Alysia K. Butler
We had our first snow of the season this morning.
When the kids saw it out the window they were beyond excited. I went out to warm up the car and brought in a giant snowball so they could all touch it. That started the mad dash around the house for the winter stuff. Luckily I’m disorganized enough that most of our winter coats, boots, hats and gloves were still out from last winter, so they were easy to find. However, being that disorganized also means that I have no idea what fits anymore.
Howie was clamoring to go outside and play in the snow. Maybe clamoring isn’t the right word. Demanding? Insisting? Perseverating?
It was 8:30 AM and I realized that Howie wasn’t yet dressed for school. We need to be out the door by 8:35 to get to school on time. I pulled him away from the window to help him get dressed. To distract him, I asked if he wanted to wear his boots to school today.
He ran away from me and started jumping up and down. “Hug! Hug! Hug! Hug!”
I grabbed him back and wrestled with his pajamas. I asked again if he wanted to wear his boots.
“No! No! No! Hug! Hug! Hug!”
“No hug until you get dressed and answer me!”
More jumping. “Hug! Hug! Hug!”
“You need to look at me and answer me first! Do you want to wear your boots!”
And did I mention that while this was going on, Lewis would come over and gently tap me on the back with a Wii Remote and fall to the floor and roll around? I’m sure he’s imitating some move in a game that my oldest Gerry plays, I’m just not sure which one.
Autism Mom was on one shoulder, gently reminding me that we would get nowhere until he got his hug. Running Late Mom was on the other shoulder, already at the end of her rope at 8:32 AM on a Monday.
At 8:33 AM, Autism Mom kicked Running Late Mom off her shoulder. I pulled Howie in for a hug.
“I would like to wear my boots and make footprints in the snow around the tree. Now!”
I gathered up Lewis in his winter coat and gave Howie his boots, praying they would still fit. They did, of course. As did his coat and gloves and every other winter item from last year.
We headed outside to the car. At this point it’s pouring rain (this is New England — don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes). As I put Lewis into his car seat, Howie ran around the front yard making footprints in the quickly melting snow. It was a scene right out of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. He was getting completely soaked but he didn’t care. I joined him for a minute and we compared footprints. His smile returned and he climbed into the car without complaint.
At school, we made footprints together as we raced towards the door. I handed him over to his one-on-one aide and reminded her that his sneakers were in his backpack. Howie started to run for more snow, but she caught him at the door. That motion made him slide in the snow, causing his footprints to make a giant swoosh in the now slush by the school stairs. This giant laugh came out of him — the laugh that tells me he’s going to be OK. I ran back to the car through the rain to get Lewis home. I could still hear him laughing.
When getting Lewis out of the car, I handed him the one pound bag of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee I had bought the day before. He carried it in, and wouldn’t let it go. I turned around for a moment to get my coffee cup ready, and he had climbed up into his high chair. This is usually his signal that he wants something to eat.
Following the advice of the speech therapist, I looked him right in the eye and asked him what he wanted.
He pointed to the bag of coffee.
And for the first time, a spontaneous two word sentence response to a question:
Maybe this Monday won’t be so bad after all.