Movie Mix-Up

We love to take Tristan to a movie theater 45 minutes from our home. We love this old theater because the movie ticket prices are cheaper than the typical cost. In addition, the snacks are the least expensive I have ever seen at a movie theater. The theater has assigned seats for the tickets. I like this because we can plan the best spot for our family.


To add adventure to our life…the place is in a different time zone.


At first, we were careful about coordinating the time to arrive. One time Brian and I showed up at the wrong time. The theater was generous in switching the tickets. We had to wait a bit but for us, it was no big deal.


About a month ago, we planned a movie trip. There were not many titles playing. Tristan clearly communicated to us with his device he wanted a movie. Actually, he mostly wanted the snacks. His request goes like this: popcorn, pop, chips, and cheese, movie theater.


I scrolled the movie list and settled on a non-typical choice. Brian and I previewed the trailer to see if it might hold Tristan’s attention. After agreeing it might work, we ordered tickets. We did the math and headed out the door in a few minutes. The timing was perfect!


We arrived 45 minutes later at the theater. As we walked in, I noticed there was no line at the food counter. I felt like we arrived at the wrong time. I looked at my phone for the time. I glanced at the movie times. I looked at Brian and said, “Oh no we arrived an hour late. The movie had already started. It is halfway done.”


We quickly conversed about our next plan of action. Realizing Tristan does not always make it through the movie I said, “Let’s get our snacks and watch the ending of the movie. Tristan has not made it to the end of the last several movies. He will not realize half the movie has played. Honestly, he is here for the snacks anyway.”


We proceeded to order our usual snack list and went into the theater.


Tristan thoroughly enjoyed the action-packed movie! He never realized half the movie had already played. By the time he finished his snacks, the movie was over. The movie mix-up turned out to be a success!

Enjoy another healthy dose of laughter from our home!

Forever Toddler – Enjoying Life

Our Chuck E Cheese evening was good. As you can see he does not fit on this ride, yet he is thoroughly enjoyed his ride!

It had been many years since we had stepped foot into a Chuck E Cheese restaurant. It was neat to see Tristan play some video games. He gravitated towards the race car-driving ones. He didn’t quite understand the concept of the games, but he enjoyed watching the graphics.

Enjoy another view from our family on the lighter side of autism!

Back to the Toilet Paper…

Well, we can tell Tristan is feeling good! We are pleased that he is doing well. (It has been many months and doctor appointments to get to this level of success!) Some signs and behaviors seem to rise when he is happy.

First of all, he has no concept of the value of a roll of toilet paper during these supply chain issues! He unrolled one roll and tried flushing it down the toilet. When I went to tell Brian during my conversation, Tristan ran to the second bathroom. He tried unrolling and flushing a double roll. Immediately, I said, “No, Tristan, we are not doing that.” His reaction was to smile. He fully understands spoken words.


Next, he found an “important paper” in his bedroom. He ran to the kitchen grabbed a marker and scissors. Then he drew a house and quickly cut it out, and taped it on the patio door. He thought he had found an essential paper that he should not have had. It was actually a scrap piece of paper! The artist in him returned. Contentment has swept over him again.

Enjoy the lighter side of autism from our family!

Finally…The Mystery Word Solved!

On all our visits with Tristan since May, he has been trying to tell us something. It kind of sounds like “uncle.” In fact, the first weekend in May, we took him to a hotel for a shorter overnight visit. He would repeat this word over and over. We were not sure what the exact word was, so we did our best to distract him. It didn’t work out great, but what else could we do? Finally, I texted one of my brothers and asked if he would do a zoom call because Tristan keeps saying, “uncle.”

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Communication Explosion!–Never in a million years…

We enjoyed another successful communication weekend with Tristan. Only this time, he reached a new level in communication that we have never seen. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

He wanted to talk about his favorite things over and over and over, etc. So I took his tablet communication device and build a page with his favorite things. I made a schedule, so he knew “what was next.” He loved it so much he kept going back to it. Then he started verbalizing all these items. These are the preferred “conversations” with Tristan. Motorcycle ride. Mc Donald’s – and his entire usual order of chicken nuggets, French fries, BBQ sauce, chocolate milk. Church. Guitar. Cooking. Making Pizzas. YouTube. Movie Theatre – and his snack items which consist of popcorn, pop, and chips and cheese. If Tristan’s device was not right next to him, he would sign his thoughts. If we were not correct, he would repeat his word with a more clear annunciation. If we still didn’t understand, then he would find the button. This repetition went on for the complete 48-hour visit during waking hours.


At one point, Brian and I were trying to talk about something important. We finally had to tell Tristan to wait a minute; it is our turn to speak. Never in a million years would I have thought this would happen!


The other behavior we noticed is even though he wanted to talk about all these things, he didn’t necessarily want them right at this moment. He just wanted us to know he was thinking about them. So this was definitely an area of growth!
I kind of forgot how much sign language he has absorbed over the years. I had to quickly jog my memory when he was signing. He remembered words we have not used in a while.


Enjoy the lighter side of autism and a reminder to never keep up on communication skills! You just may be surprised someday. (Here is a picture of him making pizza’s for lunch. He loves cooking activities.)

The Moment I Knew I Was In Trouble…

Thinking back to the days when Tristan was younger, our primary goal for the day was to keep him safe. Many times that was a challenge, to say the least. To begin with, we were always trying to stay one step ahead of him, and sometimes we became one step behind! Brian and I would have to come up with a new solution. Forget safety locks/devices for children on the market; he would outwit them. Locks on doors were a big topic of conversation. I remember the first time I knew I was in trouble raising Tristan. I had someone over-purchasing an item. We were chatting at the kitchen table.
We had the eye and hook locks on all the very tops of the doors. Tristan was about two years old. Tristan quietly grabbed the broom and walked over to my bedroom door. Suddenly, he erupted in laughter. Immediately, I looked over to where he was standing as I sat at the kitchen table. My mouth dropped open. He used the broom to unlatch the lock. I looked at this stranger and said, “Oh my goodness. I can not believe he just did that.” When it is a problem for Tristan to solve, his problem-solving skills are off the charts. Which means it becomes a problem for Mom & Dad to solve. This challenge played over and over as he continued to grow and develop. Looking back, I now conclude that many times this was a game to him. Tristan has sure made our life more full and fun! Enjoy another healthy dose of laughter from our home!

Who You Gonna Call?

When Tristan was about 6 years old he would NEVER sit.  He was always on the move.  I had to chase my ever growing non-verbal “toddler” every waking moment.  Most of the time I felt more like a security guard instead of a mom. Or maybe a life guard on land(not that one really exists).  If something looked dangerous he would gravitate towards it.  This went on for years…

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The Label Peeler Strikes Again

My oldest son, Jacob, was working on a project in elementary school.  He asked me for a glue stick.  I went to the drawer where I kept permanent markers, tape, and glue sticks tucked away so Tristan wouldn’t get them.  Jacob worked diligently on his assignment into the late evening.  Jacob left it out to dry on the counter overnight.

The next morning I woke up and noticed the project on the counter.  I could not believe what I saw.

Royalty Free Photos of Top Secret

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You Can Enter, But You Can’t Leave

This story Brian and I still laugh about at times when we are reminiscing about life.

building metal house architecture
Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels.com

I can’t express in words how much work it took to keep Tristan safe.  We had to keep locks on everything.  This was to prevent him from escaping our home.  It was like we had Houdini as our son.  He would elope out the front door, back door, side door, and windows! We never could figure out why.  I have concluded that it was just a game to him.  Whatever the reason was we just learned to be on our guard.

This meant we had to open and shut doors and lock them quickly!  If we forgot he would surely let us know…by taking advantage of the opportunity.   As soon as someone entered our home we swiftly locked them in our home.   We always had keys in our pockets.  This was the standard “Tristan safety procedure” in our home.  This became the norm and we didn’t even think about it much.  Neighborhood children knew the drill.  Family visitors knew that all doors would be locked.

Then one day Brian had to be home to let someone in our home.  It was through our mortgage company.   Brian was told someone would be by for paperwork.  That day Tristan was home sick from school.  Just Brian and Tristan were home.

Brian answered the door.  It was a young lady.  She entered and Brian immediately locked the door!  He realized that it probably looked pretty bad.  He just locked this woman inside our home.   Then he realized she could be concerned, terrified, or frightened.  Therefore, he rapidly started explaining that our son is special needs and will run out of the house.

The lady said, “Ok.”

We aren’t really sure if she understood how severe of a behavior elopement can be.  Sometimes we laugh thinking she might have thought that was creepy to be locked inside a stranger’s house!

Enjoy another healthy dose of laughter from our home!