Winter has finally arrived here in our town. Much to Danny's delight, and my relief, we got some snow today, and it wasn't a moment too soon. Danny has been adamantly insisting that since it is now winter, it should snow. Now. There was no convincing him that, though winter temps have definitely hit, snow is not always a given. And the lack of snow has caused some sour moods here, ones that I was frankly, getting just a little tired of.
The interesting thing is Danny is somewhat fickle when it comes to snow. It seems that, as for many of us, the idea of snow is much more enticing and enjoyable than the actual reality. Dan has been detailing all the winter fun he will have once it finally snows; snowball fights, snow angels, snowmen were all part of his winter wonderland plans. There was even some talk of skiing, though I am not entirely sure he knows what skiing is.
So, imagine his delight this morning when I opened Danny's blinds and directed him to gaze at the fluffy white stuff just barely covering our grass. Danny could barely drag himself from his window; we had to force him to come to the kitchen for breakfast.
After church, the weather seemed to get colder. It was very blustery and frigid--definitely not weather I wanted to brave, so Bil agreed to take the kids outside. Between finding snowsuits and both boots for each kid, it took quite a while to get dressed for play. After about 20 minutes of dressing, and then waiting for Bil to get dressed, the kids finally ventured outside to fulfill their hearts' desire.
I put some water on the stove to simmer for hot chocolate and sat down to enjoy a meal in peace. I anticipated having some time to read in quiet, when I heard frantic knocking at the door.
The kids played outside for all of 6 minutes before coming in, soaking my floor with slushy ice, and littering the living room and all surrounding rooms with gloves, hats, scarves, sodden socks and boots.
This year, in an attempt to help the kids understand the concept of giving, rather than just receiving, we decided to take them Christmas shopping. Danny chose to accompany me and we headed to Wal-mart to purchase gifts for Charlotte, Tommy and Bil. I knew that teaching Danny about giving would be more challenging than for Charlotte. She seems to understand that when giving a gift, you give something that the person wants, not what you want.
Danny, on the other hand, struggles with this just a bit. He has only just recently realized that Legos would not be the ideal gift for Charlotte, though he's still baffled by that concept. When I told him that not everyone loves Legos, he pondered for a minute, and then replied, "No, mom. You're wrong. Everyone loves Legos!"
I knew it would be tricky keeping Danny focused on our mission. After all, Wal-mart is a sensory land mine even for those not on the spectrum, and Danny's attention span can at times be extremely limited.
We found our way to the toy section and I directed Danny to the play-doh/moon sand aisle. Though I was allowing Danny to choose the gift, I decided to give him some options, some ideas that I knew Charlotte would love. I pointed out several packages with cool play-doh tools and multi-packs of the stuff. But Danny was in a daze. Within seconds of arriving in the toy section, Danny had zeroed in on the Lego clocks and a Lego head organizer that was down the aisle.
No amount of re-direction or prompting could get Danny to look at the play-doh for more than a dozen seconds. As if pulled by an invisible force, he kept returning to the Yoda Lego clock, repeating, "Wow, look at this clock! I wish I had a Lego clock! Why can't I buy me a present?" I can't be sure, but at one point, I think I saw drool glistening on his chin.
After what seemed like hours of this, I
chose a gift myself and convinced Danny of its merits forced Danny to pick a gift.
I was sure Bil was bound to have an easier time with Charlotte the next day, but I was wrong. Though Charlotte was a bit more focused on the task at hand for a while, the allure of toys proved to be too great for her, as well.
First off, Charlotte was on a mission to find me the perfect gift. Well, at least her idea of the perfect gift.
She has recently developed a deep and abiding love for Pillow Pets. Much to her absolute delight, my mother gave her a lady bug Pillow Pet for her birthday a few weeks ago. Charlotte drags that cuddly pet with her everywhere and incessantly talks about how wonderful it is. She also asks any people within earshot if they would like their own pillow pet and which one is their favorite.
Well, I didn't think much of it at the time, but I told Charlotte I liked the panda pet the best. She has not forgotten, and discusses my love for the panda at all times. So, of course, while on her shopping excursion with dad, she insisted on buying me a panda Pillow Pet.
Thankfully, the last panda had been bought up, but Charlotte was heartbroken, sure that my Christmas hopes had been dashed.
Luckily, she got distracted by a Water art kit thingy that she just had to have, and I was soon forgotten. In fact, she also forgot all about getting a present for Danny, as she intoned, "I want the water art kit thingy! Please, please, please!"
We apparently have much work to do in teaching the concept of thinking of others when gift giving.
Before any of us ever went shopping, I spoke to the kids about keeping the gifts a secret. I knew this would probably prove to be very difficult for them, but we would hope for the best.
As it turns out, I am not entirely sure Danny remembers what present we actually bought for Charlotte, so fixated was he on the Lego head organizer and the Yoda clock. One way his lack of focus can be an advantage, I suppose.
Charlotte, on the other hand, was acutely aware of what she had chosen for Danny. Despite Bil's reminders to not tell anyone what they had bought, the very minute Charlotte entered the house, she exclaimed, "Danny, we bought you the Lego head!!!!"
Sensing my advantage, I probed her to get hints about my presents, but Bil had recovered (from laughter) and commanded Charlotte to keep quiet. The poor girl looked stricken as she glanced from one to the other of us, clearly conflicted about what she should do. She finally growled, "I'm not telling you!" and then beamed proudly at Bil.
The next day, however, she spilled the beans, with no prodding from me whatsoever. I have to say, it was a little anticlimactic. One of my favorite holiday pastimes is alternately trying to trick Bil into giving away a hint and wheedling and whining in an attempt to break him down. I knew Charlotte would prove a much easier opponent to break than Bil, but this was pathetic.
Thank goodness she possesses no knowledge of secrets of state or wartime strategies, or the U.S. would be sunk.