Cardboard Happens

Most people who know me well know that I don’t do clutter.  At all.  It makes me feel …cuckoo.  And that there, folks, is the actual medical terminology, too.  So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I feel a great joke is being played on me. You see, my Sweetboy was born with a very special brain.  He gets great comfort from certain repetitive behaviors.  And his latest one?  Shredding.  Nope, not cheese, (we wish!).  No again, not documents, (now THAT would be handy!).  Cardboard. ” What’s that now?”, you may be tempted to ask.  Cardboard, as in, from the latest UPS delivery or cereal demise or newly bought sheet set.  Yes, Sweetboy’s latest perseveration is to shred, incessantly, cardboard. And the cardboard!  Oh. My. Word!  I’ve tried to contain the bits and pieces that seem to find their way into every crack and crevice in the house.  But the cardboard is starting to drive me out of my ever-lovin’ mind. Truly.  I vacuum and pick up and pick up and vacuum and those stinkin’ shreds still turn up.  In my shoes, in the dog’s fur, in the bathtub…

A friend stopped by the other day, unannounced, completely innocent to the goings on around here, and witnessed  one of the cardboard massacres before I was able to get to it.  She was in shock and awe.  True story.  And she said, “What in the sam hill happened here?”.  And I said something along the lines of “Well, you know, cardboard happens sometimes.”.  Oh, ya’ll, it was ugly.  It was one of those moments where my Sweetboy’s perseveration and his mama’s need for order collided in the perfect storm to create Complete Frustration.

And, it’s all good .  I may question my worth as a mama, now and then, based on my child’s uniqueness.  But, I try to remind myself as often as I can that my child is, well… a child.  And he is special and quirky and extraordinary in lots of ways.  And, really?  My need for order does not trump his need for peace. And, with that, I can fall asleep pretty happily.  Only to wake up the next morning to approximately two pounds of shredded cardboard scattered here, there, and everywhere. And as I make my way to the closet to harness the vacuum that practically jumped out and ran for the door all on its own, I remind myself that Cardboard happens in this house.  Oh, yes indeedy, it does!

He’s Our Man!

My SweetBoy is quirky.  I could pretty much end this post right there.  But hey, I won’t.  We began the diagnostic process, when he was newly two, noting how he could string together these incredibly long phrases to make complex sentences about random things that generally weren’t all that helpful socially. (And now, we all know where he got that…).  In other words, he could quote Blue, from Blues Clues, verbatim, one episode sequence at a time.  Now, this came in handy when we wanted to remember the words to episode 8 from season 2 of Blues Clues.  Not so much at any other time. If you’d like someone on your team for any game of “What are the words from that movie…?”, he’s your man!

A few years later, we began to notice his propensity for remembering incredibly minute details about roads and routes that we took to get to new places.  He would even be able to tell you the number of the exit, from which highway/interstate/route to take to proceed to the next leg of your destination.  And he still can!  We’ve begun to refer to him as our “Cartographer in Training”.  It’s absolutely amazing, to us, how his brain works.  And hey, if you need to remember where the closest bathroom break will be when you are halfway into your 6 hour road trip?  He’s your man!

Fast forward  a couple more years and his latest perseveration is hopping.  Now, I will grant that it provides some much-needed exercise on those cold gloomy days that outdoor play is just not in the cards.  I will even go so far as to say – wouldn’t it be great if we could ALL get a “release” from the stressors of life with such a healthy habit.  But, we are at a loss as to how to turn this newest fixation into a strength.   We’ve had some well-meaning friends suggest Hip Hop Dance.  That… was a mini-disaster with a heaping helping of frustration and self-esteem dousing for good measure.  Unfortunately, Sir-Hops-Alot, alone, chooses the when and how this happens each day. And it happens a lot!  So, when you need an exercise buddy when you’re on the rebounder, he’s your man!

Having a child with special needs takes a lot out of us sometimes.  It also puts a lot back in.  He teaches us patience, the likes of which, I promise you, we never would have been able to cultivate without him.  The emotions he feels and shares are unfiltered.  Sometimes they are a raw mess of crazy.  Sometimes, they make us put on the brakes and rethink how we’re approaching one of our own situations in life.  We are so grateful that God saw fit to bring him into our family.  And, that he’s our man!