New Star Rising (#189)

After a week plus without school, no ABA sessions for a few days, holidays and a few parties, when Charlie said “school bus!” this afternoon, I could finally say

“Yes, tomorrow.”

“Schooooool bus!” Charlie ran across the room, lit up with excitement. He watched me closely as I put “yallo chipps,” “care-wots” and a hummous-and-lettuce-salad into his lunchbox and wrote a note to his teacher.

It was a bland and boring Just Mom Monday: long walk, reading program (I’ve been working on the words Daddy, Mommy, and Gong Gong; Charlie already knows Po Po), supermarket (Charlie stared at the cupcakes, chose a pack of salmon sushi and a small bag of Utz chips), swimming with several other kids splashing: Charlie always stands out in the pool for his diving and easy confidence.

And, at 4.30pm, after crying out “Portia!” for his uncle’s dog and “Grandpa Gramma!”, a crying tantrum.

I was ready.

It was a noisy, kicking, kind of tantrum that lasted 15 minutes. I spoke to Charlie in brief, direct, declarative sentences: “Charlie, you are a big boy. You don’t need to do this. It’s okay but you need to calm down.” Due to being restrained too many times over the past year at his old school, Charlie sometimes holds out his arms as if that’s what he wants to have done to him when he’s tantrumming. So, when he’s upset, I avoid too much physical contact and keep near him, talk just a bit, wait it out.

Charlie quieted and I pulled out a book and read, tapping the words. “See Spot go!”

“Brown noodles,” said Charlie.

“We can have those at home,” I said. Charlie got his big blue blanket and sat down expectantly at the table, ate dinner and the rest of the evening was all giggles and cheery requests: “Mommy! I want green apple. Eat green apple. I want com-pu-tah fo-dos, turn on! Mommy pink shirt! I want! Daddy home! Daddy work.” I took out a “shapes and colors” bingo game and Charlie matched the cards on his board, then labelled each as I asked “what is it?”

“Bue. Bue. Pur-po. Purpo. Circle! Gectango.”

“It’s purple and it’s a—-”

“Square, gectango, purpo-gectango.”

At 9.40pm Charlie, wearing his blanket like Ben Obi-wan Kenobi’s cape, went up the stairs with the noseless green Bunny and to sleep.

To dream of the schoolbus? The contents of his lunchbox? What it’s like to kick your way to the bottom of the swimming pool and slowly float back up?

I used to think, it’s only a good day if we make it through without a “behavior,” a tantrum or headstuff or yelping. But who gets through a whole day without at least some small annoyance, something going wrong? Charlie needs to learn how not to tantrum and, even more, how to cope. How to understand that things don’t always go his way–we can’t go out for dinner every night!–and the world does not fall apart.

And that Charlie does not either. In fact, I think his universe has been expanding and a new star–Stella Caroli, the star of Charles–is on the horizon.

5 Responses to “New Star Rising (#189)”
  1. Lora says:

    I hope that by the time Griffin is Charlie’s age that he can swim like Charlie.He sure does love the water. Thanks for the info you left for me on the blog.

  2. Suzanne says:

    I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Stella Caroli. Hope Charlie has a great day at school today!

  3. Yolanda says:

    I think you handled his tantrum very well. You’re right about avoiding too much physical contact. I’ve learned that physically restraining Arvin when he’s upset only makes him wilder and angrier. Thank you for sharing about Charlie. Happy new year to you and Charlie and the family.

  4. Heidi says:


    Just wanted to de-lurk to let you know that I find your writing and your outlook so inspiring. Our son was diagnosed with an ASD in May of 2005 and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs since then. I know our journey is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s blogs like yours that help me keep perspective.


  5. Eileen says:

    Love reading about your bright shining star! Hope back to school went well today!

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