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It is done.  Scout is officially out of elementary and on his way to middle school.  On the last day C-man and I attended his ‘graduation’.  Wow, talk about a production!  I think on my last day at Roosevelt Elementary school back in the day (this is when I talk about the miles and miles I had to walk to to get there…and actually, that is kind of true…!)  the bell rang and we ran out of there.  Period.  This was a 2 hour long extravaganza complete with slideshow, speeches and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to present the outdoor benches our class apparently donated to the school.

Along with expecting this to be a quick little ceremony where the kids maybe sang a song and that was that, I thought for sure I would be throwing my proverbial cap (or fedora, more like it) into the air screaming a loud ‘Wa-of-the-hoo’ at the idea of getting out of that uncomfortable social soup of carnivals, science fairs and other various celebrations.  As mentioned in previous posts, it was pretty much torture for me to be a part of.  I knew it would be a bit sad to witness a milestone in Scout’s life, but I was fully unprepared to find myself having to hold back from uncontrollable sobs from the moment I sat down in the gym.

What really did it was the Irish Blessing Song that the 5th grade teachers sang to the kids.  Water works!  I looked around and saw that, although misty-eyed, not many people seemed to be struggling like I was.  As I mentioned, it was a total surprise even to me–I’m the girl who fully expected to be a puddle on my wedding day and for whatever reason, I didn’t shed a tear.

I think part of it was not only the sentimentality of watching my child grow up before my very eyes, but feeling all of the emotions of every elementary year–every mistake, every victory, every struggle–and realizing that, Wow.  We made it.  He made it.  He started this new school in 1st grade, he struggled with math, he sat in the corner at the Halloween party, he ‘twinkled’ awkwardly at the Carnival, he did the Science Fairs, he came in second and then won the Geography Bees, he was bored with the gifted reading program, he was made fun of for dancing all by himself outside at a party, he was celebrated for dancing in front of the class in the music room, he had to meet with the principal, he went on field trips, he did the announcements, he got made fun of and got in his own trouble on the bus, he made friends (he made friends!) , he won the hearts of adults that worked with him so that they shed tears when it was his time to go….all of these things, Scout did.  Like any ‘typical’ kid, he did.  And now he is moving on to the next stage.

Momma Bear ain’t done yet.

Ahhh, the Great Minnesota Get-Together.  It  wouldn’t be summer without it.  Since C-man grew up doing this as a 4-H member it’s been a tradition for us since the kids were babies. (this is the ONLY reason he has the patience for it.  This is the man who wouldn’t wait in any lines at Disneyland but sat on a bench and waited for us to be done with the rides.  !)  It being my birthday, it was a great way to celebrate!  I knew better than to not try to stump the age guesser…I tried that years ago when we hit the fair on the day of my birth and he guessed me two years older.  ouch.

Kids LOVE the fair, of course, and Scout is no exception.  I’m impressed and amazed by this, since your typical (not that there really is a typical!) kid on the spectrum couldn’t stand the noise, commotion, and general unpredictable-ness of such a place!!  Of course he wants the entire day to be about HIM and sometimes gets a bit ruffled when the rest of us have something we want to do instead of his first choice, but I suppose any child can get that way.  The fact that it is a wonder he can enjoy such a thing was brought home to me when I met a woman there who mentioned she had 12 year old twins with autism that stayed home because they just couldn’t handle it.  (Hi Wendy!)  I felt sad for her that she couldn’t enjoy the look of joy on their faces that I get to experience with Scout as he encounters new sights and pushes himself a bit to do things that may make him uncomfortable.

Probably Scout’s favorite experience of the fair was this Bubble pen sponsored by Mr. Bubble. (I have a thing for Mr. Bubble…Scout wasn’t the only one who got a temporary tattoo of the cute little thing on his arm!)  This was new to the fair this year and oh-so-cool!  There was a bubble machine pumping out more and more bubbles as kids ran, rolled and piled bubbles all over themselves.  It was a hoot.  We warned Scout that he would be wet-wet-wet for a looong time after as we walked around the fair, but he went in anyway and never complained after.  I was very impressed by this as even I would NOT be comfortable walking around for hours in wet underwear!  Take that, Sensory Issues!!

Scout and I always hit the Butterfly House every year.  C-man could care less and V is deathly afraid of their tickle, so it’s something Scout and I have together that we love doing.  It’s so magical to have butterflies land on you like old friends.  You can have them climb onto your finger and it’s like they love being there.  I don’t know how they tame those things, but somehow they do! 🙂  I love this photo I got, Scout with a big moth on one hand and the other one having just taken flight off of his other finger.  Plus nothing brings you down to earth more than having a stranger tell you that you have a butterfly on your butt.  I’m telling you, these butterflies are friendly.

Each year the kids enter art work in the fair.  I never would have thought of this but my hubby does this himself and started the kids on it when they were quite young. (this is actually the first year my hubby got in after 10 years of trying!  wahoo!)  V did not get her painting in this year, but Sullivan’s clay polar bear box won a 2nd place ribbon!  I think entering this contest is a great lesson for the kids.  They see the value of their creations and of course feel very proud if they are recognized.  It’s also a good lesson if they’re not.  It’s so fun to go into the building and see their piece on display in the glass case!

This was the first year Scout really hit the main Midway.  He still did a few rides in the smaller ‘Kidway’, but as night fell and we headed over to the big scary rides for our teen V, Scout was ready to try a few.  One he loved so much he even went on twice.  He still won’t ever go on the scary rides–of course, 15 year old V won’t either!–and he seems to avoid anything that spins. (ironic, since spinning was a therapy he had years ago during some OT time) But he was so proud of the fact that he tried the rides he did, and he loved every minute. V even lowered herself to go on with him. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see him up there, being brave and experiencing pure joy.  Seeing he and his sister together was enough to make sappy mom cry some tears.  Lord knows I can’t do those rides anymore, sadly, but I do remember that feeling they gave me.  It was such a feeling of freedom to fly threw the air.  It was scary, exhilarating, and nothing made you feel more alive.  I looked up at my two kids smiling and knowing they were feeling that way and I just felt overwhelmed with love and gratefulness that they are a part of my life.  Seeing them fly through the air I felt how they can do anything in their lives, they are free and healthy and happy.  Nothing is more satisfying for a mom than that feeling.  All this for the price of admission to a State Fair.  Well worth it.  The Great Minnesota Get-Together indeed!

Ahhh, Valentine’s Day. The day of love.  A day where you do nice things for people, tell someone how much you care, send mushy Valentines and hope you get a few.

Scout got some Valentines at school today, and this was definitely my favorite.  Ahhh, youth. 🙂

I know this sounds harsh, but surely I can’t be the only parent that has said this to themselves in their minds (hopefully never aloud!) at some point as they listen to their child go on and on about something, or ask “why?” for the umpteenth time.

If you have a child on the spectrum, chances are you are saying this to yourself a lot!  You are completely familiar with the fixations that our kids get on random things.  The facts that continuously spew from their mouths that charm all other adults within earshot but are making you once again want to run in the other room.  How often can you listen to the same fact over and over?  How often can you feign interest?

I’ve felt very guilty because honestly, I’m not so good at feigning these days.  I do the exact opposite of what I try to teach Scout when I want him to be a good listener….I continue to surf or type away on my computer, or cut up vegetables in the kitchen, or just plain leave the room.  It sounds terrible, I know, but honestly if I sat down and raptly listened to each and every fact about volcano eruptions or the kinds of dishes that were on the Titanic I would never get anything done.

It’s such a hard balance for me.  We’ve gotten to where we’ll listen for a little bit and then politely tell Scout that we’ve heard enough.  I know he needs to hear that–he needs to learn that NO ONE, not even his loving parents, can listen to that and be interested like he is.  (maybe another Aspie, but then they’d probably have their own fixation and go on and on about THAT.)  But then again, I am his parent and this is his thing. Shouldn’t I at least pretend to be interested?!  It’s a tough balance to strike.

The interesting thing about Scout that seems different from a lot of Aspies I read about is that he doesn’t really have one specific fixation. He tends to spread it around.  He’s had some fazes–the solar system (nothing like hearing, “Look Mom!  That looks like Uranus!” being declared loudly at the grocery store), old coins, the Titanic, now volcanos–but one specific theme doesn’t seem to last long.  He’ll go back and forth with them, which I guess is good.  He just wants to be the expert about everything, I guess.  This will probably serve him well someday, although I do hope he’s able to focus on something specific…but there I go again, worrying about the distant future.  Day at a time, Suz, day at a time…

Meanwhile, I’ll go on smiling and trying to listen to The Facts.  I’ll pop another happy pill and feign interest. Or I’ll tell Scout that I just can’t hear anymore for the next 5 minutes.  And continue to be amazed by him and love the dickens out of him anyway.

I am so honored!  My blog pal Fiona from Welcome to the Madhouse nominated me to receive the “Versatile Blogger” Award! 🙂  

With this I am to share seven facts about myself.  Let’s see now….

1.  I used to sing in a heavy metal band in Hollywood, California.

2.  The best celebrity encounter I ever had was with Johnny Depp–the worst was with Gene Simmons.

3.  I am a red belt in Tae Kwon Do. (and if you read my previous post, you already know this! :-))

4.  I’m pretty much obsessed in all things Lord of the Rings.

5.  My husband and I went on our first date in January, we were engaged in April and got married in October.

6.  My hubby and I owned and operated a coffee shop called The Atomic Grind in Missoula, Montana.

7.  I have been stalked by an emu.

There.  Now I need to nominate 7 bloggers to also receive this award.  How do I pick just 7??  Here they are in alphabetical particular order.  They are also not all just about the autism spectrum.  I mean, sheesh, we do need to tear ourselves away from it once in a while, don’t we?!

Anonymomblog – ‘when your only significant other is a 14 year old with autism’ –love that.

Fresh Tart – this is my BFF’s amazing cooking blog.  Her recipes are easy and to die for, and you can just hear her cheeky personality come right through.

Gluten Free Girl – this chicka has been a great resource for me in checking out gluten free recipes that you’d actually want to eat.  We aren’t really GF here anymore (it was an experiment) but I still cook some of these just because I know it’s healthy.  And yummy.

Kitchen Pantry Scientist – my fellow rocker girl Liz is one smart cookie. She writes about bringing science into the kitchen with your kids…and a whole lotta other interesting things.

More Like Average Mom – a great Aspie blog.  Her son Jett and my Scout seem so much alike!!

Planet Dan – this blog is for when you need a great laugh.  As a warning, it’s pretty irreverent and as he says, he’s bound to offend some people…but of course that’s what I love about it.!

Unplanned Cooking – are many of my friends in the kitchen, or what?!  Jennifer’s blog always has great insights about life and family.

It was hard to choose 7, I must say.  Maybe someday I’ll get another one of these bad boys and I can pass it around to more deserving bloggers! 🙂