Hello old friends! I has been years since this site was active, or even public. I have recently begun blogging at a new site
I would love for you to come visit me!
This summer my family had the pleasure of visiting the Crossville Model Railroad Club in Crossville, TN.
We were traveling to Nashville and had heard about this incredible train display that was en route and KNEW we had to see it since there are TWO little train fanatics in our house (3 and 4.5 at the time). It is in an outlet mall and is a whole storefront FULL of different size model train layouts. Only problem was that we would be driving through on a THURSDAY afternoon, a time when they are usually not open. I contacted a club member via e-mail about a week ahead of time and inquired about setting up a private train viewing. His response was very kind, and he said normally they do not do private viewings for anyone but groups. He continued on to say that they usually have some folks working on the displays almost every day, and if we wanted to stop by in the hopes that we caught someone there they would be more than glad to show us around.
*SIGH*. After a LOT of careful thinking about what to say, here was my response:
Thank you for writing me back! Is there any possible way that, without inconveniencing anyone, I can be sure that someone will be there that day? I have 2 sons with special needs and I would hate to set them up for disappointment. The reason we want to come see your exhibit is that a family member of mine who was there recently was VERY impressed and knew that my boys would be enthralled. For some reason children on the autism spectrum are overly fascinated by trains… especially Thomas. Our house is full of toy trains. I think it has to do in part with the rhythmic motion of the wheels. It would mean SO much to them to see it, but I can’t change our travel plans to come there unless I know we can enter the exhibit. Travel with small children is hard enough, even more so with special needs. If it doesn’t work out I understand, but I thought I would check into the possibility. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for your time-
Well, without hesitation he responded that if I called him when I was about an hour away he would meet me there personally & show us around.
When we got there my 2 boys acted like they were walking into Disneyland (cue heavenly music)…
Especially when they saw THIS…
And Percy! And James! And Harold!!!
The 2 children wearing the train shirts are mine. We edited out their faces for security, so unfortunately you miss out on seeing the look of utter & complete JOY on their little faces. Believe me when I say they were THRILLED. Every time a train rolled by they squealed, “HI, PERCY!”, or, “HI, JAMES!”, or, “HI, THOMAS!!!” They stood at the Thomas table alone for more than 10 minutes~ a LOOONG time for kids with short attention spans.
Turns out our e-mail friend had filled some of the other club members in on our family’s situation. There were several other individuals there when we arrived and they were ALL incredibly welcoming & kind & friendly & went out of their way to help us enjoy the exhibit and to make us feel comfortable. I think they were also excited to have such passionate little train enthusiasts to appreciate their displays. I was so incredibly overwhelmed by the effort they put into talking with us & showing us around. Come to think of it, they are probably that way with everyone who walks in the door, but it still made me feel special. Especially when the female member of the club asked me, “I don’t know a lot about Autism. Could you please help explain it to me?” I could have hugged her. For her to take the time to ask and try & become more educated showed a level of compassion that was deeply moving. I LOVE it when people are so open and caring and say, “I don’t understand~ can you teach me?” The alternative is far worse- those who are made uncomfortable by that which they don’t understand so they say NOTHING & walk away. (See “Silence is not always golden”)
My children spent a very long time exploring each and every detail of this glorious train land. They were VERY sad to leave, especially since there was also a Thomas Wooden Railway train table to play with. I think they could have stayed there forever. A FABULOUS time was had by all.
Thank you, THANK YOU, Crossville Model Railway Club, for giving my children such a treat… and for giving their Mom & Dad a special gift with your compassion and generosity. There are good people in this world. Just go to Crossville.
Check out their website! Their hours are Fridays 12-4, Saturdays 10-5, and on Sundays from noon-3pm~ OR by appointment, if you say “pretty please”. They’re awesome like that.
#5: Your husband refers to June on Little Einsteins as “the hot one”… and you know exactly who he is talking about.
#4: Even after 7 years you still haven’t forgiven Steve for leaving Blue’s Clues, and you refer to his replacement, Joe, as “Cousin Oliver”.
#3: You come downstairs in the morning to find your husband watching The Wiggles… and your children are still in bed
#2: You have spent way too many minutes of your life worrying about whether or not Bob the Builder & Wendy are EVER going to finally get together
And finally, the #1 sign that your family watches too much children’s television:
Your 4-yr-old wants to be Thomas the Tank Engine for Halloween. Guess what he was last year? Thomas. Guess what he was the year before that? Thomas. And if Big Brother is dressed as Thomas, guess what Little Brother will have to be? That’s right, THOMAS. Not Percy, not James, Thomas. TWO tiny Thomas the Tank Engines, THREE years in a row.
(original list by My Platypus Life)
Last week was the 1-year anniversary of my youngest son Percy’s diagnosis of Autism. This year I spent that evening in a room at my church with six amazing women, leading a training session for volunteers who want to help with the children in our special needs support group. What a positive way to spend the day!
Last year it was not such a positive day. I was looking back through the archives of my blog and remembering all the complicated emotions I felt back then- STILL feel. We have had a lot of highs AND lows since then, but I am happy to report that Percy has made some wonderful progress. His speech, especially the past month, has exploded. A year ago he mostly only said “ball”. Now he is talking in increasingly complex sentences! One of his new phrases is “I Love you”, unprompted. Oh it just killed us (in a good way) the first time he hugged his Daddy & me & told us that. What an INCREDIBLE feeling. He has also started to like to cuddle (when we can get him to hold still). THANK YOU, God. It used to break my heart when he wouldn’t let me rock him. But he has now started to realize that it feels nice… although if he had a choice he would rather cuddle DADDY. That deserves its own paragraph.
I am a stay-at-home mom & some days I find being around two emotionally-charged (we call it “not boring”) children utterly exhausting. I am pretty sensitive myself. Sometimes at the end of the day when Mapman gets home I am DONE, and he takes over. He is Mr. Mom a lot of nights, and even takes care of bathtime more often that not (I LOVE that man). I think Percy may have started to think that I am the babysitter and Mapman is the Mommy. He now prefers his Dad. If Daddy is around and I go to push Percy’s stroller he cries, “No, no! That’s Daddy’s!”, or if I try to unbuckle him from the car seat, it’s “No, Daddy can try it!” Funny use of words, but painful. I sometimes wonder what it is I have done to cause this. Maybe it’s because I spend a lot of my day trying to keep up with the mess the kids make in the house. I do play with my kids, but admit I probably don’t do it as much as I should (show of hands, anyone else feel this way?). Another part of it, I am sure, is that because of Percy’s Autism he prefers routine. We joke that he has “imprinted” on his Dad. I don’t always feel like laughing, though. I want to be FIRST, I want him to want Mommy most, but sometimes I am just too tired to BE Mommy. I HATE this. Actually, that is an understatement. Few things in life cause me as much pain and guilt as this.
Okay, enough. Back to the positive. Percy is 3 and almost 4 months and is finally almost done potty-training. ALMOST. We can’t get him to even TRY to poop on the potty, he asks for a diaper when he feels the urge. Any advice on how to help that along? He REFUSES to sit down & even try. Also, sometimes I have a hard time getting him to wear underwear because that is change, and in the world of Autism change is BAD. Some days it really upsets him. All he has ever known is a diaper. When I DO get him to wear underwear he doesn’t like it if the front is plain & the characters are only on the rear, so he wants to wear them backwards, saying ”NO! Goes right DERE!” Whatever, not a big deal, looks pretty cute, actually. Doesn’t change the fact that I am SO proud of my big boy. I know that potty training can be REALLY difficult for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. (more…)
Want to drive your Germophobic/Borderline Obsessive-Compulsive wife over the edge?
Follow these 5 Simple Steps and you won’t be disappointed~
Step 1: Fill the kitchen trash can beyond capacity so that there is no way possible to get the lid off without spilling garbage onto the floor.
Step 2: Place a used coffee filter, full of used grounds, teetering precariously on the very top of said pile of garbage. This will ensure that it will eventually fall to the floor~ creating a HUGE mess and spreading the germs that it absorbed from the garbage.
Step 3: Walk through the forbidden zone of germs and mess before your wife has had adequate time to complete her cleaning and decontamination rituals.
Step 4: Proceed to walk all over your ENTIRE house, leaving a invisible trail of germs in your wake.
Step 5: Wear shoes while you conduct this walk of shame, in clear violation of the~ “We don’t wear shoes in the house because heaven knows where those shoes have been” Rule. That way you are not only spreading garbage germs, you are also spreading deadly shoe sole mystery germs.
Enjoy the show!