A Good Direction

Charlie and Jim start off on the same central Jersey bike trail, in the opposite direction Jim discovered that the tree-shaded bike path he and Charlie have been biking on in Jersey horse country goes in the opposite direction for quite a few miles. So after a morning constitutional (a bike ride on our 'home turf'), we loaded up the bikes (how often have I typed this in the past few weeks?) and we were off.

It was yet another swell ride. The sky was grey meaning it was cool—!—plus, it was quick work to explain to Charlie why we weren't going to the beach as it might rain. Charlie dozed in the car but was ready to don his bike helmet and go soon as he got out. He was a little uncertain, and then readily adapted, to bike in the exact opposite direction that he and Jim have been on this particular trail.

They were gone for a good hour and 20 minutes. It started sprinkling in the midst of their ride. Getting a little wet is never a big deal to Charlie (or Jim, for that matter; he noted that the rain had a cooling effect). Really, I do look back and laugh how, when Charlie was younger, rain would mean 'can't do that' or 'oh no what if Charlie catches a cold,' as if he would melt! He's a hardy kid now, and doesn't like to be babied or clucked over (except, that is, in those moments when he lets us know this sort of thing is ok).

Charlie checks out a new road We couldn't resist stopping for burritos again for a late lunch. Charlie called out to use the computer as we drove home and, as I cheerily responded 'sure once we're home,' I thought about how, when he used to ask for things, those requests had to be met IMMEDIATELY AS IN RIGHT THAT MOMENT. Charlie would keep saying the name of whatever he wanted over, over and over, and only get more overwrought with each utterance. All those efforts (at school; in home ABA sessions) to teach 'waiting' have apparently paid off, not that I use the word 'waiting.' Charlie's smile suggested that he is himself pleased that he can delay gratification.

He wanted to hang in his room by himself after we got home. It  started raining in that time—just as well, from a getting-some-rest angle, and from a cleaning-off-the-dust-and-dirt from the bikes (still attached to he bike rack; you never know when you might bike again) angle.

About an hour and a half later Charlie was up and ready to ride ride; 'another 30-miler day,' Jim noted. It started to rain while they were out and as I was crossing the grocery store parking lot with a bunch of bags. I checked my phone but knew Jim wasn't going to call me, as he once would have, to collect Charlie and his bike. Charlie can handle biking in the rain, thank you.

So passed another day of summer for us, post-Extended School Year/summer school. No fuss no muss has, you could say, been the word around here, quite in contrast to last summer (which turned out well, but was full of stress, worry and anxiety as Charlie was then-liable to severe behavior storms at any moment, plus we were in heavy contention with our former school district). Now school is good: Charlie is looking forward to returning (he has the piece of paper with the 'summer vacation' social story his teacher made for him on his bed). We're back in our house. We have clearly made one of our wisest purchases ever—the bike rack on the white car—and have found something of a schedule that suits Charlie (early morning bike ride, ride to slightly distant biking site, bike ride!, nice rest of day usually with more bike rides/walks).

It is a full life and certainly quite busy. Charlie likes to be busy, but does need some help to do so.

What's the magic?

I suspect many things, some mentioned above.

Though I do think Charlie, and Jim and me, all learning to maintain the peaceful-easy-feeling spirit has more than a little to do with this good summer of MMX.

Flexibility is key

4 Responses to “A Good Direction”
  1. Niksmom says:

    I just love reading about the peaceful days of late summer that you’ve all been having lately!

  2. autismvox says:

    I still can’t believe we’ve been having so many —

  3. Louise says:

    Speaking of docyors’ visits, when is the last time *you and Jim* got check-ups? It would be horrible – especially for Charlie – if anything ever happened to you.
    Charlie’s mood is extremely exercise-dependent. What’s your back-up plan for the days when weather precludes 60 miles of daily bike rides, or you and Jim are unavailable?

  4. autismvox says:

    thanks so much for asking, we do take care of ourselves.

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