Little Blessings


BOOM Boom.  Boom-Boom-Boom!

I feel every sound enter their little bodies as they lay against me, like shots from a gun.

I’m sure someone is going to launch.  Sketch (7, autism/anxiety/adhd) and PolkaDot (11months) are going to be inconsolable.  But again, I’m wrong.  The twins (9) stand in the sand watching the fireworks over the beach.  Dash (autism/adhd) has his ears covered and Princess Buttercup is soaking in every explosion and all it’s beauty!

Mr. Incredible holds our nervous PolkaDot for a while and Sketch continues to drape himself over my RA’d legs, fingers firmly pressed into his ears.


I look down at his face and see just smiles and giggles and then a request for “More Boom?”

He LOVED it!  Who’da guessed?

They’ve come soooo far!  I am just beside myself in thankfulness for this day…

The 6th of July.

The 4th was a thunderstorming evening so the fireworks were cancelled (Disappointment #1).

We tried to go on the 5th, but Portland was over-packed with people and cars and there was no parking in the entire town close enough for us to be able to walk to the display site.

(Disappointment sets in a second time)

We drove to Freeport, thinking L.L. Beans would have rescheduled their fireworks for the 5th as well, but that was not the case (# 3)…. So we walked around Beans a while.  By the time we got back to the car, my knees felt like they were ripping from walking to much.

But I was the only one complaining.

Wow.  No tears or fussing about missing the fireworks.  We told the kids that we would try Old Orchard Beach the next day if we missed it today, and they were ok with that!   Miracle of miracles!!!

Any kid would be disappointed after looking forward to the fireworks and twice having to reschedule, but with ASD kids, the upset-ness rises to a whole new level as schedules change without warning.  But they handled it so well, over and over again!

Little Blessings.

They’re actually huge blessings.  The kids have come so far, it is really amazing!

James 1:17a

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights”

Short, Sweet, and Silly

It’s raining it’s pouring

Robbie will be roaring

He won’t go to the car

it’s way to far

to get there while it’s storming

It’s raining, it’s pouring

The inside is getting boring

It’s time for OT

I need a trick up my sleeve

to get him in that building

Right now, all is calm at home.  Robbie is having a blast playing with Banangrams and spelling the names of his favorite places.

But, it is raining and pouring again…and it’s Wednesday.  Being aware of what struggles are coming as far as getting Robbie in the car, and in the building for OT, then in the car again and in the house, is trying hard to ruin the mood. The playful, fun mood…

And I don’t want the silliness to end. So, I’m not going to let it. I am going to enjoy the next half hour of Robbie playing Banangrams and potty training his doll.  Why miss it to worry over what’s to come when there is silliness at hand?

I think that today, I will choose to take the advice of Paul in Philippines 4: 4-9

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Curiouser and Curiouser

“‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English)”

I am reminded of this line from Alice in Wonderland (by Lewis Carroll) every time I think of Sketch these days.  He never was the kind of kid to get into everything… that is, until now.  This week has been filled to the brim with adventure for him!

Dash & Princess Buttercup, on the other hand, were notorious for this curious behavior.  I had to watch them like a hawk when they were little.  Dash would climb anything to get something that caught his eye, including his twin sister!  Dash would put anything and everything in his mouth,  including door knobs and hinges and any dead bugs or old food that didn’t get vacuumed up immediately.  The twins were sensory-seekers to the highest degree!

But Sketch, not so much. He never went through that phase.  He never put anything AT ALL in his mouth (well, except for his beautifully knitted blue blankey, that he pretty much ate up).  It turns out that that is an important stage in the development of children, as it strengthens oral motor skills for eating and speaking.  To this day, Sketch hardly eats anything.  His diet is limited by his food allergies, but he self-limits himself to specific crackers, cereal, chips and yogurt (only french vanilla!).  Rarely,  he’ll have a little oatmeal. Sometimes apple slices.  That’s it! No exploration through the mouth!

Except for yesterday, when he took one of his picture symbols that is laminated, and peeled off the plastic cover.  Next thing I know, he is leaning over in his car seat looking like he is going to empty the contents of his stomach all over the car.  He took his hand, put it deeply in his mouth, and pulled out that clear plastic he put in there while I was driving.  He nearly choked and I had no idea!

Sketch is becoming curious in other areas as well.  He shares a room with his sister, and there is a long gate that separates their room so Sketch won’t go jumping on Princess Buttercups bed while she is sleeping.  Sketch is now 5 and 1/2 years old, and never once tried to open the gate.  He was fully capable of doing it, but he just never tried.

Until Sunday when he just decided to let himself out and explore the house while we were all still sleeping.  Well, the Princess wasn’t sleeping.  She was very upset  about the whole event and started crying, which woke us up.

Although we were a bit concerned about what could happen with this new found ability of his, we were also so proud of him because he took the initiative and tried it. He was curious enough to actually do it.
I guess he is getting a bit bored of his usual activity of lining up our dirty laundry through any clear path we may be fortunate to have in our house.

There were many more events this week that show how curious Sketch is becoming.  He snuck in his sisters “nook”, which is off limits to the boys, and giggled!  He watched me pour water into the filter Brita filter like it was the most interesting thing he ever saw (I guess he never noticed that before?). He has been getting out of bed after being tucked in, opening the gate and coming down stairs, giggling and incredibly proud of himself.   And yesterday, he opened an emergency exit door at Chuck E. Cheese and set off the alarm.

And speaking of alarms… the big news of this curious week was took place on Sunday, at church.  Sketch decided to “lift and pull” the fire alarm in their Sunday School class. The entire church had to be evacuated until the firemen came to turn off the alarm! That was quite the event. Whether he was curious about what would happen if he lifted and pulled, or whether is was simply following the directions posted on the alarm, we may never know. But… it just goes to show, he is becoming “curiouser and curiouser”.

And we just love it.

It means he is trying new things, and the more he tries the more he’ll learn.  The more he’ll learn things aren’t as scary as they seem sometimes, and that new things can become wonderful fun things.

God loves new things. He is in the business of doing new things, making us new creations…growing us.

Isaiah 43:19 says, “See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

I just imagine Him watching us explore the new things He is doing.  I imagine He is very excited when we step out into the streams he’s placed by us, curious about what it may bring, what we may learn about Him or what may happen if we dip our toe into it–will it be freezing cold or refreshingly comfortable?

Like Sketch getting curiouser and curiouser about the things around Him, I want to get curiouser and curiouser about God and what He’s placed around me.

Sometimes new things are outside our comfort zone.  Like Sketch, we can be a bit hesitant to try some of the new things He has in store for us.  But, just as I know that new things are good for Sketch, in many ways, I also know that the new things God gives us and opportunities He brings our way are also things He knows are good for us.  They help us to grow and to bring us pleasure , and also to reveal to others a little of who He is.

In my last post, I wrote about how Sketch hates the rain.  He now has some froggy rain boots and an froggy umbrella to help him stay dry, and he has been playing with them in the house.  Today is supposed to be a rainy day…I wonder if he’ll be curious enough to try them out in the rain?

Sensory Overload

We just returned from our first visit to a local amusement park. After Tuesdays’ adventures we were a bit hesitant, but since we were given tickets as a Christmas gift, and they were only good for the current season, we decided we better try it before they expire. We were pretty sure that the twins would have a blast, but Sketch was the big question mark.

Once we were in the middle of the park, with rides in action all around us, Sketch became quite panicked. He was completely overwhelmed at all the flying objects around him. I could almost hear his thoughts through his expression of sheer terror and hands covering his ears (and as much of his head as possible), “Mommy! Watch out! The trains are flying though the air! What is going on? It is going to get us! Come over here, Mommy! It isn’t safe! That awful noise is too loud! What does it mean? I think it means danger. Mommy, come! Now!”

And for a little 5 year old boy who has never seen anything like a roller coaster, or any other amusement park rides, it was pretty overwhelming. I mean, why wouldn’t that coaster fly off the tracks suspended in figure 8’s high in the sky? How is he supposed to know that the coaster is attached to the tracks? How can he understand the laws of physics that are at work, or the engineering done to make it safe? For most kids, they probably just take it for granted, that the coaster is “stuck” to the tracks and that it is safe.

Needless to say, Sketch did not go on the roller coaster. But, he did go on some of the kiddie rides. His first was a little contraption somewhat like a merry-go-round that was disguised as whales swimming in the water. Princess Buttercup had the honor of sitting with Sketch on his very first ride. Sketch was in front of the whale car and Princess Buttercup was in the back seat of the same one. The ride began, and the whales spun in a circle (relatively slowly) around and around. For more than half the ride, Sketch didn’t look so good…he was looking..a bit… woozy? He called for me as he went around, I could see his lips form the word, “Mommy?” as he looked at me outside the gate.

He was very brave though. He walked in the gate with Princess Buttercup and didn’t require me to come with him, although he obviously preferred it. The ride seemed to last forever for Sketch. Toward the end of the ride he seemed to be getting comfortable with it and started signing to himself and singing songs. He even smiled. Then the ride was over. Sketch came out and wanted to go again! We showed him another ride where the kids could sit in a gigantic tea cup and spin in tight circles like a sit-n-spin, as the contraption moved around like a merry-go-round. Sketch got on with Dash & Princess Buttercup and the twins made sure to maximize the spin-factor… But, Sketch handled it well and wanted to ride it again!

I think over all, he decided that this new scary stuff is actually more fun than scary. Trying new things is not what Sketch is known for. But his curiosity and those colorful, fun-looking, lit up rides convinced him to try it. What was initially a complete sensory overload became a huge blessing for him. At the end of the day, he was not too happy to leave the park behind in exchange for his well-known bed.

Sometimes God has something new for us, and it looks overwhelming. Unsafe, even. We may find ourselves thinking, “We might get hurt if we do that!” We don’t understand how it all works, but God has it all planned out. Once we step out in faith, and get on the ride, we discover a treasure we never would have known about. A treasure we now cannot imagine living without. Often stepping into the unknown involves vulnerability. We may not fear flying off the coaster tracks, but fear being hurt emotionally by other people. But stepping out and experiencing that treasure of relationships, by serving and loving others like Jesus did, opens the door to a whole different perspective on the world that we won’t want to exchange for the way things have been, in the safety of our routine. It is a sensory overload experience that turns into a blessing we will never forget.

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