Thursday, December 07, 2006

Later That Night..

The last few Halloweens back home have been very chaotic. A lot of panicked rush, a lot of screaming and crying, a lot of Matilda barking and a lot of whining from Jake who wants to eat all of his candy on the spot. This year was no different. BUT this year we had a new awareness, at least on the part of Owen, for the whole idea of trick-or-treating. Owen shone that night. I may sound melodramatic (when don't I?), but I have never felt so proud of Owen before. Something happened that night that gave me a real glimpse of who he is.

We are learning that Owen is a learner who needs clear boundaries, well-defined structure and he needs to understand the rules of the game in order to succeed. When he has those things covered, he is nearly always successful. He is very particular, very methodical and precise and you can see that he takes great pride in himself. But you won't usually see him attempt a task on his own, without someone providing him with these steps. Will, on the other hand, usually dives right in with little care of whether he pulls it off or not. But he'll try everything. On his own or with help. He very rarely cries when he's doing his work, but when he does, it's nearly always obvious whether or not it's a compliance issue (he doesn't want to do something) or if he feels helpless/frustrated/defeated because he doesn't understand the task. It really is pitiful to see him when he feels this way. If his support aide requests him to "do this" and he's overwhelmed with the steps involved and doesn't understand how to proceed, big fat tears roll down his face and you'd swear the look on his face is saying "please help me understand because I know I won't be able to do what you are asking". I just imagine putting myself in his autistic mind and I feel how frightening it must be to not know how to do what people expect of you.

Cowboy Owen looks so excited as he waits to go trick-or-treating
So our night started off pretty rushed. The twins don't finish their program until 4:30 and on Halloween night, I think it got dark by 5:30. So we rushed a quick meal, got the kids in their costumes, then gave ourselves 10 minutes to get to the computer so the grandparents and Diane could all see the boys online. Luckily for us, Auntie Boom saved the day and decided to stay home to hand out candy.
Let's be honest.. she stayed home because she was looking for a break from our chaos and thought it would be the quieter option. This enabled both Jonathan and I to bring the boys out. Jake is an old pro at this and he remembered to use his manners.. he did great. Will didn't quite get the concept and was pretty fussy before we had even left the house, so we knew he wouldn't last too long. He managed to walk up to the doors of a few houses, but tried to walk right into their homes and forget even trying to get him to wait patiently for candy.
But Owen was the star of the night. He was so patient and in control. After our first house and having perfected the exchange of his 'trick or treat' picture card, he'd wave goodbye to the homeowner, then walk back to the end of the driveway. I swear I nearly cried, because at the end of the first driveway, he turned to me with the BIGGEST GRIN and I could tell that he was SO proud of himself. That is why we moved here.
the Cowboy is all tuckered out
After going to all of the neighbour's houses, Will was done and clearly just wanted to go home. Jake (naturally) was upset with us that we didn't visit every house in Calgary. We finished the night off with a visit to Sally & Greg's. It feels really nice to know, that in the absence of being with our family and friends back home, that we have people to visit on the special days and the kids truly enjoy being with them as well.
Aunt Sally spends some quality time with Cowboy Willy

Horsing around with Daddy

the perfect end to a fun night
All in all, it was a great first holiday spent in Calgary. The kids did really well. The parents did even better (we still have tons of candy to eat thanks to Owen's disinterest in it!). With Christmas just around the corner, we know that we've got a lot to look forward to.

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