Posts tagged play

Blocks and rocket ships

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Nathan came excitedly bounding out if his room, exclaiming “Come look at what I made!” I followed him into his room to find this:

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He had made four identically built rocket ships out of some blocks his grandma had gotten him a while back. He was so pleased with his creation, as were Paul and I. Just think, a few months ago, this would have been impossible for him. But now look at him! I’m so proud of how far he’s come. The preschool we sent him to in order to get him help for his Autism was one of the best decisions we could have possibly made. He has come so far! Plus, it’s awesome how he loves, loves, loves to go to school. I hope that love sticks with him!

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Oh, mean people and their mean kids

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So earlier this week, I took my sweet boys to the park for a picnic. I grabbed myself some fried chicken then got Nathan some chicken nuggets. We spread out a sheet at the park and had a glorioius meal. John mostly lurched around on the sheet, trying to take Nathan’s drink while making those adorable grunting noises that he makes. As we were eating, a small group of boys, about 5 years old, come by kicking a soccer ball. They got pretty close to smacking me with the ball, and Nathan said, “Hey guys!!! We’re trying to eat so don’t kick that ball here!” Ha ha. I love that kid.

When we finished eating, Nathan bounded over to the playground to let off some energy as I cleaned up. John attentively supervised. After I packed everything back up, John and I meandered over to a bench so I could keep a better eye on the playgound happenings. That one kid with the soccerball was in the middle of all the playground equipent kicking his ball around. Literally. The kid was kicking it up onto the play structures and all over the place. He must have thought he was cool. The mother and some dude who may have either been her boyfriend or just someone she was flirting with were sitting on the swings. She appeared oblivioius to the antics of her kid and talked in this annoying high-pitched voice that oozed of low-self esteem and desperation.

After a while, Nathan took notice of this kid with the soccerball. See, I’ve always taught Nathan to share. Well, he doesn’t HAVE to share if he doesn’t want to- but those things he doesn’t want to share stay at home in his room. Once he brings it out and plays with it in front of others, it’s fair game. So with this knowledge, Nathan bounds over to the kid and asks him if he can play, too. The kid, being the incredible hotshot that he thought he was, starts fancy-kicking the ball away from Nathan. Nathan has poor fine and gross-motor skills, so he finds it absolutely fascinating to watch when other kids have more advanced skills than him. Nathan sees this ball-kicking an an invitation to start playing, so he starts chasing after the boy. I watch from a distance, curious to see how this would evolve. Of course, as an adult with years of experience on my side, I already knew what would happen. I could just about smell the stench of Entitled Jerk radiating off this kid. But I wanted to see how Nathan would handle it when the inevitable occured.

And the inevitable did indeed happen. After a couple of minutes of Nathan trying to kick the soccerball, the kid finally grabs it off the ground and tells Nathan to get away. I stand up, John on my hip, and start slowly walking toward them, just in case I needed to intervene. At first, Nathan, who doesn’t have a good grasp on social issues, started laughing. He told the kid that the nice thing to do on the playground is to share. The kid said he didn’t have to share.

And then the hand-flapping started.

And then the tears.

Nathan, who doesn’t understand this hostility, starts bellowing (loudly!) that if the kid doesn’t share, Nathan’s going to go home and never play with him ever again. The kid said, who cares? Nathan’s hand flapping became more vigorous as he started yelling that he wants to play and he wants to be friends. That stupid mother just sat there on the swing and laughed. Sensing a meltdown, I called Nathan over and whispered that some parents never teach their kids how to be good people, how to share, or even manners for that matter. I told him it might be best to stay away from jerks like that. Nathan tearfully agreed. I helped him dry his eyes and off he went to play with some other kids.

And then I heard that mother. I use the term loosely, as being a mother is an ACTIVE job. She told her boyfriend/fling/whoever he was that “I don’t know how old that other kid is- he’s such a brat and needs to grow up.” I bristled. If I was a dinosaur, my spines totally would have been poised for attack. About that same time, Nathan tried one last time to play with that awful kid and the mother called out, “Just throw it over his head. He can’t get it then!” Really? She’s actively encouraging bullying? Of a kid with autism?! Granted, she doesn’t know Nathan’s issues, but that’s just it- you never know. Nathan, thank goodness, didn’t understand the implications of her taunting. He heard her say throw the ball over his head and thought it was a game. He hand-flapped and screamed, “YEAH! LET’S DO THAT!”

I stood where I was at and stared at this mother. I really couldn’t believe she just acted that way towards my child. Apparently, I must have been putting off some don’t-mess-with-my-kid vibes because she started shifting around, eventually getting up and sitting in a few different places. And then one of the other kids started picking on Nathan- told him he wasn’t “allowed” in the rock-climbing contraption that forms a circle that kids can get inside. When he tried to go in anyway, the kid pushed him down. I called Nathan to me and told him it was best to go home rather than play with bullies who have no conscience. Sweet boy came with me to the car, crying the whole time about how he just wanted to be friends. I told him that some kids aren’t worth being friends with. It’s more peaceful to be alone than to play with mean old bullies. Poor sweetie insisted that they were going to be friends.

And, as icing on the cake, as I was getting the kids back in the car to leave, this “mother” comes walking out to her car with FOUR kids in tow. All the ones that were mean. How odd. I don’t know if they were all hers- I know the one with the soccer ball was. And then the one with the soccer ball gets in the car and starts throwing baseball bats, gloves, and balls out into the road! She just looked at him as was like, “now, now.” All the kids were swarming around the side of my car as I was trying to back up, and she didn’t even try to keep them safe. I had to wait for them to move away.

The more I’m around other kids, the more I start to dislike them. It’s not even the kids’ fault- it’s the parents’ fault for raising them that way. It seems there are quite a number of these typse of parents out there. We’ve ran into a few awesome parents at the park, but the vast majority of them are just as big of a jerk as their kid. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, huh?

My sweet, loving Nathan has much to learn. So much.

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My boys

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It’s been such lovely weather here the past couple of days! We just made it through a really cold spell right around Valentine’s Day and actually got some snow… more snow than we’ve had in these parts in about 21 years! The last time we got a decent snow, Nathan was the same age as John is now. Only we only got about half as much then as we did this last time. So Paul and Nathan went sledding a few times, and when it was time to build a snowman, I bundled John up and plopped him down in the snow right next to the snowman. He spent the next 20 minutes excitedly slapping the snow around while making all those cute little baby noises he likes to make. It was precioius. Nathan helped Paul build the snowman and they even gave him eyes, nose, a mouth, arms, and a hat. The kids loved it! I don’t even think John knew what it was, but heck, he loved it anyway.

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Pure crazyness! Look at all that SNOW!! This was taken at night, before the snow had a chance to fall off the rails. We measured it at 8 inches. EIGHT!!

Winter-2014-140The next day, the boys had a blast playing in it. Even John loved slapping his multi-layered sock-covered hands around in all that lovely fluffiness!

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Nathan being an awesome big brother and taking care of “his baby” (As he likes to call John.) Nathan is wearing my gloves- they’re a little big on him, but they got the job done!

Winter-2014-144Nathan loved helping Daddy build a snowman. John diligently supervised.

Winter-2014-152Look at that sweet face!

Winter-2014-156The finished snowman. Nathan named him Anakin.

Winter-2014-157A cup of delicous hot chocolate and marshmellows to knock the cold from his little bones. Nathan’s not much on sweets, so he drank about 1/4 of it before declaring he was done.

So the weather has warmed up the past few days, and I’ve been taking the boys outside to play. Because we have a yard! A YARD! A big ole yard with lots and lots of room to run. Our last place didn’t have much of a yard at all, and it was dangerous because of how close we were to the busy road. So at any rate, John and I mostly sit on the deck while Nathan runs around and pokes sticks at random inanimate objects.

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Nathan is a brave little boy, however. He’s had a bad habit lately of trying to sneak out of the house to go outside and play without telling me. And just the other day, I gave him the ok to go out and play but while I wasn’t looking, he snuck out of the backyard. After just a couple of minutes of not hearing him, I knew something was wrong, so I ran outside but couldn’t see him. On a hunch, I ran to the front yard and lo-and-behold if he wasn’t walking down the street, waving a stick in the air and talking to himself.

That scared the liver out of me, as my mom used to say. Holy cow. After I brought him inside, I tried talking to him and explaining why he is never, ever, EVER allowed to do that. Anything could happen. He could be hit by a car or someone could try to take him. Paul also talked to him about it as well, but Nathan just doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation. He told me later that night that if an adult tries to take him, he would punch and kick and put the adult in Mommy’s car. Oh my sweet boy. The best I can do is talk to him about it over and over and over again, until it’s ingrained in his head that he cannot ever go anywhere without Mommy and/or Daddy, and especially nowhere with a stranger. No matter what. Anyway, I’m just thankful I caught him in time. And thankful for my Mommy Intuition that told me it was too quiet out there.

Boys. So full of life, wanting to explore and be independent. I love my boys and wouldn’t have it any other way! Life is good.

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It’s cold outside!

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I know it’s not as cold here in Tennessee as it is in, say, Minnesota, but I have to say- IT’S SO COLD!! It was about 18 degrees or so this morning when we got up and now it’s about 8 degrees. We have the heaters on and a fire going in the fireplace, and I still have a chill! There’s no mistaking that winter is here! It’s nice, though. I like cold winters. Now if we just had a decent snow, it would be perfect!

My awesome brother came up to see me this weekend. We had so much fun! (Of course, when do we not? Ha ha!) We gorged on a ton of sushi for lunch. It’s funny because we both like really spicy food, so we ordered the spiciest sushi on the menu. Nothing! It wasn’t even close to spicy for us! Of course, this is coming from someone who orders her food extra spicy- meaning pile on the hot peppers! So after that, we went ice skating in Knoxville. I hadn’t been ice skating since I was somewhere around the age of 6 years old… so about 25ish years. It was hilarious because when I first got out on the ice, the best I could do was hold onto the rail for dear life as my legs scissored and I didn’t go anywhere. After a while though, I started getting the hang of it, so by the time we left, I got to the point to where I was skating more towards the middle of the rink, away from the rail! And get this- I only fell once. Not too shabby, huh? The funny thing was once I fell, I couldn’t get back up!  My skates kept sliding out from under me, so I had to wait for my brother to make it back around so he could help me up. It was awesome! He, of course, was a great skater-  mostly, he said, because he used to rollerblade a lot when he was younger. So he pretty much taught me how to skate.

One of the biggest tips I can give anyone trying to ice skate is to make sure you get your laces as TIGHT as you can. You need that ankle support to keep your ankles from turning in. In fact, I got my first pair of skates so tight that the laces snapped in half. Then I had my brother lace up the second pair as tight as he could, and from then on out, I was great.

The only irritating thing was the tweens/teens who would congregate in groups on the ice along the rail. When I was first trying to figure out how to skate, I had to stop multiple times because they were apparently so self-absorbed that they were completely oblivious that they were causing a traffic jam. Small kids and adults alike had to stop and wait on those fools. I finally got to the point to where I just barged right through the groups. I got a few dirty looks, but hey, not my problem!

So after a couple hours of cold hands, sweat, and sore ankles from the tight skates, we decided to head out. We headed over to the mall because he wanted to get the boys some gifts. We sat in those massage chairs and laughed at ourselves for hanging out at the mall. And then? For dinner, we ate at the Cheesecake Factory. If you’ve never eaten at one, GO! And get a slice of cheesecake while you’re at it- it’s heaven on a plate. Seriously! It was fabulous! Our server was lousy, but we just focused instead of how much fun we were having.

I’m always so sad when our days together are over and he has to head back home. I only get to see him a few times a year, so we really make sure to make the time count. We’re loud and obnoxiously immature when we get together, but it’s our stress release. And besides, I have to admit, it’s pretty funny watching other people’s reactions. Hey, you only live once, and it keeps us young! And who cares what other people think anyway!

I’m working on a Christmas post to put on here at some point. I’m almost done writing it, now I just need to put the pictures up. I miss having a smartphone! It really makes writing posts and uploading pictures so much easier! Hope everyone had a merry Christmas and happy New Year; we sure did! Stay warm out there, everybody!

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