3 Junior Groomsmen: Part 4

At our reception table were three large blue gift bags.  One for each child.   The mother of the bride, Tess, had helped plan this.   I think Tess could write a book entitled:

“Autism, Kids and Weddings: A How To Guide”

The bags had wonderful fidgets and toys to keep the boys inside the room, happy and engaged.  Let’s face it,wedding receptions are  a lot to ask little bodies to handle, by the time you’re finished with the toasts, cake-cutting, etc… Inside the bags were:

  • Coloring books and crayons
  • slinky toys
  • day glow glasses, bracelets and necklaces
  • cars
  • legos
  • playing cards, old maid and go fish children’s sets
  • sticker books
  • and much more…

With the help of Anthony, Sasha and the goody bags; my parents and I were able to go out on the dance floor throughout the evening.  Which was awesome, because my family loves to dance.  We alternated who stayed at the table, who took the boys to the bathroom, and who followed the boys if they started to roam, they wanted to touch everything.

The boys were shy about going on the dance floor.  They’d gone to school dances before, with lights and smoke machines, still they were overwhelmed.  Only briefly though.

Because suddenly, Anwar ran to the dance floor, shaking his arms and legs, giggling uncontrollably.  Savion skipped up and spun in circles, jumping between turns.  Taj said,“Slide, clap! Slide Clap!” He’d follow his directions, walk, squat down, get back up and yell, “Slide, Clap!”  Savion danced with the ring bearer and flower girl.   Anwar got the general idea of line dancing.   And Taj chased the reflecting lights on the floor.

They had untucked their shirts, but it wasn’t a big deal.  This was a party!

As the thumping music lowered, Taj walked up to Sasha and said,”Sasha’s lap.”  He then fell asleep.  Anwar and Savion were also slowing down.   I nodded at Sasha and Anthony to help ready the boys to leave.   Just as we were about to exit though, pizza was served.  Well you know what happened then.  Anwar and Savion wanted a slice.  After that we gathered everyone to the elevators.  My parents stayed and that room was still rocking with energy when we left.

By the time we got upstairs, it was past 10 pm.   Sasha and Anthony helped dress the boys in pj’s, and they helped me put up the day clothes, hanging the shirts and pants, lining up the shoes neatly.   It was time for Anthony and Sasha to drive back to Junction City.

After bidding them good-bye.  I stayed up for a bit.  I was excited about the fun stories I would share with Victor when we got back home.  One more event remained of this wedding weekend before we left.

The farewell breakfast.

Sunday at the Sunset Zoo

Last Sunday, Anwar, Savion, Taj and I went to the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, KS.   Savion had been lobbying for weeks to go to the Rolling Hills Zoo in Salina.

“First I go to school, then we go to Rolling Hills Zoo,” Savion told Victor .

“We can go to grandma’s and then we go to Rolling Hills Zoo,” Savion informed me.

“After speech therapy, we go to Rolling Hills Zoo,” he whispered to my mom.

Notice that Savion never asked, if, we could go to the Zoo.   Savion has adopted the “first, then” format I use to simplify directions.  For example, instead of saying: “Get your shoes, and we’ll go for a drive.”  I say: “First shoes, then car.”  I might reinforce the statement with sign for Anwar(shoes and car) and also type it in Anwar’s speaking device.

So we went to the closest zoo.  It’s about a 30 minute drive to Manhattan,KS.  Once parked, I started with my safety narration.

“Mommy unbuckle, then Anwar and Savion unbuckle.  Anwar and Savion get out of car with Mommy.  Anwar, Savion and Mommy go other side of car, unbuckle Taj.  Anwar, Savion, Taj, walk with Mommy to zoo.”  Anwar held my left hand, Savion held my right hand and Taj was holding onto Savion.  As we approached the entrance, two women approached us.

“Excuse me, can you take our picture?”

“Sorry, I can’t my children might run away.” The boys had made it from the car to the zoo without eloping; I didn’t want to mess that up.  Because  the last time Savion was at the zoo, Victor had prevented Savion from chasing the roaming peacocks and kept him from racing down hills.  Last Sunday the boys and I walked together.  They didn’t try to chase the peacocks, bang on the enclosures or run away at a full sprint.  It has taken a lot of patience, practicing walking together on paths, to get to this point.

I had my key ring of picture cards to reinforce my words as we walked.   Stop.  Walk with Me. Wait.  Those were the cards I used the most.  Savion said his favorite part was “Hilarious” the Hyena.  Taj liked the gibbons, Gabriel and Glenda.  Anwar enjoyed being outside and feeling the scattered raindrops on his face.

Before leaving, there was a small playground the boys played in.  Taj was delighted that the flamingo exhibit was on one side and down below gibbons were chattering.  The boys were able to sit still for a picture!  It was a great day.