive love, we normally decorate inside and outside, lots of lights, lots of scary stuff, lots of not-so-scary stuff. You get the idea. We carve multiple pumpkins. My husband puts up lights in my office, around the TV, anywhere we can fit them. We put up paper cut-outs on the doors, on the kitchen cupboards, anywhere that tape can stick.

Not this year, though.

This year, Simon has decided to become obsessed with the holiday.

He checks the calendar every day. He reminds us that “Halloween is in October.” He tells us that we’re going to go Trick or Treating on Halloween. He tells us that he’s dressing up as a blue crayon (for the second year in a row).

When we have to tell him that it’s not Halloween yet, he gets upset. He doesn’t understand waiting for it, and he doesn’t understand the count-down. At this point, he is agreeing with us; he knows that it’s next Friday. But he may also agree that it’s ‘next Friday’ next week when it’s actually that Friday.

We promise him that we won’t miss it, that we won’t let him forget the day. But he still has a lot of anxiety about it. We don’t know why, and he can’t tell us why.

Instead, we are just trying to minimize everything we can. There are no indoor decorations. We have a minimal amount of outdoor decorations. We don’t mention the ‘H’ word unless absolutely necessary, and even then we try not to talk about it without using just veiled references.

Of course, time will pass, and it will be Halloween soon, and it won’t matter in the long run if we went one year without inside decorations.

But earlier this week, Simon flipped the calendar over and told me that next month was November, and that Thanksgiving was in November. Whoops.


Lately, Simon has been on a Christmas movie kick. He watches “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street” (one of my favorites), “Elmo’s World: Happy Holidays” (not one of my favorites), and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

I have nothing against Rudolph, except…well, the messagesimon with mom - small is a bit disturbing. Rudolph is forced to fit in – to literally cover up who he is and what he is (by donning a black cap over his red nose). And when it’s revealed that he’s not “normal,” i.e. not like all the other reindeer, then he’s shunned and kept from participating in society.

Until, of course, Santa needs him.

Then suddenly his difference is worthwhile and acceptable. More than acceptable, really. It’s something to celebrate! Go different people! (But only if that difference it helpful and benefits us!)

How is that any different than what Richard Dawkins said in his tweet when he declared that only some people with disabilities shouldn’t be selectively weeded out through eugenics?

Haven’t heard about it? Here’s a little piece from Huffington Post

Dawkins tweeted that if someone found out that their fetus had Down Syndrome, they should “abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

When someone brought up the Autism spectrum, he said, “People on that spectrum have a great deal to contribute. Maybe even an enhanced ability in some respect. DS not enhanced.”

Seriously? Seriously? We get to decide which disabilities should be allowed and which ones shouldn’t? And what about people on the spectrum who do not have “enhanced” abilities? What about people who are more severe on the spectrum and need help to live?

Dawkins says that he thinks that there’s a “profound moral difference” between deciding to abort a fetus and stating that “this person should have been aborted years ago,” but I struggle to see the difference. Is his position that, once the person is born, then it’s okay to deal with the disability, but if it’s known, we should avoid it? What about physical disabilities? What about being an asshole? When will we get a pre-natal test for assholes?

(Please do not take this blog as any sort of stance on abortion as a whole…this is purely about eugenics and those who believe that we should chose who lives and dies based on their perceived value to society…)