Tag - books

Ten Reasons The Library Rocks
Don’t Know Much, But I Do Know Some
Home on the Range
Painting Boy
She Reads (Again!)
She Reads!

Ten Reasons The Library Rocks

John took me on a library tour last weekend. Both of my boys love maps: Sam likes to draw them and John likes to scroll them. That is, he likes to pull them up on his iPad and peruse the roads in real-time or street-view. I first noticed something was up when I saw him magnify the iPad with one hand and use his finger to “walk” down the street, stopping and rotating the view to take everything in. The world is your oyster when you can visit real libraries virtually — even if they are in states far, far away.

But last weekend we were on the road, headed south with Sesame Street Live show tickets purchased last Fall, and from the backseat, John started to call, “Exit 21, Ware Public Library” and then: “Find the exit! New Bedford Public Library,” and later: “This library please,” which is how we found ourselves at three different book repositories in one day (four if you count the drive-by of the closed Spinney branch).

And one of these libraries, even though out of our geographic network, allowed us to open a library card anyways. We may be the first patrons ever who will return checked-out materials via the U.S. Postal Service ( 4 Sesame Street DVDs that we already own, by the way).

Ten Reasons The Library Is Its Own Reward:
1. Every single library adheres to a similar flow…
2. Children’s section with DVDs
3. Children’s section with CDs
4. Children’s section with interesting computer games (with bonus points for Sesame Street-installed)
5. Large smorgasbord of titles to check out and Mom never says No, no DVDs today
6. Large open spaces in which to run
7. Large open spaces in which Mom always says, “Please walk, don’t run”
8. Large open spaces in which Mom always says, “Shh… inside voices”
9. “First grocery shopping, THEN library” and “First post office, THEN library” and “First doctor visit THEN library” and so we do AND we get stuff done
10. The library is less expensive than the book store. Or Target. Or any of the million places where a DVD display sits. Which is most places, you’d be surprised. (Or not — maybe you know exactly what I mean.) 🙂

Don’t Know Much, But I Do Know Some

Here we sit, you and I, across from a table at the bookstore. I am struck at how quiet and peaceful we both are. I peek over my newspaper and see you engrossed in your new book, “Don’t Know Much About the Presidents” (funny, since clearly you do). “Hey Mom, John Tyler had a lot of children,” you say. “Did you know that? FIFTEEN children! The most of ANY president EVER! Isn’t that amazing?”

I agree that’s pretty phenomenal, not to mention excessive. “What’s excessive?” you ask and I tell you it means an awful lot, a real lot, like he had his own basketball team of kids. You like that and laugh.

Then later, in the car, “Mommy, will you and Dad ever be together again?” I take a breath because it’s time and you are smart and you deserve more than half-truths. No, I say, your dad and I will never be together again. Your eyes fill and you bite your lip. In a flash I see a glimpse of the young man you’ll become — sensitive and strong and so much your own person. I pull the car over and climb in the back seat with you. I tell you it’s okay to cry and you do, holding me tight. I do too because I was you, six not seven, and I know how much this hurts, will always hurt. If I could make this hurt go away, if I could I would, but I can’t I can’t and it’s not fair, so not fair.

You look up at me and say, “But I know there’s something I know. The love. There’s a lot of love. You love me and Daddy loves me.” And I rumple your hair and tell you Absolutely. No question. Yes, always. And then you’re done and you ask if we can get to the library already.

We need more books on presidents, you see.

Home on the Range

We are again driving to the library. This time the subject is Extreme Weather. An earthquake, Irene, lots of reasons for Sam to shift his focus to hurricanes. It’s not just Sam who would live at the library if he could — John has been asking to go for days. Lately his selections lean to Wiggles and Raffi music. The truth is what he really wants are the clear CD cases and as soon as we get them home, he will remove the music, the liner notes and line them up next to ones he already has. He will also peel off the library date stickers and I will use a lot of tape trying to fix them before they are returned.

But sometimes, like today, he hands me a CD of Sesame Street songs and says, “Play music?”

So here we are on our way to the library. John is content because Elmo is singing us there. Sam is happy because he’s brought along his Weather Encyclopedia (again to get additional books about the weather because there are never enough).

“Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day…”

Elmo and Sam sing along. Suddenly Sam stops and says “Why do they say the deer and the antelope play?”

I say they are animal friends and they’re playing. You know, with the buffalo.

“But they have different habitats,” he says.

“Um, really?” Do they? I have no idea.

“Yes, Mom. The deer live in the temperate forest and the antelope live on the tropical savannah. They have to arrange them to play. Like a play date.”

I’m dumbfounded. Do you know he’s right?

Painting Boy

Let me tell you a beautiful story about one of my boys.

I’ve often said that I’m certain John is reading. He knows his colors, he knows his animals, he knows the alphabet. How much is memorization, how much is actual reading? With a twin who started reading at two, aren’t the odds in his favor?

When the phone rang last week, the school’s phone number flashing on the caller id, I sighed. Is he sick? Did he fall? What did I forget to pack today? Instead John’s teacher’s voice was breathless. “I had to call,” she said, “I am too excited.”

You know how sometimes if you’re really still, you swear you can hear your heart beat in your chest but then realize you’ve stopped breathing?

“I know we’ve talked about whether John can read or not — he does know a lot of sight words,” she said, pausing. “I just gave him a book that he had never seen before and I said ‘Read book?’ Kal, he read that whole book to me.”

Oh. My. Boy. I am both shocked and nonplussed. I knew it all along, I think. Lately, though, he is fascinated with books in a new way. I catch him flipping pages and muttering words. He sometimes prefers books to his itouch. He even prefers them to lining up blocks on the counter these days. Wow, he is growing up, I think.

He favors books from the Baby Einstein library: My Favorite Colors, Numbers, Poetry. He was enthralled with Baby Van Gogh and that has translated to being enthralled with the real Van Gogh — an obsession going on two years. He has carried around pictures of Starry Starry Night for some time, but now he wants to read books about him and now studies his less famous works: Sunflowers, Boats on the Beach, Irises. He asks me to draw them on index cards then demands tape to hang them on the wall. He jumps in front of them, happy.

She Reads (Again!)

I have just finished reading “Autism Heroes” by Barbara Firestone. It’s really a lovely book that profiles 38 different families living with autism. How I wish this book was available when we first started this journey. The stories are full of hope and encouragement, honesty and love. It’s large — almost a coffee table book — but full of beautiful black and white photos and pretty lengthy stories. The children profiled are of all ages, their families from all walks of life.

I loved it.

I loved all the different voices of moms and dads as they tell of first getting that diagnosis and what their road has looked like since. I loved each bit of advice offered to other parents. It made me feel less alone and I was sad when I finished it.

I met the author at a book signing a few weeks ago. Barbara Firestone is the founder of The Help Group, which runs six specialized day schools in southern California for children with autism. All the royalties from the book are being donated to The Help Group to support its efforts on behalf of children with autism spectrum disorders and their families.

You can’t beat that.

She Reads!

It only took three+ months, but I’ve actually finished a book. “The Elephant in the Playroom” was perfect for me: a collection of very short essays written by moms and dads parenting kids with special needs. If you’re feeling alone in your everyday world — not in Blog Land, because there’s great company here — then I highly recommend it. It’s the type of book I looked for when we first started down this path.

Maybe unlike me, you’ll get this book and place it on top of the hopeless pile of unread fluff magazines on your nightstand and reach for it instead. I know when I finally retrieved it from underneath an old People Magazine I was hooked.

Copyright © 2006-2016 Autism Twins. All content protected.