|I got the one photo!|
Monday, November 7, 2011
An autism Halloween
I love October. It's one of those rare times in Florida that the air actually starts to change. The light breeze goes from 95 degrees to 80. Ok, it's not much but I will take it. (gentle reminder that South Floridians break out the parkas at the mere mention of the weather dropping to 75. True story)
Along with that breeze though, comes Halloween. Now while I love any excuse to shop and dress up, the reality is that for most kids with autism "love" is not a word they would use to go with the word "Halloween". (if they are even verbal that is). Kai is 9 but still does not get the full concept. I guess that he does perhaps know that once in a while mommy goes nuts and makes him wear weird clothing and nags over photographing him in it. I usually start mentioning it a week ahead of time. I show him his costume and even draw up a social story for him in the hope something clicks.
This year Kai (9) was Batman. Quinn (2) was Robin. Kai has been a Hershey's Kiss, Superman, army soldier, clown, incredibles, fireman, soccer player, and Peter Pan. Quinn is still too little to protest it. Most of those costumes listed have no hats or masks and if they did, they were worn for a split second as I snapped a photo and were never to be seen again. He must think I am nuts. I mean, why can't he wear his tee and shorts like every day? Why can't he just be? What fun is it to wear itchy weird clothing? I guess I can see his point. My rule of thumb for holidays is this: as long as I get ONE photo, the rest can go awry and I won't care. At least, I try to stick to that.
The other BIG issue? candy. He does not eat candy. Does not care for it. He has been on a gluten/casein/yeast/soy/peanut free diet since he turned 3. Although some candy falls into those categories, we just don't give him any. It's annoying to me that our standards are so low for our kids diets. By "our" I mean, society in general. Peek into any kids school on a holiday party and you will find 3 puffed Cheetos, a cupcake, and a handful of chips on their plates accompanied by some juice. That's all they eat for lunch. I wonder why they could not concentrate in class or were hyperactive? That's how they spend the day until they get home and "hopefully" eat a well balanced meal. Insert eye roll here when I say "hopefully" because I would dare say, it mostly does not happen. Need to point out that this goes for all kids: autism or not. If it was only truly just on holidays but it happens more often than not without the holiday excuse. Not saying that had Kai not had autism he would not eat that once in a while but I would make sure it would be only following a nutritious lunch. Is that so hard to do? But I digress... (I predict a new gfcf diet blog post coming soon)
As it turns out, this year Kai was successful in repeatedly donning his Batman for not one, not two but three Halloween parties! That was huge. Did I mention the Batman costume has a mask? I even think it was the first time he understood that going to a "Halloween party" entailed "conditions" (costumes). When his teacher sent a note home asking for "special" items to be sent to school on Halloween such as : candy, pastries, chips, juice, etc. I sent a note back saying "no thanks" and that was the end of that dilemma. I still cannot comprehend how they want to feed sweets to a classroom of kids with autism whose behavior will most likely deteriorate immediately afterwards. Kills me.
Halloween night we briefly attempted to go to a friend's house. It was a little rowdy for our taste. Kai was all over the place. Quinn (who is not walking yet) was just crawling all over the place with his little hands picking up all the dirt from under people's shoes and then putting his hand in his mouth. Did I mention I am neurotic about limiting the baby's germ exposure? I guess I should do another blog post on that too. I swear I am pretty normal otherwise. ha!
We hit a big wall when we attempted to trick or treat. Here is Kai, being prompted to trick or treat for something he does not understand (since he does not know or eat candy). Why do we even make him do it? So he can "fit in"? So that we have a sense of "normal"? After he attempted to enter a couple of strangers houses looking for what I can only guess is the location of their computer, I called it a night. Here were these poor people offering Kai candy and all he did was push through them and stretch his neck hoping to find a computer or something to play with. Oy! never again.
Next year I think we will have the boys dress at home and participate in giving the candy to the trick or treaters that come to our house instead. It's more fitting of our lifestyle. We don't do candy but you do and we want to celebrate with the world so here,take it all and enjoy! This way they will also get to interact without the confusion of asking for something they don't eat. Makes much more sense and I think I have finally made some peace with it. Bring on Halloween 2012.
And now time to tackle an autism Christmas.
It never ends does it?
How was your Halloween?