Month: January 2018

He advocates

I remember a time in the not-so-distant past when I wondered to myself when or if I would hear my youngest child speak in sentences.  If I’d ever hear the soft “I love you, mommy” or have a conversation in spoken words with him.

It took me a great deal of time and effort (and study) to come to the realization that communication can happen in many forms, and that you can never truly know what the future may hold.  As it turned out, he would speak, and there are days now where I wonder if I’ll ever enjoy silence again…

Part of communication is advocating for one’s needs.  We’ve become quite accustomed to the ways in which he advocates, and today provided a perfect example.

He walked across the living room today while the room was mostly silent.  He grabbed his headphones, a pair of black and white noise-muffling over-the-ear headphones which do a fairly nice job of reducing nose levels in a room.  In this case, the room was already pretty quiet, so I’m going to assume that he was seeking the gentle squeeze, the proprioceptive input that the headphones also provide (his first method of advocating for what he wants and needs).

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The headphones have a panda face on each ear, and are just so sweet that I asked him if I might take a photo.  “No”. “No?” “No.”  And that, my dears, is that.  No.  He did not wish his photo to be taken.  (his second advocacy)

He then asked for a snack, and guided me through exactly what he wished for.  This isn’t so much advocating as requesting, but you could count this as well.

It takes being truly comfortable with your space and who it contains to be able to do what he did, and I am forever grateful for the fact that he knows without a single doubt that his voice will always be heard, his communications will always be taken into account, and his requests always considered.

Yesterday, I took both boys to their first dance class- a movement class for kids with special abilities.  I was so excited that he wanted to try it out, and they had a wonderful time.  We saw a girl who had been in Wonder Boy’s preschool and it was remarkable to see how much she’d accomplished since those days.
When we were getting ready to leave, WB said that he did not want to sign up to return.  While I was saddened by that, I also have to respect that he made his wishes quite clear to us.

We must always consider people’s needs, no matter how they communicate but especially those who are not able to communicate verbally- look for other ways in which someone is speaking to you, whether that be in actions or in response to your actions.  Take time to meet people where they are, rather than force your methodology and your ideology on them.  And for the love of pete, respect people.  

Surviving winter break

Surviving winter break

I used to have a very idyllic view of winter break.  That glorious bit of time when the kids are out of school for a week or more, with the days spent sledding and sipping hot cocoa and making snow people and snow angels and having snowball fights. The very idea of ending each day by a cozy fire with the kids all tuckered out brings a smile to my face.

This is about the closest that I ever get to a fireplace.

And frankly, if you’ve met me, you know that my actual idea of winter fun has nothing to do with being outside in the cold.  I’m freezing if the temps dip below 75 degrees.  But here we live, in the frozen Northeast, and it snowed early this year.  And then the thermometer bottomed out, providing us with wind chills that brought frostbite warnings. Guess what?  No sledding.  No angels.  No snow people.  No snowball fights.  And I’m really okay with that.  I’m not sure where I got that “idyllic” view of winter.  It’s not my reality.

When I was young, I could stay out in the snow all day, or so my mother tells me.  I think I’ve blocked out this memory to protect myself.  I hate the cold so very much.

So what do you do when you have two very rambunctious kids in the house for a week?  Let your husband take the week off to be home with them while you go to work.

Okay, I’m kidding.  Sort of.  I did that, but mostly because he had the vacation time to use, and I did not.

The fact is, it can be really challenging to have any kids home for the week and have it be too cold to send them out to play.  The already small apartment starts to feel reeeeeeallly tiny.  Have you ever seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory?  Think shrinking hallway.

Solution: We can’t let them have too much “tech time” as it’s known in our house, or they start to have pretty bad responses to various things (anything from being asked to take a bathroom break to eating lunch).  We tend to restrict tech time anyway, so instead the tactic over Christmas break was to have activities in rotation.  I imagine my husband feeling like the entertainment director on a cruise ship: “Okay, everyone, now it’s time to build a pillow fort!  At two o’clock you’ll be reading in your room, followed by thirty minutes of video game time on the Lido Deck!” This rotation of things to do really helps prevent the boredom from settling in.  Combine this with a lot of sensory activities and opportunities, and I think we all survived it pretty well.

And sure, there was the daily (hourly) argument to break up, and there were good breaks in the middle such as Christmas Eve (lots of baking) and Christmas Day, and spending time together as a family.

Still, I think that after nine days at home with the kids, he was quite ready to return to work yesterday.  CubicleLand must have been a welcome sight.