Friday, April 15, 2011

Jakey Vitamins

The thing is, if every life is full of ups and downs, life with special needs children is just... more so.

In every way.

There are so many aspects to it that drag me down, made me cry, bring me to my knees. So it's important to look for, focus on, and magnify the moments of light and buoyancy; the little things that lift me up, keep me afloat, allow me to just get on with it. Because I would rather laugh than cry, any day.

This morning I had one of those lightening moments. Not a big laugh-out-loud funny, more on the order of a tiny rise of the corners of my mouth and heart. But all those tiny bubbles? Aren't they what make champagne so delightful?

As I was rushing encouraging Jake through his usual get-ready-for-school routine this morning, I was reminded that my eight year-old son, my Jacob? He has a mob name.

He's Jakey Vitamins, and don't mess with him.

This came about because of the unique configuration of our small apartment: we don't have a dining room and we don't have an eat-in kitchen. The dining table is in a corner of our living room, the corner farthest away from the kitchen, which is typical NYC: a long, narrow galley.

Jacob is a "mid-high functioning" kid on the autism spectrum. What that translates into is that he is capable of being independent in his morning routine. Sort of.

Meaning: with LOTS of coaching and reminders he can do most things for himself. With LOTS of coaching, reminders and nudging to stay focused, that is. And a quick mom-check that his underwear is not on backwards. Again.

Also, in the mornings, time is of the essence. Jake gets up at 6:00, his bus comes at 6:45. No lollygagging allowed. With the kitchen and the dining table so distant, and with Jake & Ethan's lunches to be packed and Ethan's breakfast to be made while Jake is eating his breakfast, the coaching inevitably needs to happen somewhat long distance.

Translation: Me, yelling from the kitchen towards the living room: "Jakey, Pants!" "Jake - TWO shoes!" "Jacob! EAT!"  This short form is based on the theory that reminders should be kept simple: name plus one word - verb or noun - that best jogs the memory and focuses the brain.

One particular morning my husband was actually up early and at the computer in the alcove off the kitchen (aka his office) while this was going on. After about my third bellow of "Jakey! Vitamins!" he chimed in: "You know honey, I think that's his mob name."

Me (distracted by toaster oven and microwave timers going off simultaneously): "What?!?!?"

Husband: "When you said just now, I thought -- Hey that sounds like a typical mob nickname, like 'Tony Bagels' or 'Vinny Carwash.'  'Jakey Vitamins' -- it's got as nice ring to it, don't you think?"

And thus Jakey Vitamins, my son's mobbed-up alter ego was born. 

And so now when I call that out to him - "Jakey! Vitamins!" - (many, many, many times each morning) I play this back in my mind and makes me smile; helps me to not be so annoyed.

Jakey Vitamins. Don't mess with him. Or he and his gang -- Blue Bear, Curious George and SpongeBob SquarePants -- will have to come show you who's boss (of the big hugs).


Also, if you have another 3 minutes? (And even if you don't, you should *make* 3 minutes free for this.)  Click on over to Stark Raving, Mad, Mommy, and read today's post:  Top Ten Things You Should (and Shouldn't) Say to The Parent of an Autistic Child.

She hits the nail on the head in that perfect combination of laughter and "Ouch!"

Also? I'm now linking up this post to Maxabella's

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