Friday, June 21, 2013

My Children Are Hoarders, and Other Summer Happenings.

When your children are very young, it is typical to joke around about how common household objects--a mixing bowl, a cardboard box--are more entertaining than actual toys. Amelia and Anderson were no exception, and I laughed about how we wasted money on toys because they always preferred what can only be described as junk. However, they haven't really grown out of this, and it's actually kind of annoying.  I mean, if you walked into Amelia's room right now, in addition to a ridiculous amount of toys that rarely get used, you'd also see some old baby spoons, an empty milk jug, some random fabric scraps she brought back from Nana's house, a folded-up fruit snacks wrapper. You'd probably think that we were in the early stages of hoarding--you know, the kind where people just start throwing their trash on the ground instead of in a garbage can--and you might even be tempted to call CPS. No, no--hold the phone--it's just my kids and their weird fascination with...crap.  One time, Amelia found two squares of paper. One was red, one was purple.  They were probably 3/4 of an inch--very tiny.  She carried them all over the place. We went to put her down for a nap, and tragedy of all tragedies--the purple square was missing! Do you know what it's like to search your house for a tiny scrap of paper while listening to the dramatic wails of an over-tired 3-year-old? Not a good time. Never found the damn thing, either. Fortunately, she forgot about it.  Anderson is no better, but thankfully he chooses things that are at least large enough to find with the naked eye.  Anderson really likes lotion bottles. Yes, you read that right--lotion bottles. Specifically, he likes tiny trial-size bottles. He has quite the collection, most of which came from hotels during various conference stays, etc.  Originally, he used them to play hairdresser--they were his razors. However, now he doesn't really even use them for anything. He just carries them around and needs to know where they are at any given time.  They have names--blue lotion, brown lotion, white lotion, and the ever-elusive black lotion (which is MIA at the moment but he hasn't seemed to notice! Shhh!). Here is a picture of the bottles that were in our living room yesterday:

Yep--lotion. If any of you local friends go out-of-town and stay at a hotel with little trial-sized bottles, and you're feeling generous (or maybe just sorry for the mom who is constantly hunting for the damn missing bottles), feel free to bring us back some lotions. We can always use back-ups.

In other summer news...

Summer has been tough on the little guy in the house. The whole going-to-school-two-days-a-week thing is rough on him. He'd rather be at home, so the odd days at school make him anxious in a way that I think only ASD folks can understand. It manifests in a variety of ways--whining, expressing frustration with things that normally have no effect on him, difficulty getting ready to go to bed at night. It's hard for all of us, but we are plowing ahead. I think it's important for him to learn ways to cope with change in routine. Life isn't always going to follow a specific pattern. In the meantime, we negotiate and reason and hope for the best.

In general, nothing Anderson does surprises me anymore. Yesterday, though, he kind of blew my mind. In fact, I was speechless for a bit (and you all know that's pretty rare...).  On Wednesday night, he was really struggling with the idea of going to school Thursday--he'd had an almost week-long break, and he just wasn't feeling it.  We were in my bed, "snuggling" and watching elevator videos, and he was being his usual anxious self. He kept asking to see the "dark", and I had no idea what that was. My little dude can't really express himself like everyone else--he can't say "you know, the ones we saw when we went to _____".  He just kept saying the dark, dark doors, the dark elevator. I kept frantically searching through our usual videos for anything that might meet his criteria, and he was getting more and more frustrated.  Finally, he somehow convinced himself that I was going to actually TAKE him to see the dark doors. In an attempt to get him settled before bedtime, I agreed. I probably would've agreed to anything at that moment to get him to calm. He said, "Mom, you're going to take me to see elevators and escalators and the dark, dark doors and the trees." I was all yes, yes, okay, whatever--let's just go to bed. He was happy about it. I just prayed he'd forget about it. Yeah--you know that didn't happen. He hopped up the next morning and reminded me that, after school, we were going to see elevators and escalators. Umm, yeah, okay. Again, I hoped he'd forget.

I picked them up around 4:00, and of course the first thing he said was that we were going to go see the elevators and the dark, dark doors.  Finally, I asked him where the dark doors were, and he excitedly answered that they were at the mall! Breakthrough--at least I had a location now! The mall is where we go when we reward him with some escalator and elevator watching. I texted Marty, told him that we were picking him up and heading to the mall, and off we went! Anderson was SO. EXCITED. in the car. He couldn't wait to see these "dark doors". I'm talking off-the-charts excitement. I just hoped we'd be able to figure out this dark doors mystery when we got there.  We parked at JC Penney's, which is our go-to place because it's not as busy as Macy's, and the elevator and escalator are pretty close together, so we can go in between them quickly.  We walked in and he was totally unimpressed with the escalator. Hmmm.  I led him over to the elevator, and he pushed the button, turned around, and said, "Mom! Let's go to the dark, dark doors!"  Crap. Now I was at a loss. No clue what he was talking about. I said, "Show me where they are."  He started leading me through the store to the entrance into the actual mall. He also started acting anxious, saying he was afraid of the dark doors. All of a sudden, I realized what he was talking about. I wasn't 100% sure, but usually my instincts with this crazy little guy are right.

Any of you younger shoppers have a guess as to where in the mall might feature dark, dark doors and trees?

I started walking in that general direction, and I pointed to the store--and his excitement went through the roof. We were standing in the middle of the mall, staring at the dark dark doors and the trees, and he was literally buzzing with excitement. Flapping hands, bouncing in one spot (and drawing some funny looks). I just stared in awe. I couldn't believe he had remembered this store--and remembered it in detail. We had walked by it ONE TIME. One little shopping trip. One fast 30 seconds past the entrance, probably six months ago. And he remembered it. And for whatever reason, he really REALLY wanted to see it yesterday.

Figure it out yet?

Yes. We stood in front of Hollister for a good 10 minutes. He went from door-to-door. He bounced. He took it all in, looked at the trees and the doors from every angle. He asked if he could go inside so that he could look at the doors from that point of view.  We took a break to go get him some new shoes, and then came back to look some more. I set a timer, and told him that when the timer went off, we had to leave to go eat. As soon as the timer went off, he was ready to walk away. So happy, so fulfilled.  You know. Just an average trip to Hollister.

He's a funny little guy, that one. If a trip to look at the doors of Hollister is all it takes to make him THAT happy, after a difficult day back at school with no nap, then by gosh we will go.

His memory--it's just uncanny. I think it must be pretty photographic, honestly. Glad we figured out the dark doors mystery.  If y'all see me just standing around in the middle of the mall, look around for Anderson. He's probably ogling some doors somewhere nearby.

No comments:

Post a Comment