Monday, October 4, 2010

The Case of the Missing Snack

It was 5:25 p.m. and for the third time since Ryan arrived home on the bus from preschool, I checked my email for a note from his teacher.

Nothing? AWESOME! Perhaps Ryan's declaration of "not having snack" today was a misstatement....
After all, he could have been reminiscing about last Monday when he was called in from recess by his Speech Pathologist and chose instead to run in the opposite direction, thus launching a new game of "Chase the Ryan".  These things happen.... and judging by my email collection from last year, they happen more often than his educators would hope.

Instigator of a chase game? Must be a mistake! Just look at me. I'm the face of innocence sitting here still with the "relax" blanket, a TiVo remote and a new red truck.  

Hi Aspierations Teammates!
Hope you had a Monday that was more magnificent than mundane and more melodious than manic! 

Coming off a high from Justin's 11th birthday yesterday, I was ready to have a productive and positive day.  I even got to sleep in a bit as John kindly took care of getting Justin off to school.  As a bonus, there were NO nightmares last night and no little guy snuck into bed at 4:30 a.m. to steal my snuggly covers or kick me in the spine.

Of course I understand why Ryan slept soundly last night.  He was probably dreaming of his afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese with Justin and his friends. If he wasn't, at least the little guy was tuckered out from the climbing up and down the play structure, crashing a neighboring table's party and running off with a random guest's game tickets.  (I did give them back!)

When I get up in the morning and Ryan is up before me, he almost always stops what he is doing and runs down the hall to give me a big kiss, hug and either an excited "I Love You" or "Hello, Nice Mommy!!"  I adore this kiddo!  

I don't drink coffee and so he is truly my caffeine in the morning.  I appreciate every single one of his proclamations of affection.  I often recall how just a couple years ago after his speech regressed and he lost most of his words whether I'd ever hear him say my name again. It took time and a lot of amazing effort on Ryan's part but fortunately his speech came back and my little blue-eyed ray of sunshine is back on course again.

Of course sometimes he strays... and so when he got home from school and mentioned casually upon questioning that he did not partake in snack, the parental warning bell went off.

Time to check the email because we ALL know in this household that if Ryan doesn't get snacktime with his friends after recess that something behavioral happened.  I always cringe wondering what... and hope I won't inappropriately laugh too hard when I hear of his crime.

So it was 5:25 p.m. and I checked my email yet again. Nada, nil, zilch... Hmm...

Too good to be true.... (can't take my eyes off of you...)

Does this look like the face of mischief?

After a short time we sat down at the table for dinner.  John and I had chicken noodle soup with a side of cheddar cheese.  Ryan had lettuce and cheese salad and two pieces of salami.  Justin had plain rice and a few potato chips.  Disappointed you weren't invited over for dinner?  I can make arrangements!

We make it a point whenever we can to share dinner together each night as a family. I would say that for the past three years we've been averaging at least six nights around the table.  This was something that I never did growing up and my parents always told me was a regret for them.  I'll share my eating habits and food preferences growing up in a future blog.  

I do think that it is one of the strongest things that we do together as a family to promote bonding and to make sure we are on top of how Justin and Ryan are doing both at school and emotionally. Each evening, we all go around the table and talk about our days.  We generally try to keep things light.  

Well tonight we asked Ryan about the mysterious "Case of the Missing Snack" at school.  Ryan as he often is was quite enigmatic. He did volunteer that "he listened" and that he did "not run away from teachers".  It is also to be noted that no-one was kicked in the shins.  This was a relief.  (The bruises are starting to go away...)

One possibility did come into play.  Ryan said he was late for snack.  Since he often has speech therapy on Mondays near the end of recess and continuing until right before snacktime, this was a plausible explanation.  Optimistically, I wanted to believe...

John and Justin headed off after dinner to their Monday Boy Scouts meeting and so Ryan and I were left to hold up the fort.  I played a little Super Mario Brothers on the Wii with him and then we went upstairs where I told him he had permission to use Dad's iPad as long as he didn't change settings (don't ask), delete information (don't ask), request to make a purchase or try and get some cute preschooler's home digits.  He agreed and went to his approved page of educational Apps, including a huge favorite, Google Earth where he can zoom in on roads and pretend he's driving with his finger from our home in Washington to Gram and Grandpa's in California.  (Yes, he DOES know the way...)

As I moved with the grace of a gazelle back to my desk, I could see him playing nicely in the purple chair.  Here was my chance to do a little work, catch up on email, maybe finish up early so I could blog to my Aspierations crew.

"You've got mail!"  

Uh-oh --- Note from the teacher....

You know it's probably not going to be good when the subject header reads, "Other behaviors that we need to work on".  Gulp!

So being the proactive parent that I am, I decided to open up and respond to a couple of other quick work emails first. (WIMP!)  

I went back to the email, lingering over the subject header, ready to click open, ready to read about a transgression that needed my attention...

Then came a smell... and I knew there was bad news in the office.  Apparently Ryan's salad with cheese dinner did not agree with him and it was one of those things that happened very quickly.  Trying not to retch (I have a VERY sensitive sense of smell and this particular odor was not a bouquet of flowers), I got up, bumped my right pinky toe on the corner of the desk ($1 for the swear jar) and went over to my not so sweet smelling cherub and got him cleaned up.  I'll spare you the details and quite frankly, I'm sparing myself as well because if I think about it, I'll visualize it and if I visualize it.... oh CRAP.... 

Seriously...  I'm not writing any more about it.

So after all was back to our own version of normal again in the Krejcha family household and Count Your Beans World Headquarters, I went back to my desk, sat in my chair and told myself, if I could deal with the excrement that just took place in this office, I can certainly deal with another email from the teacher!

I clicked on the mystery email...

At recess today, Ryan was playing with a friend.  Somehow, that friend's shoe fell off.  Rather than making a "good choice" and helping his friend, Ryan made an "alternate choice" of picking up the shoe and flinging it into the bushes... where it was muddy... and apparently someone else had to go and get it...

There was no malicious intent in the choice.  Ryan was just making a choice to be funny and he thought he had succeeded with flying colors.  Ryan's teacher?  Not so much...  Ryan's Mom?  

I'm embarrassed to admit that yes, I DID laugh when I first read the email.  I got such a great visual picture in my head and if you knew my son, well... you could totally picture this happening with a smile on his face and a giggle soon following.  I know it was wrong.  I'm not making excuses.  I know it was an inappropriate social response to laugh.  There is no way (hopefully) I would have laughed if I would have been there in person (probably).  I'm an Aspie after all...

Trust me, I do know the importance of using teachable moments like these to show him better choice options.  I talked about making better choices extensively with Ryan and when John and Justin came home from scouts, they each heard the story and worked with him a bit too.  (For the record, both laughed as well.)

So now you have it, Aspierations friends.

We've solved the Case of the Missing Snack.... and I didn't even need my Nancy Drew hat!  Thanks for sticking with me through the story.  That dinner invitation will be on its way soon.  Just send me your address, okay?

Thanks for stopping by the Aspierations blog!  I welcome your comments and witticisms and look forward to hearing from you in the future!



  1. Your lad and mine would share a similar sense of humour. Mine is now 13. Did Ryan get snack today or is it still missing? Karen, how do I find and comment on previous posts? I wanted to yesterday but forgot and don't know how to get back. The Fireflies video reminded me of my brother's room and my son's room and a lot of the toys they had special interest in when younger. Bizarre. The Soul Sister song is a very good one but did not make me think autism, just that I wish someday again for my own lucky lady. Autism is a real buzzkill for marriage. Heard 80% divorce?

  2. Hi Will,
    Thanks for for your post! I am pleased to report that Ryan DID get a snack today! He made GOOD choices at school. At home, it was really tough. In some areas he is regressing (potty stuff, smearing, eating) and in others he is progressing.

    If you want to comment on previous posts, you can find them through a few different methods. If they're recent, there is an archive section on the right sidebar underneath some of the Favorite Aspierations postings. You can go back month by month.

    You can also use the search feature at the top right. Another possible option is clicking on the topic links in the Labels section. Eventually I am going to try and make this blog more user-friendly. Sorry for any confusion! Please always feel free to ask a question!

    Glad you liked the Fireflies video. So is your brother and/or son on the spectrum? A lot of people would likely scratch their heads but if you know someone with Aspergers / ASD, especially if they are male, I agree that a lot of those toys resonate as "special interest".

    I really like Soul Sister too. I haven't figured out why my son likes it so much. I know why I do. Different reason, I would suspect!

    Hope you find your lucky lady! I agree that ASD is very difficult on marriages. There are studies out that dispute the 80% claim. Honestly though, who cares about 80% of others if there is a problem with 100% of one's own relationship? I think a lot of times the parents that do stay together do it for the sake of the kids, for religious reasons or financially because they can't take of the medical, therapy and educational needs otherwise. Not sure if that is the right thing to do but kids are a true blessing and gift from God and need parental love and support. I am definitely not one to try and judge others. Just making my way!

    Keep the faith. Stay strong! Hope you'll visit Aspierations again!

  3. Thanks for the detailed explanation. Think I got it now. Derrick (13) has HFA/Aspergers and my brother Ian (38) doesn't have a diagnosis nor is he seeking one but he's there. I agree about the 100%. Sister has 5 kids and is miserable but stays married because of religious beliefs and because she has 5 kids and that's a lot of commitment. She says maybe when all kids are 21 they will move apart. I might have stayed married but my wife and I guess I changed after Derrick was about 9 and going through toughhood. We were/are Catholic but we fell out of love if we were ever really in it. But if you are Catholic in our family you marry for life. You see true character and learn true friends when you learn your child has a disability. Some people only want country club, private school children. I married at 26. Thought it was right timing and all lads around me were getting hitched too. We tried counselling, retreats, support groups and we just fell out of love and sometimes it does not work and you have to forgive yourself and know God will too. She divorced me and is now happy with someone else. I have our son and try to stay amicable. Lifestyle and community prominence and respect is important to some. Pillars of the community have skeletons in their closets too. I say love and marry for the right reasons and then work your bloody arse off to keep the relationship well. Some lucky lady will see that in my heart someday. Until then my commitment is toward Derrick. Special needs children may be around for many years beyond 21 so finding the right woman who is ok with that is the challenge.

  4. Hi Will,
    I'm glad I made some sense. Now if I only I could make some dollars! :-)

    I hear you about some people being all about the materialism and status. That's never been my style (although creating my own tiger themed lair would be awesome) but I have to admit, I often wish I could find a way to become debt-free and financially independent so that I could better take care of my children and offer them more educational, social and therapy opportunities. I hate drowning and not knowing what to do, not having anyone to turn to for advice, having no-one physically outside these walls to confide in that will be non-judgmental and encouraging. It makes me feel so incompetent, like I'm wasting my potential and not using the gifts that God blessed me with. Uh-oh, tangent response, sorry. I will be quiet!

    Marriage... it does take a lot of work, mutual respect, acceptance, encouragement and passion and you can't force a square peg into a round hole, especially if the round hole doesn't want to compromise its shape. Ending a relationship is an easy choice for many, difficult for some, seemingly impossible for others especially when the combination of kiddos, finances, special needs and religion are involved. When children are in the mix... there is such a level of complexity because no-one wants them hurt. What is best for the child? Is it best for the parent too?

    I'm sorry your marriage did not work out but I commend you on the strength and fortitude it takes to raise Derrick and still be positive about wanting to find and make a loving relationship work for you. I get how you make sacrifices but still want more for yourself and I hope you are able to find what and who you're looking for. There are a lot of amazing women out there who work with kiddos with special needs. It might be a place to start because you'll know at least they're accepting! :-)

  5. HAH! HAH! loved the case of the missing snack story. could have been my daughter as a subsitute. even the poopy part. oops tmi HAH HAH. autism moms understand these stories oh too well. kardashian family we are not. glamour? HAH HAH i'd like to take a shower 3x a week. marriage? try being romantic after the poopy show. we try though, we try. at least aspie women like lots of sex and are good at it. oops tmi HAH HAH

  6. Hi Anonymous! :-)
    I'm glad you enjoyed my tale. So you're an Aspie Mom too? There have been a few that have posted at Aspierations and I know of a number who follow the blog through Google Friend connect. Hope you come back again!

    You know, glamorous can be defined as full of excitement, adventure and unusual activity. If that doesn't describe an Aspie Mom with spectrum kiddos, I don't know what does! Of course, it's not exactly tabloid gossip material but it provides for interesting blog material, bonding and plenty of memory making. Glamorous, we can be!

    Sometimes I wish I could HIDE in the shower! It smells good there, I love the running water, I have privacy (usually...).

    As for your last comment, thanks for the smile. I needed a good laugh today. As far as my opinion goes, ummm... can't argue with Aspie talent and special interest. :-) I plead the fifth!!!!!

  7. aspie mom, aspie wife, aspietude for life! kellie is an aspie and 10, kevin has PDD/NOS and is 5. we found out about kellie first and kevin right afterwards. just thought kellie was gifted but a teacher with a daughter with aspergers recommended we get her checked out. love the shower too, especially with partner but then more kids. got to love that aspie drive, HAH HAH. you plead the fifth but us aspie women know.

  8. Thanks for your comments! Have you seen the Autism Women's Network? There are a lot of great resources there for families that have women and/or male or female children on the spectrum.

    There is also a really good book called "Aspergirls". If you haven't checked that out, I highly recommend it.