Autism: I Forgot the Jellybeans
By Pamela Mari
So how do you keep a 16 year old son who is blind and has autism occupied at home during the summer? It's not easy and the boredom turns into frustration and down right crankiness.
Yesterday when my son remarked that he wanted to make a chocolate cake with chocolate icing I replied "yes of course we can do that." He noted though that it must have the following decorations: jellybeans, gumdrops, gunk of chocolate, (gunk of chocolate equals chunk of chocolate) M&Ms and sprinkles and gummy worms.
At the supermarket I hit the lose candy isle to garner my supplies. Twenty-seven cents worth of gummy worms. A small bag of M&Ms. A small bag of gum drops. The gunk of chocolate I knew I had left over at home in a zip lock bag from Easter when we received a large hollow Easter egg.
Today is a very boring day so I offered to make the cake with him. He wanted no parts of "cracking" the eggs for the cake mix.
"We have to make sure it cools properly" he mentions. (A script from a video, but appropriate.) As evening approaches I tell him he needs to help me decorate the cake. He helps in spreading the icing on to the best of his ability considering he can't see what he's doing.
I offer up the decorations. Gummy worms. Gum drops. Sprinkles. M&Ms. For "gunk" of chocolate I used a few left over Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies - just as good.
"We need the jellybeans" he reminds me.
INSERT IMPENDING DOOM MUSIC FROM JAWS WHERE SHARK IS HEADING FOR BOAT.
I FORGOT THE JELLY BEANS!!!!!!
Now thus far this has been a pleasant, no meltdown activity and I'm determined to keep it so. Mommy brain goes into overdrive. "Where in the heck can I find some jellybeans?". I dig frantically through the cupboard thinking I may have stashed a few for just this type of situation but alas, none to be found. Ok. Think. Think. Jelly beans equal Easter. I sprint down to the basement where I stash the Easter baskets. I dig to the bottom of the plastic easter grass and retrieve the golden treasure-a handful of jelly beans.
Blood pressure back to normal, I ascend to the first level of the house and deliver the required final decoration. He is pleased and finishes decorating the cake. I'm the only one who is going to eat the cake anyway and I'm gonna scrape off all the excess sugar before I do so it doesn't matter to me how old the jelly beans are.
Note to self: Mom's memory is nothing compared to my son's. Always write down what you need from the store. The Easter Bunny only comes once a year.