Image via WikipediaTomorrow is Valentine's Day. In a lot of ways, I am a lucky man. My wife does not like flowers, so I do not have to be concerned about getting her flowers. She also does not like going out on Valentine's Day because she doesn't like fighting the big crowds that hit the restaurants that day. So today was our big Valentine's meal. More on that later.
We are closing in on the end of having our son home for a long weekend. We are supposed to take him back to school tomorrow sometime between 1-7pm. He has already said he does not want to go back to school. Today was going to be the day we were going to try to go out and do some fun things for him.
He had been asking us to take him to Border's Book Store to get an iCarly or Spongebob Squarepants DVD. We have been reluctant to take him to Border's because we have had some very unpleasant occurances there with him of late. I mentioned to him the possibility of going to Arundel Mills Mall so we could go to Dave & Buster's to play skee-ball and then go to FYE to buy the DVDs. That worked for us all.
Let me now backtrack to Valentine's Day and our Valentine's meal. Earlier in the week, I received a short text message from my wife. It read simply, "Hooters, Valentines day." (See, I told you I was a lucky man.) We considered waiting until tomorrow to try to fit all these in, but I figured the more stops we try tomorrow, the more likely we would have potential issues with our son and getting him in the car to head back to school.
Something happened at Hooter's this afternoon with our son that shows the progress he has made and helps confirm that having him there is the right thing for him. At home, he has been drinking out of a sippee cup and not out of a regular glass. He is very much a creature of routine, and for him, milk is to be drunk from a sippee cup. However, at school, he has been drinking water from a cup. At home he drinks it straight from the tap.
My son did not want any food while we were at Hooters. At first, he also did not want anything to drink. However, as my wife and I were eating our meal, he asked for water. Our server (would it be inappropriate to call her our Hooter Girl) brought him a big cup of water with ice in it. Usually, when he gets upset, you have to figure out what has set him off. Today, he immediately said, "I don't like the ice." He drank about half of a rather large cup of water.
There were three things that were great about our lunch, none of which had anything to do with the food or ambiance of the place. First, while we were eating he decided that he wanted something after all and was able to ask for it. Second, when his drink came, rather than having a meltdown about it having ice, he was able to communicate what he didn't like. Third, he showed us that he could easily handle a rather large cup and drink from it without a straw or lid.
To most folks, these may seem like simple things. To the father of an autistic child who at times has been incapable of communicating even the slightest desire or dissatisfaction without getting at best, upset, and at worst having a complete meltdown, these are monumental events. It would not have been out of the ordinary for my son to scream loudly about having ice in the water and then to refuse to drink it. We take our victories where we can get them, no matter how small they may appear.