Me: Maymay, why are you dying your fingers?
Maymay: Why not?
Maymay is in complete love with her genuine replica of a 3rd class mug from the Titanic, that we got at the Franklin Institute. I figured I better get another one just in case this one gets chipped or broken. Yep, I'm a smarty. I know that there is a small chance that she will drop, chip, break, or somehow damage her beloved mug. So, I contacted The Franklin Institute asking if there was anyway they could help me purchase another genuine Titanic replica 3rd class mug, just in case anything happened to the mug I bought Maymay at the Titanic exhibit. See, I'm a smarty. I didn't want to bring her to the museum just to buy another mug, and I knew she'd BEG to go through the exhibit again. Truthfully, I just can't afford it.
Anyway, I was contacted by a rep from FI, I explained the situation, and she offered to send us a new mug! Talk about wonderful! The package came yesterday, and instead of just her mug, it was filled with so much Titanic wonderfulness! The level of happiness emitting from Maymay is astronomical. I'm not sure I've seen her this excited about anything. Ever.
I cannot say thank you enough to The Franklin Institute for making my kiddo happier than mere words can convey. She read her new book from cover to cover, and fell asleep hugging her snow globe. She even learned something new about Titanic...and I didn't think that was possible. THANK YOU.
Maymay is LOVING her new book! She even learned a new fact...and I didn't think THAT was possible.
Maymay started freaking out that she got another genuine replica of a 3rd class mug! Talk about a happy, happy girlie.
I was dying from the cuteness of this! She was so excited to get this snow globe, that she started kissing it. She hasn't put it down since she got it.
Maymay is sick. Not just the sniffles, but full blown coughing, aching, stuffy head, mucus filled grossness, kind of sick. It's been a fun time filled with oodles of snotty tissues, Powerade Zero, NyQuil, Club crackers and Nutella. Yup, I went for the serious medicines and feel better supplies. I'm a smarty.
On a "normal" day she can jump from sad to happy to cranky faster than a cheetah chasing a gazelle. (Yeah, there is NO such thing as normal in my life, but you know what I mean.) Today Maymay woke up seriously cranky and nothing I was doing was helping. Not at all. I even tried most of my usual tricks and lame jokes. Didn't help. Just as I was ready to throw in the white towel of surrender, she threw me a life line.
Maymay: I needs a bandaid.
Me: Are you hurt?
Maymay: No. (She let out a deep sigh like I was a complete idiot.)
Me: Then why in the world do you need a bandaid?
Maymay: I like them.
And just like that, Maymay went from uber cranky to contently watching TV. Who knew something as simple as a Cookie Monster bandaid could make everything so much better?
Oh, that's right....she did.
Me: What do you want for breakfast?
Maymay: Nutella and Club crackers.
(I get her the requested food of choice, and she immediately starts glopping the Nutella on her cracker.)
Maymay: There are 48 hazelnuts in each jar of Nutella.
Maymay: It says so right on the jar. How do they get exactly 48 hazelnuts in each jar? Does someone have to count each one? What if they miscount? Do they have to throw the jar away and start over? Are the hazelnuts smashed up before they put them in the jar or do they smash them in the jar? There is also milk in Nutella. I like milk. There is also cocoa. Is it milk chocolate? I like milk chocolate. I don't like dark chocolate. (She shoves a cracker loaded with Nutella in her mouth.)
I'm sharing a story I read today. It has nothing directly to do with Maymay, but the little autistic girl behaves in a manner so similar to Maymay that I felt an instant connection. I think this happens so much to fellow parents of kiddos on the spectrum. We have a type of bond that defies explanation. We share battle wounds and broken hearts. We celebrate things that most other parents deem insignificant, and KNOW when all hell is gonna break loose. (Of course I get blindsided by meltdowns for some reason, but that's a discussion for another time.) Anyway, I've had so many situations where we've had to leave a restaurant because of Maymay's meltdowns over what seemed like a small issue. For a child on the spectrum, it's the small stuff that can send them over the edge.
Here's the story that made my day:
If you’ve ever made a sandwich for a young child, you might know that how exactly it’s cut — into rectangles, squares or triangles — and crust vs. no crust can be points of contention.
There was a similar issue with the cheeseburger placed in front of 7-year-old Arianna Hill at a Chili’s restaurant in Midvale, Utah. Hill, it turns out, has autism and wouldn’t touch the cheeseburger that had been cut in half. To her, it was “broken.”
What happened next prompted her sister to write up a Facebook post Sunday that has since gone viral with more than 27,000 comments, more than 199,000 shares and more than a half a million likes.
Anna Kaye MacLean explained in the post that she and her husband took her younger sister to Chili’s where she ordered her usual favorite — cheeseburger with pickles and French fries with a chocolate milk — promptly when the waitress, Lauren, came to get drink orders.
When the food was delivered MacLean said she asked her sister why she wasn’t eating her Krabby Patty, a reference to the hamburger joint in the cartoon show SpongeBob Square Pants.
“She replied, ‘It’s broken. I need another one thats fixed,’” MacLean’s Facebook post read. “Then it dawned on me why she wasn’t eating it. It’s because it was cut in half. Being a child with autism, she has to have certain things in a particular order at all times. One slight change in her routine can change the course of the day instantly.”
MacLean told the waitress when she returned that she needed to order a new burger, which they would happily pay for, that wasn’t cut down the middle. Here’s what happened next:
Lauren was so sweet and just smiled and went along with Arianna, telling her “I brought you a broken cheeseburger?! You know what, I’ll have them cook you a new one!” I loved this because rather than just taking it from the table, she actually TOLD Arianna what she was doing. While this seems insignificant, by her telling Arianna what she was doing, we avoided a melt down. The manager, Bradley Cottermole, then came to our table, kneeled down, and said to Arianna, “I heard we gave you a broken cheeseburger! I am so sorry about that! We are making you a brand new one that isn’t broken, with pickles! I’ll bring you some french fries to munch on while you’re waiting, ok?” A couple of minutes later, Lauren arrived back at our table with cheeseburger #2.
The little girl thanked Lauren for fixing her cheeseburger, turned to the sandwich to say ”OH I missed you!!” and began kissing it. That’s when MacLean snapped the photo posted above and showed it to Lauren who in turn took it to the manager and the kitchen staff who all got a kick out of it.
“I was so touched by this experience. Especially since I know people who have been asked to leave restaurants when their child with autism is being disruptive. I expected a few different things with this scenario based on past experiences, but I did NOT expect such kind and compassionate mannerisms from Lauren and Bradley,” MacLean wrote.
“I know…a cheeseburger cut in half literally could make or break our day. In this case thanks to the professionalism of the crew in Midvale, it made our day,” she continued. “And I’m sure Arianna brightened up at least one of the employees days with her silly little personality.”
The story has made its way around Facebook but national media and advocacy organizations have taken note as well. Good Morning America reported Chili’s General Manager Harrison Dixon saying he received a call from the president of Autism Speaks to thank him for the work of his staff.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of those two,” Dixon told GMA about the Midvale staff interacting with the family. “I’ve been with this company for 13 years and I’ve never been as proud as I am today.”
Each year the Center for Autism Research (CAR), The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and the Philadelphia Eagles host an event called Huddle up for Autism. It's a fun day for kids and their families that are on the spectrum. Last year they started a fundraising campaign to help defray some of the costs, and to help with other programs. Maymay begged to participate so she can be one of the VIP fundraisers and get a chance to meet the Eagles Cheerleaders who she ADORES. (Not as much as she loves Titanic, but they are up there.) She is thrilled to get the opportunity to meet her beloved cheerleaders, but to also help out the hospital that has done so much for her.
This year they are dangling the same carrot out there for my kiddo...raise money and hopefully become a VIP. She seriously wants the meet and greet with the cheerleaders. Seriously.
So, I'm asking...begging....you to please make a donation on her behalf to the hospital that performed three brain surgeries, multiple hospital stays, countless tests and procedures, and hundreds of hours of therapy and help with my kiddo.
Click this link to go to her CHOP fundraising page:
Maymay has noticed that there is a large crack on her bedroom wall. This has caused us to have a daily discussion about the crack. Yup, everyday. She has measured it and remeasured it to make sure it isn't growing. She has studied it for any signs of change.
Now, a good parent would've explained how cracks happen in walls and assured their child there is no cause for concern. A really good parent might use this as a teachable moment and look up pictures on the Internet and explain house foundations, shifting and what would cause it to happen. An exceptional parent might even have their little sweetheart watch/help them make the necessary repairs and repaint the wall.
Yeah, I didn't do any of that.
I, of course, told her that it sure looks like it's a crack in the skin of the universe. Upon further inspection, I told her it simply MUST be a result of a time explosion and The Doctor will be very interested in seeing the crack in her wall. Very interested indeed. I now have Maymay excited that the crack in her wall just might actually be a crack in time, and that The Doctor might be arriving at any moment with Amy and Rory. I have promised her that should The Doctor actually arrive, we will happily go off in the tardis to explore all the wonders he has discovered.
This has had a few unexpected results. We have begun looking up at the stars at night. We're learning about constellations, stars, and galaxies. She's asked me to get us a telescope so we can better look at space and maybe catch a glimpse of the tardis. We started looking up telescopes to see what they cost, which one will suit us best, and the difference between them.
Anyway, a good parent would've explained that crack in the wall.
Going grocery shopping with my kiddo can be.... interesting.
Me: Maymay! Stop slapping the frozen chicken.
Maymay: I'm not slapping them. I'm giving high fives. (She looked at me for a brief moment and went right back to what she was doing.)
Me: Wait, what? Maymay, what are you doing?
Maymay: I'm giving high fives to the chicken. (She continued slapping all the frozen chickens in the case.)
Me: Stop it and come here. (She skipped over to me and looked at me like I was obviously interrupting her.) Honey, why are you giving the chicken high fives?
Maymay: My teacher gives us high fives because he like us. I like chicken.
What is it that kids say nowadays? Oh yeah, duh.
Maymay and I are re-watching John Carter for the 854,245 time. I see something out of the corner of my eye so I look over at her. It's during the big battle scene when Carter becomes Jeddak of the Tharks, and I see her lifting her arms, chanting along and dancing.
Me: um....what are you doing?
Maymay: Dotar Sojat! Dotar Sojat! Dotar Sojat! (she's dancing around while chanting)
Me: (laughing) Do you have any idea what that even means hon?
Maymay: (deep sigh) Dotar Sojat is my right arms. Geez momma, don't you pay attention? (she keeps chanting and dancing)
Me: Sorry hon. I guess I missed that. (now I'm laughing harder)
Maymay: (completely stops what she's doing and glares at me) You are NOT a Thark.
As I'm hysterically laughing it occurs to me that this might have been an insult. Nice job Maymay.
Maymay likes watching Wheel of Fortune. Everyday. Matter of fact, I can even tell you that it comes on every night at 7:30 pm. How do I know the exact time? Because Maymay reminds me. Everyday. She's even nice enough to give me a countdown to the exact moment it begins. She usually starts watching the time around 5:30 pm. I'll get friendly reminders that Wheel is starting in 2 hours and 3 minutes, or 1 hour and 40 minutes. She's helpful like that.
She also plays online and is eagerly awaiting for Pat Sajak to announce her Spin ID as a winner. Don't ask, I just smile and say, "ok hon." while she explains to me yet again what a Spin ID is. She wants to be on the show because she is positive she'll be a huge winner and Vanna will like her so much that she would let Maymay help her with the letters. She likes Pat and thinks he's funny. I asked her if she wanted to tell him one of her jokes. She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Wheel of Fortune is serious business momma. It's not funny."
Well, I got told. Again.