Monday, November 15, 2010

A Date with My Boy

I honestly thought she would cry but she didn’t.

No, instead she looked at me and said a quick goodbye. In fact, she seemed a little irritated that I wasn’t leaving.

“And you understand that I won’t be putting you to bed?” I questioned Natalie. I was dropping her off for her very first sleepover with my friend Amanda’s two girls.

“I know.” Was it my imagination or did Natalie roll her eyes at me.

“So if you get scared in the middle of the night, I’ll come get you,” I promised passionately. “No matter what the time.”

She wasn’t even listening. She rushed off to play with her friends.

Okay then.

I left soon after that and Natalie barely even noticed.

“Ready for our date?” I asked Tommy, who nodded enthusiastically. I was taking him out, just the two of us. I feel bad but sometimes a lot of my attention goes to Natalie because she’s the smallest and the loudest. Tommy never complains about it, just goes back to flipping through his weather books or creating something with his Legos.

We decided to go to Perkins. When the waitress came, I ordered what I wanted and started to order for Tommy. But then he cut in.

“I can order for myself. I’m going to be nine soon,” he said seriously.

I was taken aback. I suppose he was right, he is getting older, therefore he should order his own food. But I’ve just been doing it so long, it’s become a habit. I sat back and watched as he ordered his burger “with no cheese, because cheese makes me gag on burgers” and then followed it up with a “thank you so much.”

I felt a surge of pride towards my boy. He’s come so far. When he was little, we had so many struggles with him. He wouldn’t talk, he’d do this stimming thing where he’d walk back and forth, ignoring all the other kids his age, lost in his own world. And now look. Nearly nine and ordering for himself.

“So, what’s new with you?” I asked Tommy when the waitress left.

He shrugged. “I like division.”

Yes. He was able to move onto division in his math class since he finished all the multiplication that he needed to know.

“Um. What’s new with you?” Tommy continued, stilted. It’s hard for him to be social, seeing as he has Aspergers. But in school the counselor comes in and helps him with social situations. And one of the things she teaches him is to ask others questions.

“Well,” I began. “I’ve just been busy taking care of you guys. And also, and I know this is weird, but I was watching Gilmore Girls the other day, the very first season and I have to say that Lauren Graham looks exactly the same as she does now that she’s in that show Parenthood. It’s like she hasn’t aged. Is she some freak of nature or what? Or maybe she just has a fabulous plastic surgeon. Maybe it’s good genes. Who knows? Do you know what I mean?”

Tommy blinked at me. “I don’t.” Aspergers causes him to be blunt which is why I’m thinking it might be better if he dates a woman with Aspergers. If he dates a typical woman and she asks if she looks fat in something, I fear Tommy might give her the honest truth and when she hit him over the head with her purse he’d shriek, “I’m just being honest!”

“Never mind then. I was just being silly. I have silly thoughts in my head and—”

“I can’t wait till we get to Oklahoma and see all the tornados!” Tommy cut in. He noticed that he had interrupted me and sat back. “I’m sorry. You were talking. Go on.”

Again, I was floored.

“You have wonderful manners, I must say,” I said. I don’t always get to see them, because I’m dealing with his dramatic sister.

“Thank you,” Tommy said. “Now about those tornados…” And he proceeded to go on and on about them, using some words that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard before. We’re moving to Oklahoma during the summer and Tommy is thrilled about the prospect of tornados. I am not. But ask him anything about them, and he could probably tell you.

When our food came, we ate and made small talk. And then when that was done I suggested we get an ice cream sundae.

“I think I’m full,” Tommy said, rubbing his stomach.

“I have a secret,” I whispered and Tommy leaned forward. “There is always room for ice cream.”

He grinned as I ordered a sundae for us.

When it arrived, we dug in.

“I’m glad we’re on a date,” Tommy said. “My sister is kinda loud.”

I nodded. “That she is.”

“And sometimes she grosses me out.” Tommy made a face.

This is true. Natalie likes to chew her food and then open her mouth to show Tommy the contents inside of it. This seriously grosses Tommy out and makes him gag. Then he’ll screech, “She’s GROSSING me out!” and I’ll be like, “Knock it off, Natalie,” and she’ll chase after Tommy, mouth open, while he freaks out. It’s not fun.

“That isn’t very nice of her,” I said sympathetically. “You are a great big brother though.”

“Yeah,” Tommy agreed.

We left soon after that. When we got home, I kissed Tommy’s cheek outside the front door.

“Why did you do that?” Tommy asked.

“That’s usually what happens on the end of dates. Thank you for coming with me. So what lesson did you learn tonight?”

Tommy tapped his chin. “That Lauren Graham looks the same?”

I laughed. “No. That there is always room for ice cream.”

“Oh right. Yes. There is always room for ice cream.” Then Tommy tossed his arms around my waist and gave me a hug. “Thank you, Mommy.”

My heart melted. “You’re welcome, Tommy.”

And as for Natalie? She had a fantastic first sleepover. She didn’t cry once.

69 comments:

  1. It was beautiful, thank you for sharing your date!

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  2. They grow up so fast.

    Reminds me of Sheldon on Big Bang Theory. He's a bit socially awkward. Recently they introduces a female character who is also socially awkward to be his pair, even though they refuse to aknowledge they are boyfriend/girlfriend.

    They make a perfect match, so you might be on to something with your thinking.

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  3. Wonderful story! I take my sons out on dates as well; it's never too early to learn how to act properly on a date.

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  4. I want to meet and play with Tommy! I am an SLP and my Asperger's and children with Autism are my favorite kiddos! He seems to be doing fabulous with his social skills! I do love how literal he is! So sweet and you are such a fun mom!!

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  5. I love dates with my son. His sister is really loud, too. It's awesome to be able to have that time to connect one on one!

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  6. I wish my mom would learn you shouldn't interrupt people.

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  7. Tommy sounds like a pretty awesome kid. I don't get to do it often, but I love doing the one on one thing with my kids. You really get to remember just what it is that makes them so great (and almost forget what makes them so infuriating, heh).

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  8. Aww. This post made me so teary eyed!

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  9. Aww. This post made me so teary eyed!

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  10. I love it! Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun!

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  11. How sweet! You have a wonderful boy! Thanks for sharing! :-)

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  12. This was so sweet! I love that you made special time for Tommy. He is such a great kid! I got veklempt reading this!

    And, yeah, I agree with you on that Lauren Graham issue. How does she do that?

    Oh, and the ice cream thing, too!

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  13. Sounds like a great date to me! Glad y'all got some one on one time. And yes, there is ALWAYS room for ice cream.

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  14. Glad you two got to spend some time together. What a little gentleman!

    Thanks for sharing!

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  15. That was just so sweet. Sounds like you are raising quite the gentleman too! :)

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  16. What a sweet smart boy you have there!!

    I love taking my children out separately, it seems like I learn so much more about them when they don't have someone else stealing the show or causing drama:)

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  17. Aw sounds like you two had a wonderful date!

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  18. Aw, this was so sweet, I loved reading it :)

    If it makes you feel better, I noticed the same thing about Lauren Graham. It's insane.

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  19. special one on one time is always a great thing!

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  20. There's nothing like spending one on one time with each of your children. My two act completely different when they are not together.
    Glad you enjoyed your date!

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  21. Oh my gosh, that is so darling! What a sweet little boy!! :)

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  22. That is seriously awesome. His manners are better than any of my friends! They don't even notice when they interrupt people. And they have no excuse for it. ;)

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  23. This is adorable honey! Thanks for sharing with us. Don't forget to check out my Christmas giveaway if you haven't already!

    www.blondeepisodes.com

    Kori xoxo

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  24. So sweet!! I love dates with my little man. He's only 5, but I try to take him 2x a year for some alone time with Mommy. That time is so special :) Having girls is fun, but there's just something about my boy <3

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  25. I love that post. I need to take my boy on a date. As the oldest in the house, he tends to get individual attention last. :( Thanks for reminding me he needs me too.

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  26. what an absolutely perfect date! it's so great to hear that Tommy is doing so well =) and congrats to Natalie on her first sleepover!

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  27. Hi Don't normally comment but read your blog a lot. I love your post, and must say your son is so well behaved. I wonder if because of his Aspergers you will actually end up with a son more mature and polite in the social aspect than others his age because he is working on it so hard. Very few kids that age or older have I met that act even remotely like that :) You are doing a wonderful job! )

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  28. Lauren Graham has not changed.

    Tommy is a very lucky boy.

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  29. Tommy is the sweetest boy in the world. What a darling! He's just amazing and I'm glad you had a "date" so the two of you could be together without the lovely but demanding Natalie!

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  30. I'm planning a future date with my son because of this! Thanks for sharing!

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  31. aw!
    how sweet.. glad you guys got your own day together!!

    i agree with the whole lauren thing.. and if she IS doing plastic surgery.. she got a good doc-- cause she looks great!!

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  32. Awesome. That is so nice.
    I bet they both had a great time.

    I may be overdue for a date with my guys too!

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  33. Awwwww. This sounds like a fun and cute date!

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  34. This post just blows me away! It sounds like Tommy is doing FANTASTIC! I'm sure that's a huge relief to you.

    How awesome that he's looking forward to the move. For many kids on the spectrum, a move like that would be really awful.

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  35. awwww. you should drop her off more often. like every day. or other day.

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  36. Awww... How lucky for both of you to get to go on a date!
    My 5 yr old has Aspergers too and I think its HILARIOUS when hes literal. The bluntness can a little embarrassing sometimes though!

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  37. I always loved my dates with my daddy. One year for Halloween, I was Cinderella, and he put on his Sunday suit and went trick-or-treating with me with a name tag that said "Prince Charming." And sometimes, we ate Happy Meals in the backyard after preschool. Those are really special memories.

    I LOVE your Tommy posts, and I'm always impressed with how sweet and well adjusted he is. Ordering for himself and being OK with a move! I totally cried.

    I'm petrified that when we get ready to have kids, they'll be boys, and I won't know what to do with them because I have two sisters. But if we have a boy like Tommy, it doesn't seem as scary.

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  38. i love love love that you had a "date" with your son! soo sweet!

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  39. I love Tommy's frankness. It's actually a quality more of us need, rather than pussyfooting around saying that a friend's new dress looks fab when it makes her look like she's a bag of bulky shopping.

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  40. Aww!! I need a date with my boy now.

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  41. Glad he learned that there is always room for ice cream.
    And Oklahoma - is that the new station when the big guy returns? Back just in time for a move, or do you have to be there for him?

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  42. That was truly one of the sweetest "dates" ever. He is lucky that you took the time to do that with him. And I'm discovering I quite enjoy and or am amused by the frankness of those with Aspergers. He does seem to be doing very well.

    Now...on to other things.

    My husand is a cheese WHORE, except when it comes to burgers. He is completely grossed out by cheese on his burgers. Random i know, but I thought it was funny that Tommy is a hater of the cheese on his burgers as well.

    My Maggie had a sleepover with her cousin last month, and while she didn't cry, she was a real pain in their ass and refused to sleep. My sister told me Max was welcome any time, but Maggie is uninvited. hahaha

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  43. This was so sweet and I agree, Lauren Graham hasn't aged. Kind of like Keanu Reeves. Weeeeird.

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  44. This is such a sweet post! Tommy is o lucky to have you =)

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  45. I love this! I hope you and Tommy get lots of chances to go on more dates soon!

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  46. Cutest date story ever! Any girl that gets Tommy is a lucky one.

    And yes, Lauren Graham has not aged one bit. Got I hate her!

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  47. What a wonderful moment you had together!

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  48. I loved this post. LOVED it. What a great boy you have there, Amber.

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  49. What a sweet time with Tommy. I miss those days when my kids were small. Had to laugh at your daughter's (non)reaction to your concerns....just wait till she's a teenager and rejecting you in ernest. Oy! The pain in a mother's heart. ;)

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  50. Awwww.. too cute!

    You better start learning about tornadoes if you expect a second date with this little man.

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  51. It's great that you could arrange a special date with Tommy and give him some undivided attention. Also great that he's developing those social skills! Bless his heart.

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  52. I want you to go on more dates so that you can tell us about them!

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  53. Awww.... sounds like the perfect mommy/son date. I LOVE my mommy/son dates with my son too and I enjoyed hearing all about your date night with Tommy. Sounds like he is really growing up fast on you! LOL about Natalie - my daughter was the same way - social butterfly and wasn't the least bit concerned that I was leaving her overnight somewhere as long as she had a friend to play with! LOL

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  54. one of the reasons I adore my husband is he lets me know how he thinks I look honestly. Hes made me change before. haha. but he has good taste and he always lets me know when I look good, so the one or two times I try to squeeze into something I probably shouldn't be trying to fit into I dont mind that he lets me know I should wear something else that I'll actually look good in.

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  55. Love date night with the boy! My mom used to take one of them at a time for an over night so I could get a date with the other. Enjoy these moments my friend. He'll be a teenager someday and want nothing to do with you.

    And Lauren... I agree... freaky.

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  56. Tommy has amazing manners for ANY kid, let alone one with the challenges he faces! So you know what I learned tonight? (I already knew about the ice cream thing.) YOU are a great mom! Pat yourself on the back!

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  57. Not only is he polite, but your date is gorgeous and he listens! Everything he did was impressive but nothing topped remembering Lauren Graham's name at the end of the date. Except maybe the mommy hug. Wow, what an amazing night. Glad you had your polite Tommy there to make up for the blase see ya' from Natalie, but then again, I think both are indicative of your good "mom" skills. (I mean, she's confident and comfortable without you there, right?)

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  58. Aw, that sounds like the perfect date. Tommy is really a great kid, you've done a good job, Mum!

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  59. What a great date! Tommy really is such a well mannered little guy!

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  60. spending one on one time with them is so special and sweet, and i surely don't get to do it often enough. very nice!

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  61. What a special evening for you and your son!

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  62. This made me cry. He has come a long way!!! I'm so glad you got to experience this.

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  63. what a great date for you two!....even if he did stick ya with paying the bill!!!
    I know it will be a time Tommy will lok back on over the years.
    You hsve a very sweet boy indeed!

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  64. That is the sweetest thing I've ever read. He is a gem and it sounds like a wonderful date. Seems like something that should be repeated often. Oh, and I so agree: Lauren Graham looks exactly the same and there is always room for ice cream!!!

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  65. Ahhhhhh!! Natalie didn't cry, but this post made ME cry! How sweet! I love it....

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  66. Awwwww.... sweet. I get a date on Friday with Justin. Can't wait!

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