Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fall in Seattle

The unbelievably glorious summer days are over.

Fall has begun.

All these years in Tennessee – fall was my favorite season but the summers of the Pacific Northwest are spectacular and have almost replaced Fall as my favorite.

I and DH put out all our Fall decorations. 

There is something so settling about welcoming season.

The hybrid homeschool

This is the first summer that I am not desolate when its over (though I will miss the lovely blue skies).

The reason is that R is not going to regular school this fall.

 He goes to our neighborhood school for some speech therapy and social therapy but the rest of the week he has a combo of: 
  • ·       ABA based school
  • ·       Homeschool
  • ·       ST+ OT
  • ·       Community trips (more in this below)
  • ·       Social skills

He works about 40-50 hours a week (pretty hard I think).

But he has so much to learn and we keep it fun.

DH and I are trying to create a thread of steel through everything we are learning. 

So ABA and homeschool is about ecosystems- that is the kind of books we look at in the library.

Community trips

His Sunday Therapist’s job is an ABA therapist and her job is simply to take him to a field trip and write an essay on the field trip. 

This then is linked back to his regular school curriculum. 

For example, last  Saturday his teacher took him to the police station and the pet store

They are so nice to him at the police station

Since the station is empty – officer Rebeca lets him sit inside a squad car and even puts the lights on for him

The second trip is to the fish store -  they have  the fish neatly labeled as freshwater fish and salt water fish. 

There is nothing that R loves more than a well labeled system.

Evening Rituals  

R and I of course continue with our weekend routines of going to the park and having a picnic.

He is very jealous of our time here and does not allow me to talk to people.

He has many tricks to enable this. For instance if we are on the swing, he will quickly instruct me to count. If we are out and about he will run to a faraway picnic bench.

DH has been exiled from the park outing- owing to the fact that one day he came with us and then teased R by taking his baton and walking off with it.

 R does not understand teasing at all and so this family ritual is over

A pity as I used to love the time we had all three of us – me and DH with our tidbits of grapes and cheese and R with his bounty of junk food.

There is always something interesting to look at in the park.

I meet many foreigners in the park. I am very interested in what they do to strike up a conversation.

Indian people invariably ask – “do you live close by- which road”

This is a quick classification to figure out whether you live in a house(which means you have arrived) or in an Apartment( which means not yet)

The next question is where you work. 

For white people – these questions would be quite stalkerish but Indians always like to classify people and I am never offended.

Some of the women look lonely. 

The life of an immigrant can be very tough. Especially if you are not too close to your husband. 

As arranged marriage is quite common in India still and so you can get married to someone you barely know and move to a brand new country.

DH and I are super close and are able to go anywhere as we are our own ecosystem and never feel lonely as we always have each other to talk to

I chatted with one of the ladies yesterday (I see her every day and always thought she was aloof but turns out she is very eager to talk and is just shy)

She said that it was so grey every day that she just has to come out and not be stuck in the house.

She said apologetically that she was an engineer but now "just a homemaker".

I tear up a little at this (there is nothing to apologize for being a homemaker of course – but to feel that whatever you are doing is less than what you are supposed to is a sad feeling to have. I am very familiar with this feeling as I felt guilty for a long time after R’s diagnosis for being a working mom.)

One  days there is a silent Japanese lady fishing – R is enthralled at all the fish in her bucket.(though he is very la-di-da and uninterested in the fishing rod that DH has bought for him)

There are some couples who are so bundled up with barely their noses showing though its only 60 degrees.

We feed the ducks - who recognize us as people who feed them and are getting to be quite obnoxious in their demands for food and are oblivious to my go aways

Picture taken by R 

Letters writing rituals  

My father, sister and I have started an email chain.

We write to each other everyday.

Getting an email everyday is such a treat as I get to know the little bits and pieces that otherwise  no one thinks to share. 

For instance, this little snippet from my sister's life , my nephew – whose English is not so good is asked to make sentences and here is what he makes

l. Horror -This movie is horror
2. Chilly - This water is full of chilly and ice

I smile over these details all day and it makes me feel so close to my family though we meet for 10 days every other year.

Bed Time Rituals

R and I have started a routine of reading poems at bed time. I think he loves the rhythm in rhymes.

It also helps us have little conversations

The other day, we are reading about loneliness and I wondered if he knew the word. Here is what we discuss.

Me : R do you ever feel lonely
R : Yes
Me: What kind of feeling is it
R : Very sad
Me: What do you do when you feel lonely
R : We can go to Chloes house ( the recent vacation in Canada – where we all did nothing but eat and relax and play video games and chat )

An Autism Event

It seems that everywhere you turn in Seattle – there is someone with Autism. 

Microsofties – particularly seem to have a lot of autistic children ( they says Engineers have a higher chance of having kids with autism)

One of the charity events this year is a Zumba class.

Lo and behold – when I get to the event – the class is being taught by an autistic girl. 

She is obviously autistic ( in the middle) but teaches the class really well. She is also going to college and studying to be a radiologist.

I Zumba through my tears and the feeling comes over me  for the first time this year that I am exactly where I should be.

(For my heart is still in Knoxville – the sweet kind company I worked for, the slow pace of life- and I dream of it often. The dreams are so real- full color and I wake up with dismay in the emerald-grey present)

Gratitude Journal

A ritual that DH (reluctantly ) and I have started what I call the gratitude journal.

Every night before sleeping we write down 3 things we are grateful for that day.

It’s a very nice thing – we try to keep it at the small stuff – in the details as the whole point is to focus on the little joys that the day brought

Example one days good things were:

·       Playing with R  -  he pays attention now – Instead of simply lining up the trains by number we read the poem of Henry's ballad. He and I do a little play with the Little Einsteins people

·       Started watching Newsroom - its epic
·       Red grapes from Costco  - was starving  and found a bowl  of washed cut red grapes
·       Had 2 meetings  while walking

It’s a very nice way to end the day.

DH and I had got into a routine of discussing our to-do list and our worries at bedtime and this is a much better way to end the day.

Its not that things are easier.

All of us are sick – DH especially so with a really bad cold that has left him exhausted. 

Work is as stressful as ever. And R continues to need more than we can give and then some.

But it’s about a shift in focus to the little joys of life

Gratitude is a practice.

Happiness is a verb


robin said...

I think the email chain is a great idea. I may do that with a bff or two. I have bought a couple journals with the intent to have my kids write about their day on vacation (that we never took) so I think I'll make them gratitude journals (and do the same.) I just love your perspective on life and your family. As always. I still haven't decorated for fall...need do to that. I love R's personality and his love for you. :)

Unknown said...

Love the post. Have this blog now in my reader. Next time someone is lonely take R's remedy. Tell T to get well soon.

Bright Side of Life said...

Yet again, another really interesting post to read. I love getting a glimpse into your life and all it's swings and roundabouts. Oh the joys of the life we lead, hey? I am definitely going to follow your lead and start an email chain with my mum and my sisters. As you know, I also find reasons to be cheerful/grateful really uplifting, however, I need to remember to do this every day just like you and DH. Take care. xx

Shovona said...

Thanks for the small snippet about chain emails.
Loved your post and also the dialogues between you and R
Kisses and hugs

Shovona said...

Thanks for the small snippet about chain emails.
Loved your post and also the dialogues between you and R
Kisses and hugs

Christine said...

Your life in Seattle sounds magical! How wonderful to feel that you are exactly where you should be in life.

Looking for Blue Sky said...

Lots of news and so much wisdom and insight in this post - I'm totally with you on gratitude, and as you know I try and do a regular 'reasons to be cheerful' post whenever I can.

I also loved your insight about the women you meet: " to feel that whatever you are doing is less than what you are supposed to is a sad feeling to have" It is sad, and sadly it is also probably quite common xxxx

jazzygal said...

I enjoyed your post and insights too!
It's interesting that mothers, whatever their colour or nationality, feel the same about working in or outside the home. I love the gratitude journal idea, I did it for a while a few years ago. maybe I should start it up again!

xx Jazzy

Kris said...

It seems you meet so many interesting people! Love reading about your life and how R is doing. Those field trips are amazing. There is so much to be learned from just going out and visiting new places. I wish my family had more time for that.

Kim said...

"to feel that whatever you are doing is less than what you are supposed to is a sad feeling to have"

reading this line really struck me. How true.

A great feeling of joy opened up when I read that you felt you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Love that for you. It's not an easy place to get to when you uproot and move.

I can relate to the teasing that got your DH kicked out of the picnics in the park. My husband does the same and it backfires on him too. Also, my Roc wants me all to himself when we go out too--he does the same, wanting us to be far away from other people so I won't talk to anyone.

So glad to read an update from you!

Yuji said...

That must have been a heartwarming experience to take the Zumba class taught by a young woman with autism who is going to college. With so many others who have children with autism, do you feel more supported there?

Glad that your homeschooling is going well. I look forward to keeping up with R's progress.

Dealslelo said...

Good Post

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