Square Roots

Aaron is reading his Handy Answer Science Book every night before bed.  This morning he said, “Mom, I saw something in my Handy Answer Science Book last night that I don’t understand.  Can you give me a piece of paper and let me write it for you?”

So I gave him a piece of paper and this is what he wrote:

I told him that this symbol means square root, which of course meant nothing to him.  So on another piece of paper I began showing him the meaning of square root using the number 9.  He interrupted me with a loud laugh and then said, “That’s dumb!” 

Well, why is that dumb, Aaron?    “Because 9 is not square!!!” 

This time I also laughed, and he joined me because he thought I was laughing at my own “dumbness” to think that the number 9 could be square.  What a good laugh we had together, each for our own different reason! 

I was able to explain sqaure roots to Aaron.  He’s good at math and he accepted the lesson – but I do believe he still thinks that this whole concept is pretty dumb. 

Literal Aaron is still stuck on the word “square!” 

Change!

We are experiencing this fact of Asperger’s today:

       Persons with Asperger’s are easily overwhelmed by minimal change.

Amen.  That came from me.  See how calm I am.

GRRRRRR!!!!!!!!

Today is Halloween and Aaron knows that his day group is having a fun day.  Some will dress up, but not all will.  Aaron certainly wouldn’t because he doesn’t like the way that “different” clothes feel on his body.  And to cover his face up with a mask – been there, tried that…………….no way!

So yesterday Aaron started saying that he didn’t want to go to Paradigm today.  I knew why but asked anyway.  He talked about it being Halloween.  I tried to tell him of all the fun they would have today.  Pizza, candy…………….he’s not buying it. 

This morning was the same thing – “I don’t want to go to Paradigm!”       “Do I have to go to Paradigm?!”         “Can I stay home?”    

We talked…………….actually, I talked……………..and Aaron didn’t really listen.  So I asked him exactly why he doesn’t want to be a part of this fun day and he said:

“Because it isn’t Paradigm to me today!”

On Monday Paradigm goes bowling!  Not a silly Halloween party that Aaron doesn’t like!  And no amount of persuasion will make him want to go.  If I force it we’ll have a disaster.  So Aaron is staying home and is now out in his mulch, calming down. 

Maybe I should join him. 

Aaron and Rosie

Aaron has a special friend at his day group.  He calls her Rosie, although that’s not exactly her name.  It’s his variation, and it’s really very sweet that he has a special name for his special friend.  Aaron has always had a hard time making friends because of his social skills – or lack thereof – and over the years has had very few real friends.  He’s also shown no interest in girls other than as another target of his teasing or as a person with ears who will listen to his talking. 

When Aaron first started telling us about Rosie we really didn’t give it much thought.  He has now made friends at his day group and it’s been wonderful to hear him talk about his interactions with them during his day.  His life is more normal and happy than it’s ever been in that area.  However, Rosie began to occupy more of his conversation as time went on.  He talked about how he liked walking with her when they would go shopping or eating with her at lunch.  He told us that she loves crayons – really, really loves crayons! 

One day I found Aaron slipping a box of our old crayons into his pocket.  I asked him what he was doing and he replied, “Mom, Rosie loves crayons and I want to take her some.”  So I agreed.  But soon he began taking her other crayons until finally we had no more crayons in our old crayon box.  All the markers went, too, and even some colored pencils.  I also found out that Aaron was buying Rosie food or snacks with his money.  Or he would share some of his food or drink with her.  It was sweet, yes, but we didn’t want it to go too far. 

Aaron began expressing some frustration that some of his friends were teasing him about Rosie being his girlfriend.  I told him to be nice and to tell them that he and Rosie were just good friends.  We had that same conversation several times over the next few weeks.  Finally one day Aaron once again spoke to me with frustration over this girlfriend issue.  I told him to do what I had said before, and this time even urged him to express that fact to Rosie herself – that they could be good friends and be very happy with that. 

Later that evening, as he and I were watching something on television, he turned to me and said, “Mom, you know what you told me to say to Rosie about being friends?  Well, I’m going to keep those words inside of me.”  As I questioned him about what he meant, he continued, “Rosie told me she loves me.  No girl has ever told me that she loves me.  I like how that made me feel.”  I just sat there, confronted with the humanity of my special son.  Despite his social impairments, he had just shown me that he also has the same need for love that all us have.  He had no intention of telling Rosie anything that would jeopardize their special relationship. 

It was hard to swallow that huge lump in my throat.  It was a moment that one of those doors of my heart cracked open – the doors I try to keep closed because they hurt too much when what’s inside them is exposed.  Rough and gruff Aaron has feelings.  Clueless Aaron, who usually thumps someone on the head or whacks them on their back, was showing tenderness toward Rosie.  Egocentric Aaron was wanting to help Rosie by buying her food or taking her crayons.  And Aaron exposed a part of his heart that we had never seen before.  His desire to be accepted, and loved, and valued by a special someone. 

Rosie and Aaron are still friends.  Rosie doesn’t go out with the group as often as she used to, but Aaron sees her a lot at their center where they meet every day.  Today I was there for his yearly BASIS meeting, and after the meeting I watched as Aaron teased his friends and the staff.  He can be loud and rough but they love him.  He and I walked to the door as I was leaving, and there sat Rosie.  Aaron didn’t try to say something silly about her hair or whack her on her back.  He very kindly and gently looked at her and said, “Hi, Rosie.”  No big deal, but that’s what made it a big deal.  Simple and kind and genuine. 

Gary and I are content with Aaron and Rosie being good friends.  We hope it stays that way, innocent and sweet.  We know that we need to walk with caution in these areas with Aaron.  For now, it is simple and good, and we pray that Aaron and Rosie can always be special friends. 

More About Ozark People

Aaron and I drove back down to McConnell Air Base to have his TB Tine test checked.  Or as Aaron said, “………to have my TP test looked at.”   We’ve already talked about Aaron and tp so I won’t go there again – though I could.  Anyway…………….

He started talking once again about Ozark people.  Turns out he saw Ozark people on a Looney Tunes segment.  Today’s update was, ” Oh, Mom, I found out what Ozark people are.  They’re not cowboys or farmers, remember?  I found out on Looney Tunes that Ozark people are Hillbillies!” 

Really?  Hillbillies.  So I asked him to tell me what he knows about Hillbillies.

“Well,”  he said, “Hillbillies live alone.”   That’s it.  So I asked him again, “Ok, but what is a Hillbilly?”  And he answered, “Mom, they didn’t give a full definition.”   HA!

Yeah, I guess a full definition on Looney Tunes is a bit much to expect.  Then he asked me to explain what a Hillbilly is.  I told him that, technically, since I’m from the WV mountains that I’m a Hillbilly.   I tried to explain it but realized that I was making myself look a little questionable, and knowing that everyone Aaron talks to for the next few weeks will be told that I’m a Hillbilly – well, I just told Aaron to look at all the pretty leaves outside. 

You know how I love the change of seasons.     

Snow

Remember my post about how every night Aaron has to ask us if it’s going to rain?  The boy loves rain!  He loves weather!  He loves talking about weather!

This morning he’s up early to go back and have his TB Tine test read.  As Gary was leaving, Aaron was – guess what? – talking! 

“Dad, do you think it’s going to snow?” 

Gary:  “Well, I don’t know Aaron.  It’s not going to snow anytime soon.” 

“Well, when do you think it will snow?”

And so on it went, with Gary telling him he doesn’t know when it will snow.

Gary left and it was my turn.

“Mom, do you like snow?”   Me:  “Sometimes, Aaron, but I’m not ready for snow right now.”

“So when do you think it will snow, Mom?”  Aaron, I don’t know when it will snow. 

“Mom, I don’t like snow!”    Yes, you do, Aaron.

“Well, sometimes snow makes us have an ice storm.  Remember our ice storm?”   Yes, Aaron, that was years ago. 

“Did that ice storm come from Antartica?”   No, Aaron, it didn’t come from Antartica.

“So Mom, when do you think it’ll snow?”   Aaron, I DON’T KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

And here we go.  I love the change of seasons.

Ozark People

Aaron becomes fascinated with the most random things.  He may see something on a movie or Looney Tunes or the news.  He may read something.  He may see something on a sign or in a store.  He’s always observant and for whatever reason, this “something” will captivate him and then he’ll have to talk about it.  Of course – always talk about it!!

So this morning Aaron popped into my room and said, “Mom!  You know those Ozark people?”

Uh, not really, Aaron.

“Well, they’re kinda like cowboys………………no, not really cowboys.   They’re like farmers……………….oh, not really farmers either.  But anyway – those Ozark people square dance!!”

OK, all you Ozark people!  You may have no real identity……………after all, you’re neither cowboys or farmers!   But you SQUARE DANCE!!!!!!!!!!   I want to be an Ozark person!!  They have fun! 

Lessons From the Loaded Truck

Gary and I appreciate how our neighborhood association has a designated clean-up weekend twice a year. The association rents a huge dumpster and puts it in a field that’s just around our circle from us. It’s the perfect time for us to unload any large unwanted items that are allowed in the dumpster. Our big goal, though, is to cut and trim many of our branches, bushes, and trees that have gotten out-of-hand or have died. This last clean-up time a couple weekends ago was no exception. The weather was perfect in every way for Gary and I to head outside and begin our chopping and sawing. It wasn’t long before the piles were growing all over our couple acres. It was time for the dying cherry tree to go, as well as an old long-dead spruce. Our huge Crepe Myrtles needed to be cut down low, and the violet bush badly needed some work. Off came the bottom branches of our evergreen that we lovingly call our Gumdrop Tree as we try to save it for one more year of Christmas lights. And there were many, many other branches and limbs and parts of trees that needed to be sawed down and disposed of.

We used to use Andrew’s old truck for these days but now that he’s off to college we pile the mounds into Gary’s truck. What a blessing to have this means of hauling all that mess down to the dumpster! We drag and lift and load over and over again. It’s amazing how many loads we haul away! The truck is filled as full as it can be with each trip, that’s for sure. Gary has it down to a fine art of how to load the truck and it works very well. We pile it high, and then Gary uses a rope to tie it down before he drives off around the circle to unload. I either ride down with him to help unload, or I stay back at the house to do other things until he returns. One thing I’ve never done is to run along behind him, yelling for him to stop so that I can take some of the load off and carry it myself; or telling him that I need to rearrange the load; or offering to ride on top of the load to help hold it down. No, that would be silly! The truck is able to carry the load perfectly and the rope holds it secure. I have every confidence in the ability of Gary’s truck to do the job and do it well.

As we loaded Gary’s truck, I was reminded of what I had read in Isaiah 46 recently. God began that chapter by talking about how the Babylonians would load their false gods onto donkeys when they were being attacked. However, soon both the donkeys and the false gods were taken into captivity. Neither was able to help the other. Then in verses 3 and 4 God reminded Israel: “…….you have been borne by me from birth and have been carried from the womb; Even to your old age I shall be the same, and even to your graying years I shall bear you! I have done it, and I shall carry you! And I shall bear you and I shall deliver you!” What an amazing promise that is true for believers today as well! It’s true for me and for you! God will be the same for our entire lives, from birth til death. He desires to bear me and to deliver me! He wants to carry my loads and bear my burdens! Just as I could trust Gary’s truck to carry the weight and the amount of our limbs and branches, so I can trust God to carry all the weight and the amount of my troubles and my burdens.

Peter said in I Peter 5:7: “Casting all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you.” This carries the idea of throwing my cares upon God. Just as I threw those branches and limbs on the truck, so I can throw my cares upon God. And just as silly as it would be for me to chase Gary around the circle and try to carry the limbs myself, so it’s silly for me to throw my cares upon God but then try to take them back. Yet that’s exactly what I’m doing every time I pray but still worry and stew over my problems. Why is it so hard to just leave my burdens on the God Who WANTS to bear them for me? Why do I think that by losing sleep, or talking and talking about my issues, or continuing to try to solve my problems myself, or reading the next self-help book – that I can in any way accomplish any more than the donkeys and the false gods did in Isaiah’s time? Oh God, may I throw my worries and hurts and fears and pain upon You, fully upon You, and allow You to bear them and to carry me and deliver me!

Just like Gary’s good old truck!