Halloween 2013

Tristan dressed up as Ferb from the TV show “Phineas and Ferb” for Halloween. He also dressed as a dragon against his will on a prior day.

Tristan has been very interested in pumpkins, so he got to gut and carve three with his dad – Phineas, Ferb, and Perry. I didn’t get to watch the process as I was tasked with removing Tristan’s sister (a rather busy and explorety one) from the premises. They’re pretty damn good for the efforts of a 5 year old and a dad who doesn’t fancy himself to be artsy.

We attended the annual trick or treat in downtown Campbell with Tristan dressed in last year’s dragon costume; Ferb clothing had not yet arrived. We went to this event last year with Tristan’s friends Mateo and Evianna. This year we didn’t run into them there, but we did go with quite a crowd. We went with three families with kids in Tristan’s present or former class. His friends Kingston, Nicholas, and Alex and siblings Marcus and Lauren were our other companions. The party covered one side of the main drag and about half of the other side before it got way too busy and our kids (and selves) had had quite enough.

We did not go to Tristan’s school event because it was held at the same time as the Campbell trick or treating, and we wanted to spend that time with his friends (and mine!).

Tristan’s Ferb costume arrived yesterday and he was very excited about it. It’s a little bit of a tricky costume. The pants and shirt are a distinctive color and style; they are fairly easy to ghetto-rig by using loose fitting clothing. However, I didn’t get to choose sizes I would have liked or find accessories to make it more believable.  Also, the green hair spray we got from Cheap Shit R Us or wherever I picked it up from was kind of weak. Not to mention the fact that Tristan is fairly particular about how his hair feels, so he didn’t want the distinctive spikes that make Ferb look like Ferb. He ended up with a couple of ponytails in dull green hair. But he really enjoyed having green hair.

This morning, Tristan’s school had a Halloween parade, which was a fairly bullshit event where the kids got to be walked around in a giant square while we parents all held iPhones or similar up to try to take pictures. It was fun to see Tristan and his class walk around, and it was a lot of fun to sit through the class circle time and watch all of our kids be, well, themselves – but in this structured setting.

This evening we went trick or treating in the local neighborhood. For this I dressed as Perry the Platypus. The entire family went, with James pedaling the cargo trike with a half-costumed Kirianna inside and Tristan dragging me as fast as I would go from house to house. He made a strong breakthrough this year with regard to Halloween (and holidays in general). He was very interested  in the trick or treating ritual; he figuratively exploded with excitement and was quite the impatient little punkass while the rest of us got ready. The process of door to door was a lot of fun – Tristan ran eagerly, knocked patiently (as patiently as a Tristan can get), waited, said an assortment of things ranging from appropriate to silly, said thanks spontaneously a lot, and enjoyed the hell out of the process. He participated in a catch the water in a cup game and did just as well as an older kid next to him. We covered about two blocks – probably a mile worth of road. Tristan got loads of candy and the process actually went very fast and painlessly!

And he’s about to go to sleep dressed as Ferb. Win.

He loves me

Tristan spontaneously said “I love you” to me today. First time, as far as I know. Well, at least as I can understand; he says a lot under the general threshold of understanding. But it was out of nowhere and very clear while we were walking from the car to the school. I told him “I love you, too!” and life proceeded as usual. But, whoa, cool. Not because he’s that bad with saying what he wants to, but because we aren’t a very verbally affectionate family – we don’t say “I love you” on a regular basis to anyone.

Nothing’s getting settled

We opted not to send Tristan on the bus after the meeting about the bus. Over the weekend following the meeting and every freaking day since, he has been extremely clingy and in need of a lot more attention. Not sure what is going through his mind; this is one of the detriments his age and autism have with regard to trying to improve shit for him. That being said, we’ve had several versions of the Town Cold and that’s probably causing some of his more clingy behavior.

Or it’s the Oedipus Complex shit starting at the ripe age of 5. Though I doubt it. I think he just wants attention and is ok if that attention comes from dad instead. Come to think of it, Tris has been much more attached to his dad as well. This evening Tristan called me “pretty mommy” (absolutely NO clue where that came from).

We went to a beach in Capitola today. The currents were kind of wild and Tristan got very wet very fast. So did I, for that matter. His dad had to hang out with Kirianna in the sand (just as well because he doesn’t much like the beach) and pretend they were at a park. Tristan will probably be interested in surfing some day. We had it on our agenda today because Tristan asked about the beach several days ago out of nowhere.

With regard to school, the actual classroom seems to be going well enough. Tristan has had some behavioral issues even off the bus, including using his teeth for things that are not food (or a chewy). But he is mostly doing well. The school sends home both worksheets that explain how to write your name (for REAL?) and scratch paper covered with Tristan’s occasionally cryptic but otherwise intricate scrawlings.

Tristan has had a real problem with his wake-up routine in the morning. He will either lie in his bed, kick the walls, and scream OR he will open his door and poke his head out of his room. Both options usually involve him being noisy, and it’s kind of irritating that at age 5, he still can’t handle the concept of going to the toilet without being prompted when he wakes up. We are having a minor victory in him going to the toilet during the day without being prompted, so yay. But for the waking up, I wrote him an illustrated agenda that step by step outlined what I expected (wake up, climb out of bed, go pee, wash hands, get dressed, find me). And we are at the point where he will wake up in some noisy fashion but can be reminded to go find his agenda and follow it, and then it will go smoothly.

Tristan has become very attached to the iPad game “Where’s My Water.” It is a large source of bonding with his dad. I refuse to learn how to play it (I play my own video games, thank you!) so that they have that exclusivity.

A kindergartner

We’re back!

Tristan started kindergarten on August 19th. The little guy was a week shy of his 5th birthday, even.

I’m not sure how well it’s going, though. See, we’ve already got some crap.

Tristan was asked not to return to the bus until we had a Meeting with the Powers That Be about his behavior. Said meeting is this afternoon in about 6 hours. Apparently, Tristan, who resumed bus transportation for kindergarten, has completely forgotten how to behave on a bus; there’s been mention of a bite, standing up, laying down, throwing books and weighted vests. I do not know if he tossed a book gently at a seat or lobbed it into some kid’s face. I do not know if he was bouncing in his seat or standing atop it. I do not know if he kissed someone or bit with all his might. All I have is this second-hand information.

So, under the theory that Behavior is Communication, I can surmise several reasons why Tristan might be acting like a little shit on the bus.

* Boredom – it’s a long ride, about an hour.

* Asociality – if he’s around more people than he’d like to be, such as being assigned a seat with a partner when he’d prefer to be alone, he is likely to strike out because he can’t really get his wish that people leave.

* Fatigue – the morning ride is at 7am (which means Tristan had to get up at the butt crack of dawn) and the afternoon ride is after a full day of kindergarten.

* Attempt to connect – if he perceives that he is being teased, even if the person is completely serious, he will behave as if he is being teased. Thankfully, he takes being teased in a very fun way (which is to tease back and appreciate the attention), but when someone’s trying to get him to sit the fuck down in earnest and Tris responds by dancing on a seat, he’s not going to make friends.

* Lack of a restraint – this is probably the biggest one, in my opinion. Tristan is very aware and compliant with restraint usage while in vehicles. He bends over at the waist in his (new! green!) booster seat in the car, but I let that slide mostly out of a lack of desire to monitor behavior while monitoring the road if things generally ok. But he does not want to be in a moving vehicle without a seat belt – this includes shopping carts and strollers. He will melt down if he just can’t get the seat belt to work; letting him know he’s working on a broken one only kind of gets through to him. So in our meeting today, we may agree to have Tristan restrained on the bus, but this is for HIS comfort if we do it.

Who knows, though – we may choose to forgo the bus. It’s fine for us to bring him in. Just less convenient.

Other than that, we had a big birthday party for birthday #5 with a Phineas and Ferb theme. Tristan LOVES those guys and was so thrilled to have the decorations, cake, and general theme.

We had Tristan in a summer camp program directly prior to the start of the school year. He liked it a lot and had a hard time transitioning back to the regular school afterward (although both were autism and/or general special needs programs).

And there’s plenty more to expand upon but perhaps in another post.