Thursday, December 10, 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland.....

This morning as I arrived back home after two trips to bus stops an hour apart, in blustery winds, snow that has blanketed our city, and school advisories running across our television screen, I grabbed my cup of coffee, made a bowl of oatmeal and thought about what had just transpired. Daniel, unlike most kids was bouncing off the walls with excitement this morning. Most were probably whining that our school district did not close and the promises of the HUGE storm never made it to us. Daniel, and actually Zachary too, were happy we got some snow and still got to go to school. If school closes, which only happens a few times a year, it is met by Daniel with anger, frustration and occasionally tears. After a bit of time he recovers and realizes he gets to stay home and play on the computer, listen to music and play the Wii and he somehow recovers. Zachary loves to put on his snow pants and go to his bus stop, which happens to be our neighborhood park, and fly down the snowy slide a million miles per hour into a bank of snow. Many of the kids race to the park because the one who gets there first gets the first run on the snowy slide which is the fastest slide of the morning. The only reason Daniel likes snow is because he likes to eat it. Yeah yeah, "all kids eat snow". But not like this kid. He consumes it, constantly. I gave up on that battle years ago. I try to keep him away from areas that have been salted and the "yellow" snow but otherwise I pretend it isn't happening. People constantly say, "look Daniel's eating snow!" and if they aren't really close to me I'll give him instruction to put it down, all for show. Or they'll say, "you should tell him to stop that" as if I hadn't already done that 2 million times. If I'm feeling snarky I might say, "YOU try to get him to stop, I dare you!"

(I just saw a weather update and the windchill is -4) Ahh Michigan.

The most glaring thing this morning came while I was sitting at the kitchen table and he was headed upstairs to get dressed. He usually wears Skecher's similar to this...which, I think, are actually quite stylish and you notice have no ties. An excellent choice for those on the autism spectrum. But I didn't think they'd be great for tromping through the snow. Todd had suggested a few days ago that I get Daniel some boots to wear to and from school. I was realizing as he said that, no middle schooler in their right mind would be wearing boots to school and carrying shoes with them to wear inside. Would they? Am I wrong here? I reminded him that Daniel wears size 11 men's shoes and that isn't super easy to just toss in your backpack. It would be heavy and unwieldy to carry (not good for Daniel while walking home). Todd didn't seem pleased with my assessment, but then suggested the shoes I had bought him (at DSW in the clearance section but were still $45 dollars) for his concert when he needed black shoes.

These are very similar to the shoes. They are much more substantial, heavier, with a thicker sole than the brown ones. I thought it was a good idea so this morning as I was sitting at the kitchen table and I casually mentioned that with the snow, I thought that his black shoes might be more appropriate. He looked at me smiled and said, "oh, ok, good idea" and bounded up the stairs while asking me if they were in his closet. I sat there stunned. It has been a very very long slow progression, but we have apparently gotten there. I have memories of it taking weeks and weeks to transition him into winter coats, pants, and out of crocs. There would be tears, yelling, screaming and when he was little hitting. Switching into the winter coat sent his body into sensory overload. Maybe I was wrong to force it, I know some who do not, but I could not send him into -4 degree weather not properly protected. Once the transition was done he was always fine with it. It was just that transition, it took a lot of work and energy. Apparently I am almost as obstinate as he is. In my opinion the fight was worth it. He no longer struggles with the clothes transitions.

He happily brought down his black heavier shoes, to get ready for the walks today. He had a silly little smile on his face and I could see how excited he was. I didn't ask, but I knew what he was excited for, eating the snow while walking, the whole way.

6 comments:

Alyse Sandborn said...

So smart of you to notice that middle school kids do not tend to do the same boot / shoe switch as the elementary kids. Sit back and enjoy a great morning, one of the benefits of all of the hours of hard work.

mama edge said...

Rocky was a voracious snow eater too. On the plus side, it at least motivated him to go outside. On the other hand...

Ew.

Kate said...

Yeah, I never did a boot, shoe switch. Way too much to carry. That I can remember, anyway. ANyway , good solution.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Nigel's a snow eater too! He has told me that he craves cold things in his mouth, so it must be a sensory thing. We have an sno-cone maker, and the rest of the year he takes ice from the freezer, puts it through the sno-cone maker, and eats it plain, like snow.

rhemashope said...

oh, this was so enlightening about the snow eating. rhema eats no like a starving man! so much so that we avoid going outside! glad to know i'm not alone on this, and nigel's explanation makes a lot of sense b/c rhema is also obsessed with ice!

Michelle S. said...

All excellent comments! Thanks! I have thought about a sno cone machine. I think that is a great idea! It is nice to know we all have the same issue!