We Fart!

In my childhood visions of motherhood, I would come home to a clean house and happy children who would lovingly greet me with joyful hugs and kisses.  Yesterday, I came home and was greeted by Luke, who ran into the kitchen the moment I walked through the door and excitedly declared, “We FART!!”

Why yes, son, we do.  I am so happy that you have learned this exciting new concept.

This is just the latest in a string fun, new summertime discoveries:

After listening to his parents speak in church, he came to the sudden and quite vocal realization that, “We don’t pee in the freezer!”  (And, yes, he did try it.)

20170713_205600If he wants to get Mom’s attention, a sure fail method has always been to sample a variety of nonfood items.  This summer, however, Luke has kicked it up a notch above just rocks, dirt. and dried up manure.   Those are just so old school.  He knows that if you really want a reaction, you have to get creative!   Try some bird poop off the headstones during a visit to the cemetery on Memorial day.  A long, deep swig of teal acrylic paint (dumped into a cup for easier drinking) lacks creativity but sure generates a nice little Mommy tantrum.  Need a little protein?  How about a large, fresh, juicy slug from the raspberry patch? mmmmm!

I can honestly say that my childhood dream did not include having this conversation with my legitimately worried four-year-old daughter at bedtime:

“Are you sure about this, Mom?  Are you sure this toothbrush hasn’t been up Luke’s butt?”

“Yes, I’m sure, darling. I throw those toothbrushes away as soon as he brings them to me to smell.”

Ah, the real-life dreams of motherhood: dreams of those beautiful days when I am greeted only by the innocent and excited declaration that, “We fart!”

 

 

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In Case You Ever Wondered . . .

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a bit of a Facebook junkie.  I love sharing bits of my life with family and friends I am unable to see or talk to regularly.  However, I have noticed that I often use Facebook as a vent for the frustrating days we have with Luke and seldom do I really share what a beautiful soul I have the honor to raise.  For example, Luke has developed a new attraction to cutting things up.  Here are a couple of pictures that I posted to Facebook:

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Last week: my knitting cord cut and ripped out of the sweater I was working on, my earphones

 

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Today’s casualties: my sweater, hours of work on a crochet project, charger cord, and his little brother’s prized Valentine box

I am so quick to share the aggravating moments, but often fail to share the sweet ones.  So, in an effort to counter all of my whining posts, I want to share this beautiful one.

Last Saturday was almost magical. Luke was a sheer delight to be with. He painted all the pieces to the wood tractor with very little support. He was so patient and even waited for one coat to dry before putting on a second coat. After all the pieces were painted, he used screws and a screwdriver to assemble it. All I did was start it through the hole. That project took a couple of hours and he was so attentive and excited about it.20170225_155444 After we finished, he found some pics of tractors we had printed out and spent the next few hours painting them. It was a beautiful and magical day – almost like a window opened to the sweet little boy trapped in a generally uncooperative body. 20170225_155332.jpgLest anyone ever think otherwise based on my frustrated posts, I adore my boy. I love him with all my heart and just yearn for more days like these!

Birthday Boy

Birthdays.  As kids we look forward to them and countdown the days until we are able to say we are really one year older.  We look forward to the cake, the candles, the ice cream, the people, the party,  and most of all, the presents!  Luke turned 10 this week, but his interest in any of the typical joys of birthday celebration are anything but typical.  We celebrated Luke’s special day at my parent’s home.  This has become our norm whenever we have get togethers of any significant size since our kitchen table, chairs, and any other form of seating were, “Luked,” long ago.  We have simply given up replacing such items and have opted for a small, folding table and a couple of sturdy thrift store benches for the rare instances that the family actually sits down to eat together.

The struggle with birthdays for Luke is that the number of people who love him and want to celebrate with him greatly exceeds the number of people he can tolerate in one room.  The chaos and chatter is simply overwhelming and sent him quickly to the basement, away from the party.  His pain was so clearly evident as the tears welled up in his wide, sad eyes.  He choked them back, just like any other ten year-old boy would do and clung to my arm while I tried to coax a bite or two of spaghetti into him.  I knew what was wrong, but I ask him anyway, ever hoping that he will miraculously start verbalizing his feelings.

“Oh, Luke, I want you to be happy on your birthday.  What’s the matter?”

“Do you want to work for a tractor?”

“Of course, you want a tractor!  It’s your birthday, and one of your presents has a tractor in it.  Should we go find it?”

“Yes!”

We interrupted the family’s dinner and quickly lit candles and blew them out.  Luke dutifully sang to himself through the tears.  He blew out his candles and ripped open the first gift he was handed.  Clothes.  Toss them aside.  Open the next gift: clothes. Toss them aside.  Finally, the tractor.  A remote controlled excavator that I knew he would love.  And he did.  The new toy bought us an hour or so to visit with family and then head for home to deliver medicine and tuck the birthday boy in.

The birthday boy, however, had endured an entire day of changed up routines and over stimulation.  He completely lost it in an epic meltdown of kicking, screaming and self-injury.  None of my typical soothing techniques were up to the task of calming my raging son.  In desperation, I broke out a gift I had tucked away for him for Christmas – a handheld electric massage tool.  I tried to massage his back – usually his favorite – but not tonight.  Head? No. Feet? No.  Finally, he grabbed my hand and placed it on his tummy.   We crawled into a sort of fort under the blanket on my bed massaged his bare little belly.  Slowly the tears were replaced by smiles and cuddles.  In the quiet stillness of our sleepy house, Luke finally had his happy birthday.  No noise.  No light. Just a tummy massage and a mamma’s attention all to himself.

“I love you, sweet boy,” I whispered to him.

He didn’t respond, but his little hand squeezed mine just a little tighter.

No words necessary.

 

 

The Kindness of Children

 


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Friendship – it seems so simple that we generally don’t even consider the skills necessary to make and keep friends.  We all want our children to have friends and feel accepted by society, but how will Luke ever make friends, let alone keep them, when he cannot control his violent impulses?  In just the last month, he has snatched and broken the glasses of two of his schoolmates.  When he gets over stimulated, he barrels over anything in his pathway, leaving a trail of broken objects and crying children.  I absolutely understand why other children would be hesitant about being friends with such an unpredictable and volatile boy.  When Luke started school, I worried that he would be subjected to bullying by his neurotypical peers, but thankfully, those instances have been exceptionally rare.

Last year, while he was using the restroom, one boy dared another to pull Luke’s pants down, which he did.  Of course, Luke has no understanding of social impropriety, so he could have cared less.  A third boy, however, witnessed the incident and immediately reported it. The school addressed the issue promptly with the boys and their parents.  Since that incident, I have not seen or heard of any cases of bullying or even teasing Luke.  In fact, I am truly in awe of the tender hearts of Luke’s classmates.

11676On Luke’s birthday, his classmates each made him an orange birthday card with sweet messages of love and acceptance.  His teacher had Luke sit on a stool at the front of the class while each child brought him a special birthday wish in the form of a bright orange birthday card.  And these were not just the obligatory, have-a-great-birthday kind of wishes.  Several wrote detailed letters to him. Here are just a few of the sweet messages from his fellow third graders:

Dear Luke:  Thank you for being my friend. I am so happy you are in my class.  I hope that you have fun playing with me because I have fun with you.  I really like it when you smile.  I really like playing with you at P.E. 2015-12-19 17.34.26I had a lot of fun with you on the scooters at P.E. last week.  I really like helping you with your work.  It is really nice to know you.  I hope you have an amazing birthday.  It is a lot of fun playing with you.  I hope you feel welcome in the class because we all love having you in our class.  From, xxx

Dear Luke:  You are the sweetest little boy ever.  You always make me smile when I see you.  You always make my day because you are so so so so so so so sweet.  I sometimes see you at church and you are very reverent.  You are learning a lot of new things and you are smart.  You are really nice and polite to others.  I love when you come into the classroom because I see you and it makes me so so so so so so happy?  And I wish you a happy birthday this year.  I hope your happy being nine.  From xxxx

Happy Birthday Luke!  I hope you have a good time.  Your a cool kid and your funny.  Your a smart kid.  Thank you for coming in our class.

I am simply amazed by how accepting children are of Luke, and I pray with all my heart that they will continue to love Luke despite the ever-widening gap between their development and Luke’s.  Surely, Luke will face rejection as he ages.  I pray that, when that time comes, he will remember these tender years when the children not only accepted his differences, but welcomed him whole-heartedly into their circle of friends.