Thursday, April 7, 2011

Memorable Moments with Alan & Wyatt

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11

While spending last week in Grandma and Papas' log cabin, the dear little mouths of my sons were certainly NOT on vacation! At least once a day, they said something that caused my parents to tightly cover their mouths; their shoulders shaking with laughter. My mother kept mumbling something about apples not falling far from the tree, whatever that meant! Here are just a few choice words uttered by my offspring ...

Community Center Conversations:
Alan: Mommy, when are we going to go to the pool?
Me: Alan, I told you NOT to ask that again, didn't I?
Alan: Oh yeah, I forgot. I am so sorry I won't ask you again!
*stated to no one in particular* Hmmmm ... I wonder what time it will be when we will be going to the pool ...

{While waiting in line at the community center}
Alan: I wonder if I'm old enough to get into the hot tub yet ...
Me: I think you need to be twelve, sweetie.
Wyatt: No, you need to be an old man! ONLY OLD MEN SIT IN THE HOT TUB HERE!"
Me: *looks for a bench to hide under*

Wyatt's Words:
"My feet are nauseous! Does anyone else have nauseous feet? Swimming in the pool always makes this happen to me ..."

"Mommy, I named the free (three) deers that came to see us; their names are Becky, Arnold and "Wiat"- like my name, but with no Y and only one T."

More Adventures with Alan:

{Alan the salesman, pitching mommy once again at the Anchor Avenue Thrift Store}
Alan: Mommy, you have to buy this meat grinder!
Me: Honey, I already have one. I don't need that one.
Alan: *pointing to the box* But mom, it's MADE IN THE USA!

Our week was filled with more unexpected comments than I could possibly remember! I could have recorded them all, but I would have missed out on living those moments. Sure, there were embarrassing and awkward moments, but those make for wonderful stories later! ;)

Now that we've bid farewell to the beach, our lives are returning to normal (or at least our version of it). As I chip away at the last of the laundry, my little men are easing back into the routine of school, chores (something nearly unheard of at "Grandma's House of Spoiling") and their Lenten sticker devotional. Studying the book of Exodus is an interesting subject in general, but the boys are especially enjoying it. Nothing captures a boy's attention like a plague! Rivers of blood, frogs, locusts, hail ... a plethora of disgusting details for my sons to ponder. Amidst the gruesome dialogue of boils and flies, I was pleased to see my kids dig deeper into the story.

Alan mentioned how Pharaoh allowed everyone to suffer, just so he could get his way. Wyatt was highly annoyed by his broken promises to Moses. They both agreed he was a very bad man who deserved to be punished. I was so thankful for the devotional guide, which chose not to focus solely on our need to be "rescued." While that is a very important part of the story, we also need to look at how we resemble the villain of Exodus. With a little help from my trusty guide, we talked about how we can make selfish choices that hurt ourselves, as well as others, and fail to keep our promises from time to time. The lesson seemed to sink in, in spite of the giddy excitement remaining from visions of sticks that turn into snakes and frog-covered floors.

Tonight, however, is when the story gets hard to explain to little ones. The final plague is coming. I've always skated over this part, because Alan sobbed when he saw this scene played out in the movie, "Prince of Egypt" a few years back. I know he's gotten older, but this story is hard for me, much less a nine-year-old. I don't know what Wyatt will think about it at all. One thing is clear, before I dive into the saddest day of the Egyptian empire, I had better spend some serious time with God first. Without His help, the balancing act of speaking the truth in an age-appropriate way is awfully daunting! My buddy Pris was right, older children are VERY good for your prayer life!

Looking back to my last Lenten Journey, I'm sure this "kid chapter" (and the blog in general) feels very different to you. I know it does to me! A year has brought quite a few changes to our household. Wyatt is in school all day, both boys are in Cub Scouts and both have homework! We still have plenty to laugh about in this house, but I'm already noticing that we have less time together. As the boys grow, they don't always let mama share as much, either. There have been many times this year when Alan has said adorable things, realized he'd said something unintentionally amusing and pleaded, "Mom, please don't put that on facebook!" He's caring about his hair, no longer takes attachment objects of any kind to sleep-overs and wants his own room for the first time in years. I was certain this would crush Wyatt. Instead, he responded with, "When can Awan move out so I can put what I want on my walls?

That being said, they still continue to teach me lessons on a regular basis. Yesterday, I was struck by the continuous bond they share, in spite of their quest for more privacy and individual expression.

Wyatt was crying at five in the morning, awakened by worries that he couldn't shake. As usual, the first person in the house who responded to his cries was good ol' "brudder." Since the day I brought Wyatt home, Alan has had very sensitive "sibling radar." Regardless of the hour, if Wyatt is crying, sick or needs help, Before my feet can touch the carpet, I hear the thud-thud-thud (we passed pitter-patter several sizes back!) of a running nine-year-old, usually coupled with shuffling, slightly smaller feet. Alan will pop his head in the doorway, give a brief synopsis of the situation at hand, and usually guide Wyatt to my side of the bed. Monday morning was no exception. I was awakened by muffled sobs and plodding feet. Unable to reach my glasses, I tried to focus on the Alan-shaped blur who appeared in my doorway. With a loud whisper, me reported, "Mom, Wyatt really needs you. He's very scared, I think he had a nightmare. I brought him in to snuggle you, so he will feel better." Having done his duty, the fuzzy blob with blond hair scurried back to bed.

While I had mentally prepared for a squirmy six-year-old with Popsicle toes to join us until the alarm went off, Wyatt was feeling rather brave. Equipped with reassuring cuddles, a short pep talk and a prayer, he announced that he was headed back to bed. Hand in hand, we returned to the room the boys still share (for the time being). As I tucked him in, Wyatt apologized for waking Alan up. Considering how often Wyatt wakes Alan up and how hard I have to insist on apologizing to his big brother, I was caught off guard by this unexpected act of empathy.

Being considerate of the thoughts, feelings, needs and preferences of others is a real struggle for children with Autism. When Wyatt is overwhelmed, bothering Alan (who is a VERY light sleeper) seems to be one of his favorite pastimes (hence Alan wanting his own room)! Wyatt also snores like his daddy and occasionally talks in his sleep. When slumber has been hindered by his little brother, I usually receive an elaborate report (including what time the interruptions took place) in the morning! Nightmares or illness, however, are a definite exception to that rule. Alan has never once complained about Wyatt waking him up because he needed comfort. The caring exchange that took place between my boys touched me deeply:

Wyatt: Awan, I'm sorry I waked you up when I was crying.
Alan: Aw, buddy, that's okay! You had a nightmare. You can always wake me up if you're scared, okay?

I know the separation to different rooms is just the beginning; someday they will live in different houses, perhaps even on different sides of the world. Just the same, I know they will always be there for one another.

Thank you, Father, for the awesome (albeit overwhelming at times) responsibility of teaching, training and loving my boys. Help me look past their love of belching and arguments over who has to shower first, that I might see the seeds of compassion, loyalty and affirmation growing in their hearts. Guide my words and actions, that I might nurture these gifts from you.

In Lenten Love and Friendship,

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