A family's story

Posts tagged ‘Celebrations’

Piece of Cake

So, I omitted one aspect of Father’s Day from my “Moments” post. It was a moment…but a not-so-little one.

This past Mother’s Day I really wanted an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. It had always kind of been a tradition with my mom. It was our “thing”. Now that she’s no longer here, Hubz has been pretty good about getting me that ice cream cake every year. He’s a good guy…that Hubz. This year, though, we had Hubz’s entire family over, and my mother-in-law offered to bring dessert. She wanted to make a cake for my sister-in-law’s birthday/Mother’s Day. I was happy to have her bake–she’s phenomenal at it. Her cake was exquisite, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. Or, well, needed.

On Sunday, I decided to get Hubz a Dairy Queen cake in honor of Father’s Day. I totally cop to the fact that this was much more for me than for him, but seriously, who does NOT LIKE DQ cake?! The ice cream? The fudge? The chocolate crunchies in the middle? It is, quite literally, as close to a slice of heaven as I’m gonna get.

When I brought it home, the boys’ eyes all shone with delight. They were super excited about our cake. Cole immediately figured it was for his birthday. Because, when you’re just-about-four-years-old, EVERYTHING is about your birthday. And it’s his birthday month. Jake and Tate ran up to me and took a long look. Jake read the phrase, “Happy Father’s Day”, and in his know-it-all tone, let Cole know that it was “For Dad, duh.” Tate saw the man mowing the lawn on the cake and declared that it was Daddy. Hubz cleared a spot in the deep freeze, and we counted the moments until cake time.

Hubz had requested chicken parm for his Father’s Day meal. We had to eat relatively early, as he had to catch a flight for his business trip. I got the food prepared, and we sat down to eat. Well, most of us, except for Tate. He kept saying he wasn’t hungry..and he was gonna be sick…which is a total script. *sigh* We let him roam–free range style–as we ate our dinner. Cole wouldn’t sit at the table either, preferring to do run-by bites of his pasta and chicken. There was too large of an opportunity to tattle on Tate to sit still and talk with us. So, Hubz, Jake and I had a nice conversation about the week, and what we were all going to be doing.

Once we were done eating, I started to clear the table. Jake was helping. Tate asked about the cake. He wanted to know when we’d be eating it. He started to squeak with anticipation. I told him that we would do that once everything was cleaned up. He nodded, and skipped away–flapping his hands ever-so-softly as he went down the hall.

Hubz grabbed the cake from the freezer. He set it on the counter to warm a bit, so that we wouldn’t have to chisel pieces off. Tate swooped in with a finger and got a big dab of frosting. “Mmm–de-wishous”. Jake helped get some forks out, and I grabbed the plates. Hubz started to cut slices of cake for the 5 of us.

“WAIT!!!”, shouted Tate. “We have to sing, “Happy Birthday!” Jake, ever the big brother, chimed in, “Tay-ate. It’s FATHER’S Day. NOT BIRTHDAY. Duh.” I asked Jake to check the attitude at the door. He muttered an apology, and then Hubz cut and distributed the cake. We all sat down to enjoy. As we started to take our bites of cake, Tate demanded that we all stop. He needed us to sing.

So, I started to sing “Happy Father’s Day to You” to Hubz. The boys all joined in. Tate sang with his entire body. His arms swung in the air. He twisted his torso to-and-fro. His head tilted from side-to-side. He was so into it. As we finished the song, Tate clapped and shouted “Yay!!!” Then he ate his cake…but not after swiping a little more frosting from Hubz’s slice.

As Tate did all of this, I couldn’t help but think back to his neuropsychological evaluation in March 2011. How my son, my precious fun-loving-son, cringed when the doctor sang “Happy Birthday”. How he cowered back into his chair, covering his ears. How when she prompted him to celebrate, he chose to grab the “cake server” and stim with it. How when she prompted him to say “Happy Birthday”, he laughed and giggled and started asking about grilled cheese from his favorite take-out place because it was all just too darn much for him.

I thought back to prior celebrations. How we’d have to sit in the other room, I’d cover his ears and hold him in a bear hug while others sang and cheered and celebrated with cake. How he’d whine and plead and beg for it to be done. How he just couldn’t handle having cake at any time because, God-forbid, there may be singing involved…and it was just too much.

So, even as I fret over his slight regression with speech/language lately, or his peer-to-peer social skills, or his proficiency with Reading Level B (and most First Graders are on J or whatever-the-frick-it-is), I can look at this moment. I can see the progress. I can beam with pride that my son, the one who never could be a part of celebrations that included cake in the past, could now LEAD THE FAMILY IN SONG to celebrate his daddy.

He made it look like a piece of cake…and well, I know that it has been anything but to get to this point. He works hard, that Tater Tot. And his hard work is paying off…in spades.

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Easter Weekend–with a side of Autism

Like so many other Christians, our family celebrated Easter this past weekend. We colored eggs, hunted for baskets, sought out candy-filled plastic eggs, went to church, and had a family dinner. For the most part, our celebrations were like any other…which was kind of nice.

I hard-boiled our eggs on Friday morning. My strategy was to hard-boil them and put them in the fridge before Tate’s therapy. I hoped Jake would forget about them. See, between Jake’s current egg addiction and his eating like it’s going out of style, I was afraid we’d have 3 eggs left to decorate and a very sick kid. Luckily, my plan worked well.

We dyed said eggs on Saturday morning so that Hubz could join the fun help control the chaos. Tate really took an interest in egg dyeing. That is, he took interest in the color PINK and didn’t want to share it. If either of his brothers tried it, he would shriek and “shoo” them away. Also, he wanted big red 8’s drawn on his eggs…so, if one would go into our fridge, s/he would be greeted by no less than 6 pink eggs with big red 8’s drawn with crayon. (I guess I should be relieved that he didn’t want 6’s. Me thinks it’s a bad omen to have “666” lined up twice in your EASTER egg carton!)

Saturday flew by, as I escaped went dress shopping. My PSA of the month is not Autism related, no. It is that if you are 7-10 pounds heavier than you would like to be, and you still haven’t made good on your exercising resolution, then for the love of all things holy do NOT go clothes shopping. Don’t! Oh, and anyone notice that this year’s styles are NOT made for the short of stature. Bleh.

Having felt guilty for leaving Hubz with the 3 musketeers for 2 hours, I came home, got the boys, and took them grocery shopping. I picked a fairly quiet time at the store, which made my boys’ rowdiness that much more ridiculous. Jake was begging–incessantly–for more Pokemon cards. Tate was complaining that I didn’t get him pizza. Cole was running around “bamming” everything. It was a fantastic shopping trip.

Once the boys were in bed that night, I became the Easter Bunny. I hid the eggs, wrote clues for finding baskets, and finished cleaning up after my slobs children. I am amazed by the things I accomplish when I put my phone away and have no children to attend to!

Jake awoke nice and early on Easter Sunday. We were downstairs hunting eggs and baskets by 6:00. Oh.Yay. Tate studied his brothers as they flitted about gathering eggs. He decided that he could do it, too, and found a few eggs. He spent the next 10 minutes showing off his 4 eggs. To anyone who would listen, or, well, look in his general direction.

The boys found their baskets and began to dig into the candy. Of course. Nothing like a healthy breakfast of jelly beans and mini-candy bars! Mmmm.

In all of the excitement, Tate refused to drink his juice. This is not regular juice. Uh-uh. It is his Vyvanse cocktail…and he needs it to help focus and attend. But, after half of it was gulped down begrudgingly, he threw it away. Gaaahhhh!

At 7:35, Hubz and I got the boys ready for Mass. We decided to attend the earlier one at 8, thinking it would be less busy, and a little easier for Tate. Oh, how wrong we were. Apparently everyone thought the same thing. It was crazy-busy. Standing-room-only busy. Not so good for us…especially not for Tate.

As we stood around in the hallway, deciding whether to stay or come back later, Tate announced–very loudly–that we needed chairs. Because, well, how many freaking times have we told him that we sit down when we’re at Mass??! Ughhh. He started to get anxious, flipping his stick and fidgeting with his waistband…and then, it was an Easter miracle…some chairs were set up and 2 were open, together. We sat down. Tate relaxed. So did we. Ahhh. We made it through Mass with only some minor stims and vocal outbursts.

We were able to go home and relax a bit. Tate shed his dress shirt and pants like they were on fire. He happily put on a t-shirt and comfy pants. When he did this, Cole demanded to walk around pants-less, and Jake asked if he could wear a t-shirt. I obliged…but did make Cole wear pants to my sister’s house for dinner.

During our time at home, Hubz downloaded an app that measures the sound in your room. Um, I think OSHA is gonna come bust us. A half-medicated, sugared-up Tate produces screeches and shrieks that top out at 100. (Hubz said that 125 is dangerous..and should only have like 15 minutes of exposure at a time.) That’s just him. Factor in his brothers, and, well, I could really use a pair of noise-cancelling headphones for Mother’s Day. I’m just sayin’…

At noon we headed over to my sister’s house. Tate babbled the entire way there about her kitchen sink. It’s one of his favorites, and it helps him manage his social anxiety. (The running water soothes him.) He literally bolted from the car when we opened the door. He barely said hello before asking for the water. My sister was able to let him use it, and life was good.

Our gathering went well, and the boys, and we adults, had fun. Tate interacted a bit, and was successful in his bids for the kitchen sink and watching my sister’s front-loading washer and dryer. Jake got to watch tv at my sister’s house, which made him happy. Cole had the attention of all of the adults.

Our evening ended on a good note, as all 3 boys went to sleep fairly easily–and early. Hubz and I got to watch Game of Thrones AND Mythbusters, and we were in bed by 10. Ahhhh….and to all, a good night. (Oh wait…that’s a different holiday…right?!)

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