Summer vacation is almost over for our little guy, and if you follow on Instagram and Twitter you know we’ve been trying to fit a few more family-outings like taking in an afternoon movie. Hello, Winnie-the-Pooh! Christopher Robin is only the second live-action movie our little guy has seen on the big screen. Cinderella was the first.
“Have courage and be kind,” is the most memorable phrase from Cinderella. For Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh’s line stole the show, “I’m not stress,…I’m Pooh.” – of course, this only makes sense if you read that in a Winnie-the-Pooh voice, and know the movie context, but….trust me,…it was an adorable scene!
Interestingly Christopher Robin is a movie about a very stressed man ‘redeeming’ what was lost in his life. After the movie my husband and I decided it was time to redeem a very stressed family outing. Ice cream, anyone?
Ah,…ice cream on a hot summer day!
Is there anything more quintessential than a family ice cream outing in the depth of summer? Our two older guys loved when we’d stop for an ice cream cone! It was a real treat, for them and us. Is there anything more adorable than watching a toddler noshing on a drippy ice cream? The sheer look of delight the very first time they taste sweet, creamy ice-cold, ice cream. Yum City! Such happy hearts sharing such a sweet treat together. Only with little ones make sure to have lots of wet wipes, or dating myself here, in a time before wet wipes, we’d bring washclothes and a jar of water to wipe the happy little messy faces.
Fast forward twenty-three years. Our guys are grown, but the Lord has blessed us with a third son.
Having a child as older parents is like having a grandchild you don’t have to give back at the end of the day. We couldn’t wait to take our little guy for his first ice cream run,…but life kinda got in the way,…and our little guy was ‘mysteriously’ a picky eater. Baby food is soft and gooey, but our third baby decidedly didn’t like anything soft and gooey, which made meal time quite a challenge until his teeth came in and more solid food could be offered. But hey,…ice cream is ice cream,…and ALL kids like ice cream,…right?
How many ways can you spell fiasco? Our two year old displayed no, absolutely no emotion when we told him we were going to go get some, “Ice cream,..Yeahhhhh!!!” Okay, he’s not had ice cream before,…but hey,…it’s a fun family outing. We’re all together, it’s a beautiful day,…we’re going to have fun introducing our little guy to the delights of ice cream on a hot summer day,…or not.
The ice cream hut is on a busy thoroughfare with traffic zooming. Our two year old was more interested in running toward this traffic than staying next to us. The words, “Ice cream,” – “Treat,” – “Fun,” – didn’t compute. While Daddy got the ice cream, Mama tried to keep their darling little one out of the traffic, and interested in ‘shared- interest’ – “Look a at the big pig?” Our little guy wasn’t having it. There were no tantrums, that we would have understood, it’s was just total and complete indifference – to us, the outing, and especially the ice cream.
You’d have thought that ice cream was the most disgusting icky muck. Our little guy didn’t want any part of it, “Thank you very much.” – not that our little guy could speak – as this was just after his Apraxia diagnosis, so we weren’t expecting anything verbal, but believe me – our little guy’s expressive face said it all, “If you want ice cream, YOU eat ice cream. I ain’t touching it.”
Out came the dry pretzels from Mama’s purse. Those our little guy munched with a detached expression. Family outings meant ‘nothing’ to him, and since we weren’t letting him run around a busy parking lot….he wasn’t having fun. It was a disaster. I didn’t even eat my ice cream,…I was too upset. I sobbed all the way home, while my husband held my hand, and we added ‘family-outing’ to our prayer list for all the questions we had concerning our little guy for he had been ‘flagged’ for something called: Autism.
Needless to say ice cream runs have been off our charts for the past six years while we’ve learned to live with Autism. It’s not so daunting, once understood. Sensory issues are real. For some reason our little guy is not comfortable with anything soft or gooey,…and forget the whys or wherefores. That’s banging your head against the wall. Some things in life,…just are,…except it,..and move on.
My little guy certainly has moved on, and therapy helps. Sorry, but you can’t totally avoid soft and gooey things in life. Toothpaste is a necessity. Thus therapy is essential, and for any given issue, therapy can take either three hours, three days, three weeks, three years, or I imagine,…three decades. It’s a process, and every attempt is a successful try. Don’t give up hope, don’t ever give up hope.
Where is our little guy in his present state of progress? Lightyears, absolutely lightyears from that indifferent toddler wanting to run into traffic.
Isaac now eats ice cream!
Ah,…not this ice cream, however.
It didn’t meet his criteria,…which is to be completely frozen. Yes, Autism is a puzzle. Our little guy will now eat ice cream…IF it doesn’t melt, which means he only takes about three bites, but that’s still three bites of ice cream,…and he enjoys them. Progress! Can’t call it anything else, and we’ll take it. After all real life is never completely tidy with all those loose ends tucked in neatly. Is it?
As for shared interest, “Look Mama, that’s a big pig!”
Wow! Mama had to get a pix.
“Hold my ice cream, buddy.”
Out comes Mama’s phone, and did you notice who is holding the ice cream in those first two pictures? Trust me,…it took a lot of concentrated therapy to get past that soft and gooey stage! It also took Mama whipping out damp napkins to wipe down his little hands, lickety-split, but then I don’t like sticky hands either,…and there are worst things in life than being a very tidy child.
You know the thing about a family outing for ice cream, is that it’s never really about the ice cream. It’s about spending time together in a bonding experience.
Did our little guy eat ice cream?
No, no he didn’t.
Did he have fun, anyway?
Yes, yes he did.
“Mama, you like ice cream,” said Isaac happily watching us eat the melting treat.
“I like you more,” I replied,…’cause it’s the truth.
You know, the gift of Autism is that it breaks down life into the most basic components:
I love you.
You love me.
What else is important?
Certainly not what we think is important, it’s too easy to get ‘very stressed’ over nonessential elements in our lives. Micromanagement, anyone?
Micromanagement, you know,…kinda leaves faith by the wayside.
Six years ago when we started our Autism journey we didn’t know where we were headed, and we still don’t, but we have faith in the one who started us on this path.
Do you have areas in your life you need to redeem? Nothing is too hard for the Lord, nor is nothing too small for His notice,…not even ice cream outings.
“I know my Redeemer, lives” Job 19: 25
Job’s inspiring faith wasn’t after the fact, but during the darkest days of his trials when he couldn’t see a way out of his dilemma. Yet his faith in his ‘Redeemer’ never wavered.
“We walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7
Knowing you’re on the right path makes all the difference!
Life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan, but we can trust in the LORD who makes the plans for our lives.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29: 11-13
Here’s to redeeming, ice cream!
God bless and keep you!