Looking Good (#488)

On walking into Ant Hockey, Charlie walked over to a smaller child and smiled.
Ant Hockey turned into Impromptu Soccer (whoever was supposed to bring the hockey equipment did not) and Charlie could not keep track of the ball, or much else. After pulling him over and over to “line up” to kick a ball that faster feet had control of, Jim and I decided that it would be best for Charlie just to work on finding the yellow line and then getting in some running. He had given a soccer ball a good kick before the “game” started: Charlie has the skills for soccer, but having to apply all of them at once while several other children are too is the challenge. To add to his potential confusion, the children were divided into “blue” and “green” teams and Charlie was hard pressed to know who was on what team—blue and green being two colors that he sometimes confuses (indeed, I had to check twice to see who had on a forest green shirt, and who a deep navy one; red and yellow would have been made it easier).

Despite all the confusion, Charlie remained good-natured and proceeded to go for a long bike ride with Jim soon as we got home: We see the hockey/soccer as primarily a social time for Charlie, who has been showing signs of happy curiosity about other people, especially other children. Indeed, on the train to New York City and on the#6 subway, Charlie craned his neck to look at other kids and frowned when so many people got on one subway car that his view was completely blocked (except for staring at waists and drooping backpacks).

We had stopped in Jim’s office—there is less than a week to go before the Autism and Advocacy Conference and people continue to register to attend—-Charlie kept requesting “elewator” and momentarily disappeared (to a comfy couch in another part of the office; we had thought he had taken it upon himself to hop on the elevator). I found the trailer for Open Season, the movie we had seen last weekend, and Charlie asked to watch it three times, laughing at the part when the animals take a wild ride in the water from a flooding dam.

That’s news to report, someone may ask? A kid enjoyed watching a movie trailer? A kid looked at another kid?

It is.

Charlie has no fascination for either the computer or the television and, while we have been working on watching movies in the theater, this—like Saturday morning hockey/soccer—is an activity that is not necessarily on the top of Charlie’s preferred list. (Like shopping at his favorite grocery store.) This afternoon, his eyes lit up when I showed him the movie trailer and I talked about how we had seen it just last Saturday with our friend’s three young daughters.
Charlie ran ahead of Jim and me as we walked northwards on the west side of Central Park; he stopped when we called out to him, and when he spotted a pretzel cart. It was a perfect fall day, and, as we walked past the Dakota where John Lennon used to live and Strawberry Fields, Jim reminisced about his experience as a New York City taxicab driver, going up and down the streets and avenues. Sighting a greyhound, then a pug, then two dachsunds, Charlie switched hands with Jim (thus shielding himself from the four-footed creatures: Nothing like Dad to protect him.) “It’s great we came back for this,” said Jim, referring to how, just some five years ago, we had left the Midwest to come back to New Jersey and its autism schools where Charlie, no matter what else is going on, has been having the best of days.

Waiting for the subway, a man grinned at Charlie who was pace-running amid the crowd: “So long as he keep moving, he’s good,” he said.

It’s not whether you score the goal or even how you play the game: If we can just keep Charlie moving and making strides, however small, through his days, I think we’re all looking pretty good.

4 Responses to “Looking Good (#488)”
  1. Eli'smom says:

    I only wish Eli had a little less fascination with the TV and computer. He’s recently taken over big sister’s computer because of her games, and does so well on them I hate to pull him away. However, he seems to be content to leave it in his own time and go draw the characters he sees in the games.
    On the soccer experience, we are completely avoiding any group sports at this time. He just doesn’t have the physical/mental coordination going on right now–maybe never will. My other sons were never “into” sports at all, though sister Hannah is. It is so cute to see her take Eli into the backyard to help him with kicking the soccer ball, and she is ever-so-patient. She recently came back insided after one of her “training sessions” with him and told me, “Eli’s getting really good! He just needs to remember to pass me the ball once in a while.”
    I am delighted to hear of Charlie’s growing interest in other children, and just noticing them is a big step for him. Thank you so much for keeping this journal going.

  2. kyra says:

    noticing another child with a smile! delighting in the movie trailer! strides, yes! you and jim do a beautiful job, along with charlie’s whole team, to guide him as he makes these beautiful strides!

  3. Knowing that we are not alone makes it easy and more than a pleasure to keep writing here! That is so great to hear about Hanna “training” Eli to kick the soccer ball—now that made me smile!

  4. Londa says:

    Loved this great post! It’s wonderful reading about all of Charlie’s milestones.

    We are contemplating basketball. Our Drew has been asking about it and wants to play. He did okay with T-ball last season, but it was evident he was glad when it was over. I think we’ll let him give it a try anyway. It can’t hurt.

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