Thursday, October 30, 2008

Capital King: Update

In a follow-up to a previous post about State should know: Wylie is the Capital King at Calimesa Elementary 5th grade. This is something he takes pride in and his teachers enjoy as well.

The Capital King did not stick his hands in the pumpkin guts, however...

Tuesday, Wylie and Campbell's classes were working with pumpkins on a science/math project. This involved carving, etc. When I arrived on-scene, Wylie was supervising his partner's work. Encouraging him from behind. But, there was no way his hands were reaching inside that thing.

So, Asperger peculiarities serve well in some areas, and restrict experiences in others. It's the ZigZag way.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Every Single Second

Did you know there is something happening every single second?

That was the profound thought coming from Wylie today on the way home from school.

Think about it.

There is.

The planet is so huge to us--so vast. And, yet, if you've looked into the night sky and seen the millions of stars and planets that hang around just our neck of the galaxy, you understand Earth is really just speck.

In spite of our relative size, it does boggle the mind of a 5th grader that there is something happening every single second of every single day somewhere on Earth....

You know what that means?

God is up to something....He hasn't given up on us yet.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

To Catch a Pirate

Our childrens ministry program at Solid Ground Christian Fellowship is called "Treasure Island". We don't feel compelled to do everything "true to theme", but it is fun for most kids to play pirates once in a while.

Last night, we had an early Halloween (Alternative) party for the 4th - 6th graders. It was "pirate-themed". So, both boys wanted to dress up a bit. I found an old vest I had made out of a gaberdine black and grey stripe that worked quite well over a "puffy" shirt on Campbell. He added a belt as a scabbard for his sword, put a bandana on and--voila!--Captain Jaques Sparrow was ready. Wylie....not one to over dress for any occasion...wanted a bandana. And a hook. Said hook was "hand crafted" by a nice pirate wench named "Ruby" (me) out of aluminum foil. He wore a hoody and held onto the hook under the sleeve. Perfection.

We're on our way in the car to Morgan's house--she's a 4th grader in our program--and she is very energetic and enthusiastic always. She was particularly excited about the party. Wylie says outloud:

"I wonder which pirate Morgan will like better"?

Diplomatically, I respond:

"I think she'll like both pirates".

Very quickly Wylie interjected:

"But, I have a hook"!

So, there you have it me hearties, when it comes to pirates...a hook trumps haute couture any day.

Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of fun!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Where is Radiator Springs?

In the deluge of political conversation, signs, headlines, culture, and spin my son Wylie absolutely nails the crux of most matters in an "off-the-record" conversation last night on the way home from swim.

We're headed down the Blvd., just past 7th and Wylie remarks (not for the fist time)

"I wish Yucaipa had more tall buildings".

"Why? What would go in the tall buildings" I ask innocently.

"More businesses and stores and stuff".

"But, we already have a lot of businesses and stores, right"?

"Besides, Mom, if we have more tall buildings, we'll be on the map. Only cities with lots of tall buildings get on the map. More people will come to visit us that way".

And, before I can continue the "managed vs. unfettered" growth dialogue, Wylie sums it all up with this zinger:

"Man, Yucaipa really is Radiator Springs"!

If you haven't seen the movie "Cars", this reference won't hold a lot of meaning for you. I'll recount the story...

A totally hip "new" race car named Lightening McQueen gets disoriented and lost in the middle of nowhere and finds himself crawling into a sleepy little town called Radiator Springs off of the main highway. On his way into town, he breaks a few laws and ends up behind bars and in need of some repairs. Not to mention, this little intersection of life is way off the radar and no one knows where Lightening is or what's happened to him.

For all its backwardness and lack, Radiator Springs really is a wonderful place where people matter and life is...simple. After Lightening gets to know the other cars there and experiences life outside the fast lane, he begins to see the place differently. His quest to get back to fame, fortune, big lights, bright cities is a bit derailed. In short, Lightening gets a chance to make a life "lane change". It's a really good story.

Intuitively, but certainly not intentionally, Wylie peers into the consciousness of the average voter on November 4th. The choices before Yucaipans (and many voters) is really about this one idea: where is Radiator Springs?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Building Trust

Another Sunday is finished.

Wylie loves Sunday more than anyone in our home I think.

He loves church.

He loves our pastor.

He loves our gaming station in the kids ministry area.

He loves God.

He helps set up.

He sings during the worship videos.

He really thinks about the content.

Today, we were learning about what it takes to follow God. The verse was Psalm 25:4 which roughly translated says: "Show me your path so I can walk with You, Lord". We had the kids pair up and walk through an obstacle course--one blindfolded the other leading. Wylie was first to see the value in this exercise. He said to me (before we got started on the actual course):

"This is supposed to build trust, isn't it"?

Most of the other kids were just into the fun of the deal.

Not Wylie; he enjoyed the experience but he saw straight away the meaning behind the maze.

Because Wylie's fears and anxieties are larger than most his faith is larger than most. This creates a most unique relationship between him and God. It's an adventure to watch.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Frankfort or Dover?

This month, the boys have been learning states' capitals like other 5th graders across the country. Campbell has been diligently studying 5 per day. We quiz each other periodically to prepare for the ultimate test on all 50. Campbell is a good student and he's doing great on the memorization. Every once in a while he blanks on the more obscure cities (Mt. Pelier anyone?--that would be Vermont).

Meanwhile, Wylie, kicks back in the big comfy chair with his feet up.

Why you ask?

Well, a couple years ago, geography and states' capitals were Wylie's CTI (courtesy of the Scrambed States of America). So, it's payback time now. I've written about this before in a couple different posts.

I must say, it is a bit satisfying for Wylie to "help" Campbell out on this one.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thank You, City of Ember

Ladies and Gentlemen of ZigZagStraight:

We have a CTI (current topic of interest) change!

The new CTI is: "City of Ember".

When we watched Beverly Hills Chihuahua (or however you spell it!), Wylie saw the preview for the new movie based on the book. This was one of Ken and Tim's favorite stories two summers ago when the whole family was on a "read aloud" together kick. Wylie listened in for most of the story, too.

When he saw the preview he was immediately consumed by one burning passion: find the book to read again and see the movie.

This is a beautiful thing.

Tonight, Wylie Harris did not immediately turn on the tv after swim practice. Wylie Harris did not immediately turn on his DS to play Mario Bros. Wylie Harris picked up a book and read 20 pages unprompted with a gleam in his eye. I do believe it is the glimmer.... of ....ember....

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Pirate sightings in October are not that rare; however, on the 9th of October, it's a little early in the season. But, I declare I drove home with two pirates fresh from their first rehearsal of "Pirates: The Musical". They are beaming--I mean terrifying--pirates both!

As I pulled up to the curb to pick them up from school, Mrs. Thatcher (the chorus teacher) came over to the door to look me in the eye and say " I love these two boys". Every mom understands how those words make your heart sing. When the boys were babies we had them dedicated at church and my prayer over them then was simple: God, please make them brave men with kind hearts. I pray this over them every night. So, it is especially wonderful to see evidence of their kind hearts shining through. They both have already had several opportunities to display their bravery. I am proud of their character and courage.

The musical will debut late May. Book your tickets will be standing room only with no hope for stow-a-ways!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tenacious W.B.

Tenacity is defined as holding fast: persistant, stubborn, adheisve or sticky. Well, if that doesn't describe Wylie when he has an idea on his mind....I don't know what does!

I've written before--and all Asperger families know--about current topics of interest. How persistent they are, how mind-numbing they can become for the audience. Yet, I'm inclined to see the flip-side of that coin tonight.

Wylie's tenacity creates a focus with laser precision. When he is "dialed-in" on something, there is a determination, a plan, a strategy, a marketing campaign, a plan "a", "b" all the way to "z". Think Ralphie in A Christmas's all about that Red Ryder Air Rifle with the compass in the stock and the thing which tells time!

There is something in this ability to focus that I absolutely admire/covet. Yes, it's annoying! Yes, it can get on my last nerve! But, what good has come and what potential will come from this ability to hold fast?

In my opinion, our culture does not hold fast to anything anymore. We are addicted to quick-fixes, fiber optics, wireless networking, and instant gratification. Just about the time you figure out what might be worth holding fast to, there' something new/better/different that steals our ADD souls.

Much time has been scattered in my life because of lack of focus. Oh, to have Wylie's tenacity for a month, a quarter, a year! Nevermind, Dancing With the Stars is On....

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Boring Part

First of all, as I write this post it is absolutely delightful outside: a drizzly gentle rain is falling and it is less than 70 degrees outside. Oh, Fall--I've missed you! Welcome back!

Wylie and I were riding around town earlier today doing some errands for church and shopping for our weekly groceries. He enjoys time with me on these solo assignments. And, he talks my ear off.

So, after we were all done at Von's and we had picked up his favorite lunch, I asked him a question.

me: "So, Wylie, how is school going overall for you"?

wylie: "Good. Well, except it's kind of boring".

me: "What is the boring part"?

wylie: "The writing with the pencil part".

Kind of glad Ms. Peterson wasn't there to hear that answer...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Cure

This afternoon McKenna and I dropped by Barnes and Noble as a treat for her recent accomplishments in swim. While I waited for her to make her selection, I browsed titles in fiction and non-fiction. One of the face-outs on the aisle featured Jenny McCarthy's book about her son, Evan, who has autism.

Jenny is an advocate and has formed a advocacy group aimed at curing or healing kids from autism. Much has been written about the effects of dietary cleansing and detoxing with success in many cases. From my casual glimpses it looks like this book is really about the pursuit of a universal cure for autism.

It may seem strange, but as the parent of an Asperger child--admittedly not a fully autistic one--I have never considered "curing" Wylie of his condition. Since he is a twin and Campbell is "normal", I've never considered that exposure from immunizations or other toxins contributed to Wylie's situation. Therefore, I've never pursued remedies for this. I've been aware of other families and their tireless pursuit of doctors and programs seeking to treat or prescribe or medicate to improve the quality of life of their children. All of this is rational behavior and worthwhile. We've just never taken that step.

I think it's because Wylie has been learning all along to cope with his issues and he has made progress in every area he struggles. Since he learns, and progresses, and grows and responds it just seems natural to allow him to continue doing all that he does with his teacher, his RSP teacher, his speech pathologist, his Occupational Therapists, etc.

So, reading Jenny's book today it made me wonder: what if there was a "cure"? Would I want Wylie to be cured?

It seems the answer should be automatic.

But, it's not for me.

I cannot imagine Wylie any other way than how he is. He is incredibly insightful, deep-thinking, funny, charming, good-natured, honest, kind, different, and engaging. Do his differences cause him suffering that could be avoided if he was cured? Probably. So, I guess if I was ultimately concerned with minimizing his suffering, I would opt to cure him. But, if the absence of suffering meant the absence of some of Wylie's most unique and special qualities, the cure might be more harmful than the disease.