Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween

We have another Halloween under our belts at the Sneathen house. The kids enjoyed themselves immensely. Daniel is loving Halloween more than ever before, the fact that he's 13 and looks 19 is a bit of a negative, but so far we've had no complaints from people handing out candy! We actually had a 20 year old bringing his little sister around and he had a bag for himself, so I'm chalking this one up to one of my autism theories which is, Daniel is doing what everyone WANTS to do but does not because of outside pressures and peer pressure. He doesn't care that it's not "cool" for a 13 year old to dress up in an all out clown costume, paint his face and trick or treat with the little kids. He doesn't care that it's not cool to sing Veggie Tales "God is bigger than the boogie man" at the top of his lungs. It's a very catchy song! He goes with what he truly loves without letting anyone else tell him differently. There is something lovely and endearing about that. If fact, I have some jealousy about it!

We were ready for trick or treating but Daniel was insisting that he wanted his face painted. He has never allowed his face to be painted. It was just a few years ago that he finally put a temporary tattoo on him. In the past, if he got a stamp on his hand he would hold it out in front of him crying as if the ink was burning a hole in his hand. I still don't know if it actually hurt a bit or he didn't like the look of his skin this way. This will go under the category of "things I may actually find out in the future". When Daniel told me he was going to have his face painted this year I believed him 100%. When Daniel says he is going to do something, he does it. There is no going back. That is a GREAT thing with him. I know once he says he'll do it, he will, and he'll never go back to not doing it.
Let's give an example. . . . the dentist. He wouldn't let someone even look in his mouth for years. I'd bring him to the dentist, he'd watch them clean my teeth, clean Zachary's teeth, he'd sit in the chair, but clamp his mouth shut. Many people I know with kids on the spectrum would put their kids under for the dentist, but it wasn't a route I wanted to go. I knew once I got him there we'd be good and then he'd have the rest of his life, not being put under. Then one day, he had a new hygienist, in a new building and he did an entire teeth cleaning. . . . he's been doing it ever since.
I could tell he was nervous about the face paint, but he sat very patiently in the kitchen chair while I applied white makeup over his entire face. Zachary stood behind me saying EXACTLY the right things (I love that kid). He encouraged him, told him how great it looked. Daniel had a vision which he thankfully can share with me. He told me "I want an all while face, a big red clown smile and blue triangles on my eyes". I believe that some of the crying and screaming as a younger child were because he knew what HE wanted but WE did not, since he couldn't communicate it. He assumed we knew and would freak out when it didn't look that way. He has learned to communicate his needs much more effectively (most of the time).

So here he is looking at the final result: I love this picture. There is something about the way that he is looking at himself in the mirror that touches my heart. Not a whole lot of people can appreciate how much a little thing like painting a face can mean to someone. Daniel certainly helps you appreciate the little things in life because he enjoys them so much. The next one is Daniel feeling very proud of himself and ready to go to our annual neighborhood parade.

His brother Zachary takes a totally different approach to Halloween and wants to scare everyone. He also needed to by face painted. His mask was a half mask and the picture on the box showed it painted on the bottom half and on the neck. As I was painting him I reminded him that my skills may not be the same as the professional make up artist who most likely painted the kid on the front of his box. You see, Zachary is a perfectionist of the highest order and he's creative and can draw and paint well beyond his 9 years. He said he understood and he was sure I'd do a good job (I've trained him so well haven't I?) So here is a picture of Zachary's finished product. I hope it shows up ok because when I try to enlarge pictures on here they get blurry. Does anyone else have this problem?

Zachary covered our entire neighborhood which is over 100 houses, then went into the neighboring hood. Daniel was home within an hour but still got a pretty good haul. He is perfectly content being able to say ok I did it and I'm done and Zachary feels the need to go 110% for the allotted 2 hours of trick or treating in EL. I don't know if it's that way elsewhere but you have from 6 to 8 and then you are done. No stragglers. The siren goes of at 8 and you are done. As a parent I can't tell you how much I appreciate that!

I'm so happy this week is over. It has been the busiest week I remember in a long time. Besides the 2 1/2 days off of school, the Halloween parties at school and in the neighborhood, conferences, getting Daniel's reevaluation and new IEP done based on the reeval, I started my new job. I spent my first week as an advocate and my 8.5 hours that I'm supposed to work ended up being 12 I think....(See Zachary's description above as a perfectionist. ) This is going to be the most difficult thing for me. I need to be able to accept that I can't get right back to people because I'm not working 40 hours a week. But it should be easier next week while they are in a full school week and with no holidays and parties looming over me.

Todd and I did cut loose a bit ourselves, the week before we went to a party. Also speaking of perfectionist and competitive, I made out costumes for our party. I think they turned out pretty well! So here we are, the happy couple:


Alyse Sandborn said...

Loved reading your blog. Daniel and Zachary both looked great. And you're right, when Daniel decides to do something, he really does. That is a complete face painting job - no little bit here or there. He may learn to really like it and you will just keep getting better :)

mama edge said...

You are a family after my own heart! Excellent Halloween costumes, all of you. And congrats to Daniel for going full-clown.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Fantastic costumes all around! Kudos to Daniel for having the face makeup - and to you for doing it!

Cale said...

I can totally relate to the not-tolerating things on the skin thing. I've always been, and still am like that. I've never had a temporary tatoo or let a sticker touch my skin. Even seeing it on other people makes me nauseous. I think there are two reasons for this:
1) I imagine how the item would feel on the skin (sticky), and that perturbs me greatly.
2) I am totally accustomed to the way my skin lookes, and beside the acne on my face, I know every mark that covers it. It is a point of focus and balance; when everything else is out of sorts, my skin is the same as always, and I look at it when under stress. If I were to see an unfamiliar marking like ink or makeup, that would totally disturb the order my skin imposes on the universe.