Posts Tagged "laughs"

Mothering Autism

Posted by on May 11, 2014 | 0 comments

I don’t want a lot on Mother’s Day. I really don’t. I worked in restaurants for years (and my husband still does), so the last thing I’m interested in is taking all of my children out with the rest of humanity to battle for overpriced prime rib. We can do that anytime.

I also don’t feel the need to do anything “special,” since we do special things a lot. We have “Family Adventure Days” frequently, where we go adventuring. We explore the natural world around us, visit new museums, and just play as a family. So, Mother’s Day doesn’t require adventure.

What I want most on Mother’s Day is serenity.

At least, as much as I’m able, since my husband usually has to go to work. He’s a restaurant manager, and the rest of humanity still wants that prime rib.

This year, I requested that for the morning and early afternoon (before he leaves), to be left to my garden. I am still trying to finish my beds, and would like some uninterrupted time alone with the backyard.

I also asked for my children to help clean up the living room and kitchen. You know, where all of their toys are strewn.

That particular request was met with an uproar heard across the land. Two of my children decided they would rather not observe Mother’s Day at all, if it meant they actually had to pick up after themselves.

Jack took issue as well, in typical Jack fashion. He made the case as to why I was completely out of line by merely suggesting I make him do anything. On a weekend.

“I like to live my (weekend) days naturally, you can’t make me do a lot of action.”

OK. Apparently, any structured activity that’s not his idea is totally out of the question. He also insinuated that I’m trying to affect his brain.

By asking him to clean.

“You can’t keep this thing (his brain) up forever, that’s bad parenting, Mama.”

It took everything I had to keep a straight face.

I don’t want to be accused of being a bad parent, on Mother’s Day of all days. I’m making my husband do it. Father’s Day isn’t for another month, he’ll be fine.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Team Baskin 2014

Team Baskin 2014

Share this: name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> Read More

Canucks Autism Network Family Festival 2014

Posted by on May 8, 2014 | 0 comments

Canucks Autism Network Family Festival 2014

We always have a good time at the Canucks Autism Network‘s (CAN) Family Festival in downtown Vancouver. We usually go later in the day, so we miss the actual walk (we don’t like to do big crowds, even for autism – because of autism). We still enjoy the booths and activities, though.

 

 

Jack looks good as a Canuck!

Jack looks good as a Canuck!

 

We always love seeing our friends Tanaya and Bryce from Bubbles Make Him Smile!

We always love seeing our friends Tanaya and Bryce from Bubbles Make Him Smile!

 

Jack and the Olympic Cauldron

Jack and the Olympic Cauldron

 

Come join us next year!

Share this: name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> Read More

Baby World

Posted by on Feb 28, 2014 | 0 comments

Baby World

We recently had a fourth child, so Jack is fascinated with babies. What they do, how they learn, how they’re born, and where they come from*. Jack is obsessed with babies in utero. Or, as he calls it, the Baby World.

You see, there is a whole Baby World inside a Mama’s tummy. One where all of the babies she’s going to have (and others as well, it would seem), have a whole community thing happening. They hang out, they race cars, they learn how to be “babies” for when they’re born.

Jack says he remembers being there.

I know a lot of children have pre-birth recall. I don’t doubt that Jack remembers some things about being born (he doesn’t seem to ever forget anything), but he also has a penchant for weaving a good tale. He’s figured out that if I am typing on the iPad while he’s talking, I’m writing down his story. As a result, he’s started to embellish things a bit. Often, his brothers join in.

On one particular occasion, while discussing the goings-on in Baby World, his two younger brothers told me all about the racetrack there, and how the babies all have fast cars and have races.

The fact that they had just watched “Cars” for the billionth time was not lost on me.

Jack tells me he was a sort of mentor in Baby World. He played with the other babies, he taught them to crawl, and teaching them to walk “better” (either he’s not a very good teacher, or they weren’t very good learners).

He told me “I crawled a lot of times with the other babies.  Wait… there’s no other babies.”

What?

He had just spent days telling me the intricacies of this other world populated with a multitude of unborn folks in my uterus, and in one instant, it was gone. I’m not sure where it went, but now when he talks about being in Mama’s tummy, he only mentions himself and his brothers (they all believe they were there together, pre-birth). But no racing, no lessons.

I’m not sure what happened to end Baby World, and I’m a bit sad to not hear the stories anymore. I’m thinking the reality of Kai, baby boy Baskin number four, changed his mind.

Now he has other interests.  Like carrying a beanie baby in his shirt and “giving birth” to it.  My boys take turns being the “mama” and the “baby” – “mama” has “baby” under a blanket, then gives birth.

Yes, this is what my boy children do for entertainment.

Jack is already talking about the children he’s going to have when he grows up and gets married, and how he’s going to be as a father. I’m glad he has a great role model to follow in his Dad.

I’ll be really happy, though, when he takes an interest in learning how to change a diaper.

big brother

 

*We have already had to have the talk with him, but that’s a crazy story for another post

 

Share this: name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> Read More

Running Man

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 | 0 comments

Running Man

When you think of autism, what’s the first image that pops into your mind?

(It’s ok, we’re not pc here.)

I’m guessing it’s something along the lines of a child flapping their hands wildly. Or spinning in circles. Or making strange, loud sounds.

In the autism community, we call these “stims.” When somebody is “stimming,” they’re seeking sensory input, or stimulation. Stimming comes in all kinds of forms, often as individual as the person doing it.

Jack likes to run. In the house, in a pattern.

We call it “doing laps.”

When Jack is running laps, he’s in his own world. He has a set pattern, which usually starts at the couch in the living room, takes him through the room into the kitchen, off the fridge (it used to be the sliding glass door, until we finally convinced him that it might hurt to accidentally go through it), down the hall into the front door, and back into the living room, landing with a bounce on the couch.

With barely a breath in between, he’s off again.

He does this for a while, and he’s pretty much in his head the entire time. Meaning, he’s not available for conversation. Or much else, really.

He’s off in autism land.

autism is amazing

I finally asked Jack what he’s thinking when he’s running his laps, as I was a bit concerned that he might be doing it out of frustration or anxiety.

“When I run like that, I’m thinking happy thoughts,” he said. “Right now, I’m thinking about Rugrats.”

Ok, then. I pressed him to explain further.

“Sometimes I think happy thoughts, sometimes. I’m walking around, which could give me energy.”

Makes complete sense.

I asked him if he’s upset, or if he just does it.

“I just decide to think happy thoughts.”

I had a feeling that as much as I was gaining a little bit of insight into Jack’s habit, I was starting to annoy him. Still, I pressed on. What makes him happy? What comes to him while he’s doing laps?

“Can I keep that a secret? I don’t want to tell you that.”

Of course. A man needs his secrets. He’ll tell me in his own time.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Cause I didn’t want that conversation.”

Or not.

 

Share this: name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> Read More

Guess What? I Have Autism!

Posted by on Aug 5, 2013 | 2 comments

Guess What? I Have Autism!

“Hi! I’m Jack. I have autism.”

A sentence I wasn’t sure I was ready to hear. Yet, so pleased to see it exclaimed loudly and proudly.

Two weeks ago my husband David and I told Jack he has autism for the very first time. We’ve never hidden anything from him, we just wanted to wait until we were certain he’d be able to understand the gravity of it all to address it directly.

We discussed it for months in advance, tried to plan out what we wanted to say. And what we didn’t want to say. We decided to wait until the summer, so he would have time to adjust to his new reality unfettered by school stresses. We looked at books, we asked what others had told their children.

Summer came and we still waited. For the right time, the right place, the right… whatever.  We finally decided to take him out to lunch alone, where we could have a conversation without his brothers drawing focus. It would be perfect.

And we all know the best laid plans always go according to, well, plan.

The days passed and still no discussion, no lunch date. Then one day we were all sitting around the kitchen table doing arts and crafts and what-have-you. I looked at David, he looked at me and shrugged. It just seemed like a good time.

“Jack, do you know what autism is?”

He wasn’t sure, so we expanded on some things he already knew: people have different likes and dislikes, people don’t all look the same, people think differently.

That’s been a recurring theme in our family for years. Whenever one of the children asks why someone is a certain way, or why somebody likes something they don’t, or any time something is not the same as what they know, we say it.

“People’s lives are different.”

We knew someday Jack (or his brothers) would realize that he’s not like most of the other kids, and we wanted him to know that different is not wrong. It’s not strange. It’s not weird or funny or less than. Different is just different.

We described the spectrum, and how all people who have autism fit somewhere on it, but are not the same. That even within the autism community there are differences, and that’s OK.

We told him that autism is why sometimes sounds are too loud and lights are too bright and the Titan AE theme song drives him nuts (although to be fair, it’s really annoying). Autism is why he has a helper at school, and why he needs to run around in the halls periodically. It’s why he takes melatonin to sleep at night.

It’s also why he wants to know everything about every subject that interests him, and wants to share it all with anyone within earshot. It’s not why he’s curious, but it’s probably why he’s curiouser.

So when we said the words “you have autism” to Jack, and explained what we meant, he wasn’t upset. He wasn’t scared or troubled in any way. He was quite the opposite.

I’m pretty certain Jack believes he has some sort of super powers.

Which, of course, he does. Duh.

So, without further ado, Jack’s thoughts on autism.

On the concept of a spectrum, and where he falls on it (we told him he started in the middle, and now he’s toward the high-functioning end):

“It’s hard to read if you’re in the middle of the spectrum. You just have to show your parents the words.”

“If you’re way past schedule on learning, nothing will stop you from learning again and again and again to get to the other end of the spectrum.”

Jack does understand that not everyone can move from one end to the other, although his main concern about those individuals is that they may not be able to have sex properly to have children. He’s quite interested in the mechanics of having babies at the moment.

I’m certain he’ll have more to say on the non-sex aspect at a later date.

On the fact that he was born prematurely, and how that may have contributed to his autism (his correlation, not ours):

“If you’re early (premature) you have a lot more time to learn. If you’re past schedule (post-dates, like his brothers), you don’t have as much time to learn.”

So, according to Jack, he’s got one up on his brothers because he was born six weeks premature.

On early intervention (he started services when he was 23 months old), and the important role parents have in the therapy process:

“You (parents) helped me learn. You also brought someone else over to help teach me to learn.”

“It’s all because of my parents that other people came and taught me. So parents do help out with learning, not just school and other classes. Mostly parents. But mostly school.”

Um, thanks?

“And you learn mostly everything at university.”

OK then.

Some random thoughts on autism:

“I couldn’t walk when I was born, and it’s because of the spectrum.”

Hm, probably not the case.

“I know how to read, so I’m really good at autism.”

I guess so?

We finished up by asking him how he felt now that he knows about autism. Turns out, he thinks it’s pretty cool.

“I think that having autism is great. Of course, what do you know?”

Not much, apparently.

“Do you like autism a lot?”

Yes, yes I do, in fact.

“Well, thank you!”

You’re quite welcome, little man, it’s been my pleasure.

When his aunt and cousins came over later in the day, he ran up to them and gleefully exclaimed, “guess what?!? I have autism!”

Let the celebrations begin.

And, as is his wont, Jack summed up autism in the most eloquent way possible. From the mouths of babes and all, words of wisdom:

“I think it (autism) helps me want to do lots of things. It’s great for the mind, because it can help you do lots of things.”

And finally:

“Some people (with autism) can’t talk – it’s not about your voice, it’s about your mind.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

voice mind 2

 

***********************************************************

Next up in this series – what Jack’s brothers have to say about autism.

 

 

 

Share this: name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> | name;?> Read More