Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Daughter Auditioned For The School Play

"Mommy, there are a lot of people here. What if I forget?"

I looked around the room. Natalie was right. It was full. There had to be at least 100 people. Maybe more.

"Do your best. It's all you can do," I answered.

Natalie bit her lower lip. "What if I don't get a part and am just in the choir?"

This was a strong possibility. It looked like over 50 kids were auditioning for the school play and there were maybe 15 speaking parts, if that. The rest of the kids would go into the choir.



"Then you'll do your very best in the choir," I replied.

She leaned against me briefly. After all, she's in fifth grade and it's not as cool to snuggle with Mommy in public. But I held her close and whispered, "You'll do great. No matter what."

She shrugged and picked at her fingers.

The auditions started soon after.

Natalie was number 4. When they called her name, she took a deep breath.

"You can do it, baby girl," I said and gave her a thumbs up.

She nodded and climbed the stairs onto the stage.

I filmed her, and many of you might have already seen it.






When she was done, she rushed back to her seat.

"That was embarrassing," she whispered, cheeks a bit pink. "But fun. I got nervous. I wish I'd have danced, but there were so many people staring."

"It's okay. You did you best."

She wanted to stay and support her friends that auditioned. She clapped hard for every kid that went up there. Some walked to the stage and muttered, "I can't do this," and left. But you know what, that's fine. I couldn't do it. I hate being in front of people. Whenever I had to give speeches in front of the class, I would panic. But Natalie has so much more confidence than I ever did.



We'll find out by the end of the week what part Natalie got. And if she's just on the choir, she's okay with that. She was in school choir last year and was one of the only kids who did the arm movements with excitement.





Have you ever auditioned for anything?






Monday, November 13, 2017

Hey, It's Okay

I got this idea from Glamour magazine. You can link up any day of the week. All you have to do is make a list of what you're okay about. Simple! Please do not link up a post that has nothing to do with Hey, It's Okay. It's rude and I'll delete the link.





Hey, It's Okay....




....to be excited that I'm going to see The Justice League with my family this weekend. We like super heroes!



....to have gone to At Home to buy some Christmas decorations, and so did most of Texas. The line was crazy.



....to not be putting any Christmas decorations up until after Thanksgiving. It feels too weird to have them up before then. But I have some ready to go!



....to be amused when I watch 90 Day Fiance. You can so tell some of these people are using the US people for a green card.



....to have eaten so many rolls when we went to Texas Roadhouse for lunch. I'll never be one of these no carb people.



.....to be proud of my daughter for auditioning for her school play. She was nervous because there were over 100 people in the room. But she did it. (And yes, she is sporting a unicorn hat from Despicable Me.)










Sunday, November 12, 2017

Watching Atypical: Similarities and Differences In My Son With Autism

Atypical is a show on Netflix about a teenager with autism. His name is Sam, and he's 18. He has decided he wants a girlfriend, and will do what he can to get one.

Only it's not as easy as he hopes. People with autism aren't the best with social cues, and they can be awkward. Neutrotypicals don't always know how to react or deal with people with autism. A lot of them don't bother to try, which is a shame.

As I watched the show, I thought of my own son Tommy, who has autism. He's 15 and also would like a girlfriend but it's difficult for him because he doesn't talk to a lot of people.

I saw similarities and differences between my son and Sam. And here are some of them.






1. Tommy doesn't wear headphones like Sam does in high school. Sam wears them because it helps cancel out all the noises. When Tommy was smaller, he hated noises, but he has gotten much better with coping. He still isn't a fan of sudden loud noises, like fire alarms, but most of them are pre-planned, so he can prepare.



2. As I mentioned before, like Sam, he wants a girlfriend. He's always asking me how to get one. I tell him to be himself, to always be polite, and to never ask a girl when she's cranky if she's on her period. (And he says this to me: "There was a cranky girl at school, but I knew not to ask if it was because she was on her period.")


3. Tommy doesn't drive even though he could get his learner's permit. He's not interested. Sam is 18 and doesn't drive either. He takes the bus. This is most likely what Tommy will do.


4. My son doesn't have a job. Granted, he's only 15, and in a few years he'll figure out what he wants to do. He knows FOR SURE he does NOT want to be in the Air Force like his Daddy because "I like my hair long."




5. In Atypical, Sam relies a lot on his sister, who is a few years younger than him. I think he's a senior and she's a freshman. She watches over him, gives him his lunch money, things like that. Tommy is 15 and Natalie is 10 so she isn't really a protector. Granted, she would tell someone where they could go if they made fun of Tommy, but I would never put all sorts of responsibilities on her. I think parents who do this are wrong. It is NOT the sister or the brother's job to have to take care of their sibling with autism. The neurotypical sibling NEEDS to have their own life.


6. Sam's Dad struggles to talk with him at times. Yup, this is true with Tommy's Dad. In the show, Sam's Dad said his son was "not like anyone he's ever met before." My husband Tom feels the same, I'm sure. My husband is one of those macho military men, and Tommy has poor gross motor skills. You know how a lot of fathers think, "I can't wait to toss a baseball around with him," when they find out they're having a son? I'm sure my husband thought this and then realized early on that his son would never do this with him because he can barely hold a ball properly.




7. Tommy doesn't mind if you call him autistic. In the show, when his parents are at an autism support group, the dad is chastised for calling him "autistic" and is urged to use "people-first" language. So you'd say, "People with autism" which essentially is the same thing. My son doesn't care. I really don't care. There's so much more to worry about in the world.


8. Tommy doesn't really have friends. Sam has his co-worker Zahid and (finally) a girlfriend. Tommy says he is an introvert and doesn't really speak to anyone at school. He communicates with people online since he has a YouTube channel, and of course he communicates with family, but that's about it.


9. He probably wouldn't go to a dance, even if it was silent. In Atypical, his girlfriend requests a silent dance where everyone wears headphones with the music coming out of them. That way it's not too loud for Sam.


10. It's not okay to cheat on your spouse because you're dealing with autism. In the show, it really bothered me that the mom cheated and seemed to imply that it was because she's been dealing with autism for 18 years. Sorry, no excuse. Keep your pants zipped. It is difficult, because odds are, it's the mother dealing with mostly everything because she tends to know her kid the best. In my house, I'm the one that knows how to calm Tommy down. I'm the one who arranges and goes to IEP meetings. I'm the one that teachers call if there is a problem. I'm the one who worries what happens when Tommy finishes high school. I'm the one who will do anything to protect my son.



11. Tommy does watch groups of neurotypicals and remembers their mannerisms and sayings like Sam. Sam actually wrote down phrases that he heard. Tommy will say them to me. "What's good?" or, "What's up, homie?" but in a robotic tone, because it's not really HIS words, it's words he's heard from students around him.


12. Sam is obsessed with penguins. He'll randomly spout out facts about them, not realizing the people around him aren't interested. Tommy knows tons of info about weather and will go on about the different clouds, not understanding that others might not care to know about wall clouds.




I will note that some people with autism did not enjoy the show. They called it dehumanizing, and it's their opinion. My son has NOT seen the show yet. I personally liked it and as I mentioned, Sam reminds me of Tommy in a lot of ways. If you're curious, here's a preview of the show:




And good news! There WILL be a season two.


If you've seen Atypical, did you like it?






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