Write It With Your Feet

Sweetboy’s soccer team made it to the playoffs this weekend.  It was quite an accomplishment.  Even the coaches (whom we think are the bomb diggety) acknowledged that it was like they had their very own “Bad News Bears” team!

We were doubly excited for this opportunity because, as many of you know, Sweetboy is on the Autism Spectrum. And while this doesn’t mean much of anything to us in terms of his abilities, it does mean that he isn’t comfortable participating in group sport activities with typical children.  Weekly practices and weekend games are a struggle for this child who prefers the consistent environment of our safe and predictable four walls.

But, Sweetman and I decided about 3 years ago, that this was one sport that we would encourage him to be a part of. We wanted to give him opportunities to interact with his world in ways that would prepare him for the life he will someday have to live outside of our four walls. We contacted the local recreational soccer organization and laid out our wishes and concerns to them. They were welcoming and accepted the challenge to let him just be him and be a part of the group. We were (and are) so grateful.

Now, this child? He is no go-getter.  We’re 99.9% certain that he doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body. When Coach says “hustle”, he hears “meander”. His practice runs, dribbling the ball up and down the field each week, resembled erratic muscle spasms far more than intentional directing of the ball. But, each year, this quirky kid of ours has been able to practice being one part of a whole team.  And to us? Well, that’s all that matters, to be quite honest.

But this year? This year’s experience was spectacular.

For him and for us.

And not because we made it to the Championship game.

No. It was because any time our son’s foot even remotely looked like it was going to touch the ball, he had parents on the sidelines cheering him on wildly.  And when he actually attempted to kick the ball and his foot connected?  You could feel the encouragement literally carrying him along. And he felt it.  And he felt like he was part of something bigger than him. And he felt competent, whether he was or he wasn’t. Don’t we all just long to feel like we can accomplish something?

So, this morning, as we headed for the playoffs against a team they had lost to twice before (and lost big), Sweetboy had some words of wisdom to share:

“They’re just gonna beat us, today.”

And I took this golden opportunity for the teachable moment that it was. I asked him what Coach would think of his attitude?  He acknowledged she wouldn’t like it one bit.

“But it is true. They will beat us.  Probably 4 to 0 or 7 to 2 or something like that.”  (And these were the exact scores of the other games against this team, because we are wildly creative in our predictions around here.)

So, I told him that this story had not been written yet.  That he had the chance to write a new ending to the story of this game today.

And Sweetgirl piped up from next to him, “Yeah, write the new story with your feet.”

Indeed, Sweetgirl.

Indeed.

And he did!

They didn’t win.  But they came dern close.

5 to 4!

And our Sweetboy was On Fire today.  Everyone noticed it.  And everyone commented on it.

And even though his team ended up in second place, he felt like he was in first.

Because he wrote it so with his feet.

And that couldn’t fill us with more joy.

Could.

Not.

Indeed!

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For When Your Child Doesn’t Fit In

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While we all have those parenting moments where we notice something a little quirky about our kids – not all of us have the privilege of anxiously wondering how much that quirk will hold them back socially. And then the day comes when it does.  And that cute little quirk becomes a massive elephant in the room of your child’s social life.  Others notice the quirk(s) and begin to act as if… As if your child couldn’t possibly be liked by very many people because she/he is different. As if they are already on the path to Outcast. As if they are not worth the effort.

And it cuts.

Deep.

My(in)Able & (in)Cluded group of ladies provide a safe place for me to feel those emotions and process them.  Follow me over to my (in)courage community group to keep reading. Click the button below.

InCourage Is My superpower

 

Sometimes Lobsters Are Blue

Having a child who is different, in any way, be it the way they look or the way they act, or both, can be tough stuff.  But not always.  Sometimes, it tickles your stinkin’ funny bone in ways other folks might find just plain odd.  The thinking that our son’s brain goes through to process an idea or a concept is best described in a post that another brave mama wrote about here.  Quirky is as quirky does.  And if you’ve read around here for any length of time, you probably already well know that our kid gets his quirk on pretty regularly.  And with more than a touch of The Funny.  Seriously?  I think he was blessed with the gift of The Funny; but then again, I may be a tad biased on his behalf.

 

Sweetboy comes up with some funny one liners.  They remind me of the comedian, Steven Wright‘s, stuff.  (I still laugh hard enough to tinkle when I think of his sketch about someone breaking into his apartment, stealing everything, and replacing it with exact duplicates.)  Sweetboy doesn’t realize it yet, though, because he doesn’t get how funny his thought process can be to other people.  This is ironic, as it lends itself to a deadpan delivery that makes whatever he’s trying to rationalize out loud even funnier.

 

The Nana walked right into one of these instances when she was out for a visit.  Sweetboy got off his bus, barely greeted us, and launched into a description of the latest animal they had learned about at school; a “deer mouse”.  And then this went down:

The Nana: “That’s a mouse that wears antlers, right?” (Nana and I are snickering furiously.)

Sweetboy: (Not one iota of snickering on his  part…) “No, it’s a particular kind of mouse that lives in the forest.”

Alrighty then.

 

And then, Sweetman and I walked into this one this weekend:

Me: “Sweetboy!  Look at this!  (It was a picture in a magazine of a blue lobster.) Did you know that one in 2 million lobsters are blue?”

Sweetboy: “That must be one very sad lobster.”

 

And we howled. Oh yes indeed. Thank you, God, for this smart, sweet, funny, boy.

Got kids?  What have they said lately that’s funny?

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!