When we first bought our house, I was super excited to have a relatively maintenance-free front yard; or at least I thought it was going to be maintenance-free.
It was all fun and games until my plants’ flowers started to wilt, die, and make a mess everywhere – oh, and the noxious weeds decided to take over the rocked areas. Oh the joys of being a home-owner, right?
Lucky for me, Apollo and Athena love to be outside, and we live on a quiet street, so in addition to teaching the kids about safety (near a street), I’m able to pull weeds and clean up fallen debris here and there throughout the week.
Picking up the ‘crunchy-looking’ flowers:
For those that don’t know, our 4 year old son, Apollo, has ASD/ADHD/Apraxia, and Sensory Processing Disorder; as it pertains to this post specifically, he is very sensitive to sounds, textures, smells, etc., and also has difficulty transitioning between activities and people.
Before Apollo helps with yard work, or any task/activity it is imperative that I prepare him not only for the transition to a new activity, but for what he can expect during said activity; failure to prepare him, increases the chances of a meltdown. While preparation for transitions takes a lot of organization on my part, it is usually the difference between a positive or negative experience.
In this situation, when we first went outside, I picked up a crunchy, dead flower and showed Apollo a visual example of what we would be picking up. I described to him what the flower looked like, felt like, and even moved the flower between my fingers so he could hear the crunching sound they make. After that, I asked him if he wanted to try holding one of the dead flowers himself; he gladly accepted. I wish I could have captured the pure joy that came across his face as he crunched the flowers in his hands – as if it were the coolest thing he’s ever experienced. I then asked him if he wanted to help me pick up flowers that only look/feel/sound like the flower I showed him, and he gladly accepted the task.
Apollo is pretty particular when it comes to helping out or cleaning up; he’s very organized when it comes to his things or activities. Without telling him where to put the dead flowers (because I had a mom fail, and forgot to tell him where to put the flowers once they were picked up), he gathered up all the dead flowers and placed them in a nice and neat pile on the pathway; as shown in the picture below. The significance of this example is Apollo doesn’t like uncertainty, and typically needs prompting before, during, and at the end of all tasks, but in this case he completed the task without any direction at the end. In a typical situation, the lack of prompting would have triggered a meltdown, but in this particular situation no meltdown was triggered. In fact, after he had completed his task, he looked at me, smiled and said “there, all finished”; he looked so proud of his accomplishment, and I was sure to let him know how proud I am.
Unlike her brother, Athena tends to be very messy. In this particular situation, Athena started off by throwing the dead flowers around the pathway like confetti; making quite the mess. However, once she saw her brother’s nice and neat pile of dead flowers, she stopped; without anyone asking her to, she went and picked up the mess she had made and put her flowers in a neat pile near her brothers. The word near in the previous sentence is important, because Apollo doesn’t like when people touch his things without permission; Athena knows this about her brother and put her flower pile near her brothers, but did not mix their piles.
So much amazingness (yes, I said amazingness) happened this morning. So much positive praise, and progress in such a short amount of time. Moments, like these are so neat for me to observe and share. There are days when Apollo really struggles, and then there are days like these where he is a great role model for his sister and proves to everyone how far he has come. Days like these make me even more proud to be his Momma (than I already am), and give me so much hope for our future.
Thank you for joining me, and sharing in our progress!