If there is one thing that we know we can always count on with Kaitlyn, it is that she has a firm grasp of when things are scheduled to take place.
So when she put her lunchbox away this morning and informed us that she had a pizza party, and would not need her lunch, Amber and I believed her. She is, after all, great at keeping up with things (in case you have missed it in past posts, she has most of the next 12 months planned).
When my phone rang at about 8:15 this morning, with a number I knew was most likely the school, I was a little worried. Kaitlyn wasn’t sick, so we were good there. Was she hurt? Thankfully not. She was on the other end of the phone. In tears. Today was not the pizza party for her math class (Amber’s “divide up the pizza joke” became ill-timed). She had no lunch. Not good.
My first thought was to have her buy her lunch at the cafeteria, but that became less appealing to me the more I thought about it. Then, I figured I would take her something around her lunch time, but didn’t want to get hung up and not be able to make it. So, I did the next best thing. I left work, went home, got her lunch, and dropped it off. I included a “special” treat for her, plus a note that I hope will brighten her day.
Today was definitely a day that was uncharacteristic of Kaitlyn. For her to miss so bad on the timing of the pizza party is not like her at all. But, crisis averted, and everything will be just fine.
Amber and I were already committed to going. From the second we found out about Kaitlyn’s poetry brunch at school, there was no doubt in either of our minds that we would be there. But Kaitlyn made sure that we knew how much she wanted us there.
Over the weekend, she presented us with our own special invitation to the event. It was simple in design and message: “You are cordially invited” to the brunch this Tuesday in her classroom. She even put the time in there for us.
I think it goes without saying that we are excited for the poetry brunch. I know that Kaitlyn has been working hard on making her poem just perfect, and she was planning on telling her teacher today which poem she selected to share with the class.
Amber and I both happily cleared our calendars for tomorrow morning, and we can’t wait to be in the classroom for brunch and poetry. What a great way to start a day.
I’ve written about Kaitlyn and her musical tastes a few times before. Basically, because we primarily listen to country music in our house, she is a fan of country music. With one or two exceptions, we let her listen to whatever artist she wants to (it helps that she likes the same ones we do).
It did catch me by surprise recently when she revealed to me that she was a fan of Garth Brooks, and it surprised me even more when she sang along to some of his older songs in the car.
The other day, we were sitting in the drop off line at school, and I was flipping through the channels on the radio (I cannot stand listening to DJs talk more than introducing the next song) when I stopped on an Aerosmith song. I figured I would be the only one actually enjoying the song. I was wrong. Kaitlyn got really excited about an Aerosmith song on the radio. Interesting. I thought for sure she was just humoring me.
Until today. Same deal, flipping through the channels, searching for something worth listening to, when I stopped on an Aerosmith song. “Yes!” Kaitlyn exclaimed. Time to get to the bottom of this.
To say that Aerosmith is an acquired taste might be an understatement. While I enjoy their music (most of it), most people can either take them or leave them. And for an 8 year old to even show the least interest in them is not something that I expected. It turns out that Kaitlyn doesn’t like Aerosmith solely for their musical stylings, although that is part of it. Most of why she likes hearing them is that she really (and I mean really) wants to take a trip to Hollywood Studios soon so she can ride the “Rockin’ Rollercoaster,” which features their songs. Makes sense, I guess. I am not going to be the one to tell her that she can ride that ride without first knowing anything about the band or their music. Nope, I am going to let her expand her musical tastes and go from there.
There are still a few weeks left in the school year, but that hasn’t stopped Kaitlyn from getting ready for summer break. And by “getting ready,” I mean having her summer pretty much all planned out. Because that is just her style.
About two weeks ago, we got most of her summer camp lined up all at once. It was quite easy, actually. All I had to do was wait in line at her school to get her signed up; since we are signed up for the after school program, we were given “priority” sign up for summer camp. She’ll be going to camp at her school for all but a handful of weeks.
Before we even signed her up, we had a great idea what the entire schedule for the school summer camp would be, and Kaitlyn took it upon herself to take the schedule they sent home and work out her plan. Between out-of-town field trips and “free choice Thursdays,” she is ready. If you were to ask what she was doing the second Thursday in July during summer camp, she would tell you what she has already decided.
We’ll also be taking a family vacation again this summer (sadly, not a Disney cruise!), and will be spending some time at the beach. The best part is that we will be joined by another family who we are really close to and their three kids, who Kaitlyn just gets along splendidly with. I don’t know if we are brave or something else for spending a prolonged time at the beach with four kids, but I know that we will find out soon enough.
Kaitlyn is, of course, deep into planning her birthday party, too. It didn’t take her long to settle on a theme, and it is one that fits her: “Wild ’70s.” We’re already getting stuff together, and Amber has been working hard on getting the decorations to Kaitlyn’s exacting standards. We’re going to somehow transform our back yard into a “Hippie Haven.” Should be interesting.
Summer will be here before we know it, and I know that Kaitlyn is ready. Amber and I are certainly ready, although we are not looking forward to writing that check every week for summer camp! Kaitlyn will stay busy, which is a really good thing, but she will also have plenty of time to just relax and unwind from what has been another great school year.
“She’s so polite!”
“What a sweetheart!”
“That was so nice of her…”
And the list goes on and on. Think of a superlative, and Amber and I have probably heard it about Kaitlyn. All over stuff that we don’t even give a second thought to.
It really is appreciated each and every time someone complements Kaitlyn on her manners. We have worked really hard with her from almost day one to instill acting at least somewhat proper around people; we’ve had her saying “please” and “thank you” from the time she could talk. And we didn’t just have her blindly saying those things. We taught her what they meant, and the power that those words can have.
Think about it. How many times have you been out somewhere and noticed that using just the slightest hint of manners has opened doors for you that were closed for others? That’s the power of manners, and that is why we have taught Kaitlyn to be respectful and have good manners when we are around other people (we would love for her to do that constantly, but you pick your battles).
Amber and I rarely worry how Kaitlyn will behave when we are out. We know that she will be respectful of all of the adults present, and she will be kind to any kids around. It also never gets old for us to hear her be complimented for having good manners, too.
Of course, we have also extended our expectations to anytime she gets any sort of gift. Without fail, and sometimes with some complaining (she is 8 after all), Kaitlyn will make a “thank you” card or phone call. Because that is important.
Kaitlyn will always have her struggles when it comes to social interactions and situations, and that is an undeniable fact. What Amber and I hope we are doing and have started on, is helping her with a basic skill of being in a social setting. It’s work, and it takes a daily effort, but it is worth it.
Thank you for reading and continuing to do so. I enjoy sharing glimpses into our lives and the good and the not-so-good (mostly good) that comes from raising a child with Asperger’s.