Conquering the Rain!

A few weeks ago, I watched one of the most beautiful sights unfold before my eyes.

It was a dark and stormy night.  Well, not really, but it was a rainy afternoon, which in our house can turn into a dark and stormy night pretty quick!  If you are new to my blog, you can catch up on the rain posts here and here.

On this rainy afternoon though, Sketch blew me away… and it wasn’t even windy!  I had to meet him at the bus at the end of our long driveway.  So he had much farther to travel to get into the house, than when I was homeschooling him.  Plus, now I am expecting our fourth child (a surprise treasure from God, for sure!), and I simply am not able to carry him all the way in, as I had before.

So I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to make this work.  I decided to walk up to the bus with Sketch’s frog umbrella.  He loves that frog umbrella when it is dry, and he’s inside!  Not once has he used it in the rain. He always rejects it and while terrified of getting wet, he asks, “Carry?”.  So I thought if he saw me use it in the rain, he’d understand that it will keep him dry too.

When he stepped off the bus, he looked at the umbrella with a smile.  I handed it to him but he didn’t reach for it so I took his two hands and had him hold it.  When he seemed steady with it, I slowly released my hands.

Bigger Smile!

And he was soooo proud of himself!  He held it very tightly, and just seemed amazed at how it was keeping him dry.  He didn’t go in the house when we got to our door, he kept walking around in the backyard, cute as can be…soaking up his victory!

From our back window, this is what I saw:

Isn’t it beautiful?  There he is holding that umbrella as if it were the Flag, as if he were marching!  Maybe it was his victory march for conquering his rain fears 🙂  When I saw him walking around like that, tears came to my eyes…and granted, I am pregnant so maybe it was just the horrormones (as my friend, Kay, would call them), but really, what I was thinking about that made this picture so beautiful to me is what has happened to to get him to this place.

After the post Short, Sweet, and Silly was written, I had to take Sketch in the rain to OT.  He surprisingly didn’t object to leaving the house!  He didn’t want to get wet or deal with rain, but he didn’t let his fears stop him! (Lesson #1) and he asked to “Carry?” which I did.  He didn’t just have me simply carry him though.  When I picked him up, he wrapped his little long legs all around my waist and his little long arms all the way around my neck (almost twice!) and he clinged to me so tightly that I didn’t even have to hold him!  If I let go, he was just there, unbudged!  (Lesson #2)

The next time it rained, he did the same thing. Just accepted the rain and clung to me as if his life depended on it.

And the next time, it was a Sunday and we were at church.  Mr. Incredible got to carry him this time and I got to watch Sketch cling to him in the same adorable way.

It’s just intensely beautiful…because this is just what God wants us to do with our fears.  He does not want us to be held back by them, but to cling to Him through them!

Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God must have been holding up Sketch under that umbrella, making the safety of His presence known to him.

And he’ll do it for you too!  Do not be afraid!  And as my favorite potty training card says, “You go girl!”

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sketch’s First Day of School!

Today is the day of Kindergarten for Sketch.

Besides being worried concerned about all the things that could happen on his first day, we are very excited.

I was planning to homeschool him this year.  Sketch had such a hard time leaving home to go to preschool every day, especially when he would see his Princess Buttercup and Dash staying home.  He always loved being at school, but the leaving home part was what was so heart breaking.

With tears streaming down his face while he sobbed, he’d wave his hand at me from the car, “Bye-bye Mommy. I love you Mommy!  See you after school, Mommy!”  (Sniff, sniff!)

Heart wrenching!

He really didn’t “play fair” at all.   As soon as Mr. Incredible would pull out of the driveway, Sketch would perk up and start singing his heart out, happy as can be.

But day after day…it just wore on me!  I started to wonder how much he understood.  Like, did he know that the twins were staying home with me all day for homeschool?  Did he wonder why we sent him away to school?  Does he wonder if we don’t want him home?

Sketch has always liked being home.  He would often need some coercing to get him to go out of the house unless it was a highly motiving place, like the Bounce Zone or Childrens Museum (and now we can add gas stations and drive-thru’s as highly motivating too!)

But, somewhere along the way, his “want to” (as Beth Moore would say) changed.

I think seeing his twins get on and off that big yellow bus had something to do with it.  He just loves busses!

Over the first month of the twins school, Sketch made it clear that his “want to” changed.  He didn’t want to be at home for school.  He didn’t want me to be his “teacher”, but to be his Mommy.

He DID want to go to school. He wanted to ride the bus to school, to participate in circle time and play in the big gym (and probably to show off his spanish vocabulary and accent, and his reading, writing and spelling ability…or, maybe that’s me!)

And, as I’d watch him play at the Bounce Zone, I’d see him watch the other kids, and he’d get so excited to be around them.  A wonderful thing for a parent of kids on the spectrum to see 🙂

However, I am sure that his real “want to” is to sit on my lap on the bus ride to school and to sit on my lap in those tiny kindergarten-sized chairs all day at school!

There may be some surprises this first day!

However, we are so proud of him for being able to express to me and Mr. Incredible, his desire for school.  We were so proud that we didn’t even really take it as a blow to our home-schooling abilities! How awesome for God to change his ‘want to’ from being just home with Mommy, to wanting to socialize with others!  Especially considering that not being “social” is one of the core deficits of autism!

Sometimes we need to re-evaluate our want to’s as well.  Sometimes we don’t want to change something that we know we should.  But God can change our want-to, just like he changed Sketches.

Psalms 40:8: I desire to do your will, my God;  your law is within my heart.”

Psalm 119: 1-5

1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!

So if there is any hesitancy to in seeking God with all our hearts, in jumping over to solely following and obeying God as the Psalmist did…if there is any hesitancy to delight in His ways…if His laws are not engraved in our hearts… then maybe we should ask God to change our “want to” too?

John 14:14  “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Now that is an awesome promise!

Can You Give Me a Hint?

All things considered, Dash has really transitioned from homeschooling into public school very nicely.  A few bumps and kinks here and there but nothing major…that is, until this Monday.

Monday started out as a relatively quiet day.  I was homeschooling Sketch while Princess Buttercup and Dash were at school. Sketch was just starting to practice writing his numbers when the phone rang.

“Hello, Mrs. Incredible?  I was wondering if you could come and pick up Dash at school. He is having a hard time on the bus.”

“What is he doing?”

“Well, he is screaming loudly on the bus and he won’t calm down.”

I rushed Sketch and myself off to the school.  There haven’t been any problems on the bus so far…what in the world is going on?

As I pull into the parking space and open my door, I see Mrs. Teacher and the twins walking toward me.  Dash seems fine…  Princess Buttercup on the other hand seemed pretty annoyed that she didn’t get to ride the bus with her friends.

Mrs. Teacher said Dash was screaming a high pitched scream that was totally distracting to everyone on the bus, especially Mr. Kent, the driver.

“If you scream on the bus, you ride home in the car!” Dash says, as if he has been trying to set the “rule” in motion as a screen play to sit back and watch.

And this time, the rule played out as he expected.

So how do I get him to understand what he has done?  How do I help him understand how many people were effected by his “bad choice”?  How do I not let him have so much fun “playing out the rules”?

I decide to get a large pad of paper, and started a diagram to explain it.  I emphasized how his one bad choice took away the choice of all the other people.  Princess Buttercup lost her choice to ride the bus because I had to drive to school to get him.  Sketch and I had to stop working on Kindergarten stuff to come and get him.  The kids on the bus lost their choice to have a relaxing drive home on the bus.  Mrs. Teacher had to stay late to make sure Dash and Princess Buttercup were safely waiting for me to arrive, etc.  We talked about the consequence of making that bad choice, how it effected other peoples choices, and how the result is that he is not going to be able to make choices tonight.

It looked something like this:

Dash seemed to “get” it…that he upset a lot of people that he really enjoys and likes.

But, he was still reciting the rule…”If you scream on the bus, you come home in the car”.  So, I decided to try to deflate some of the reward of watching the rule play out.  I said, “Dash, If you are good on the bus, you get to ride with Mr. Kent, you get to be on the bus that you enjoy riding on, and you get to be with the other kids on the bus.  You know what will happen if you make good choices.  If you don’t behave on the bus, well… you don’t know what will happen to you!”  He thought about that for a minute, a little uncertain about it.

Maybe this is it?  Maybe the fear of the unknown can override the fun of the rules?  And really, we don’t know what will happen to him….He could be permanently kicked off the bus, he could be switched to a special ed bus, he could end up distracting the driver so much there is an accident!  Really, we don’t know.

But what I really wanted to know, was WHY.  Why did he do it?  The only thing I could come up with was about playing out the rules to see them work, but I don’t really know the why.

So, I ask Dash, “Why did you scream on the bus?”

“Because you take the car home.” he replies.

No, I that is what happened, I want to know why did you do it?

“You upset Mr. Kent.”

“That is who you upset. I want to know why you did it!”

In his innocent boyish voice, he replies, “Can you give me a hint?”

I answer, “No, only you know why you did it, Dash.”

But, as I said those words, I knew there was someone else who knows why, someone else who knows the motivation behind it.

There are times when we all do things that we don’t understand.  We baffle ourselves with our own behavior, our own reactions to things.  Why do we do the things we do?

Most kids (and many adults) answer questions like “Why?”  with the standard, “I don’t know!”

Dash answered the questions a bit like the psalmist, David would have answered it.  “Can you give me a hint?” is very much like,

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

David also instructed his son, Solomon in I Chronicles 28:9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.” (italics added)

It is a comfort to know that God knows us that well…better than any parent can understand their children.  He knows the whys, the motives and the hearts of each of us and loves us nonetheless.

So next time we find ourselves wondering why we do what we do, we can take a lesson from Dash, and simply call upon our forgiving, all knowing–yet all loving Creator, our Father, and ask him, “Can you give me a hint?” and then “serve him with whole hearted devotion and with a willing mind.”

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