At least he has his nose
It started with a small hole in his chest that R. couldn’t resist yanking stuffing through. And then she destroyed the arm.But she doesn’t seem to mind that it is missing. She can still make him clap.
I warned her that his eyes would come off permanently if she kept chewing and pulling. But I don’t think she understood, or maybe she didn’t care. She came to me when the eyes finally lost hold and said eyes over and over again for the next few hours. But she didn’t cry or even whine. And now they are forgotten.
I’ve had a back up Elmo on hand for years now. So when she went to school the next day I hid away eyeless Elmo and took out the new one. She greeted him happily at first. But after a few minutes it dawned on her and she screamed and screamed for Elmo.
I realized at that moment I had to make a choice. I could stand my ground and eventually she would stop crying and either become attached to the new Elmo or not. But I just couldn’t do it. There are so many instances where it is a matter of safety or something and I have to stand my ground. It seemed unfair to deprive her of a beloved comfort item because I think it looks bad. So I gave it back.
First trip to the zoo
We’ve been taking R. to the zoo since she was a baby. Last year we decided to get a membership because she finally seemed to notice the animals.
We try to switch up our route, so she does not get too fixated on any one thing. For the longest time she only wanted to get out of the stroller at the bear exhibit.
Gradually over the past few months she is getting out of the stroller at different places. Which is great, but she always has to carry Elmo, Ernie and her water cup. It could be worse, but it is still cumbersome.
We were never able to take her into the petting zoo area because she did not want to get out of the stroller, and if she did she had too much stuff. So I really talked it up one day, and told her only Elmo could go see the goats, Ernie and the cup had to wait in the stroller. It actually worked, and she loved seeing the animals up close. Now it is a regular part of our visit.
She likes to ride on the carousel. She sits on my lap on the bench so maybe that doesn’t really count, but she seems to enjoy herself. She also has recently developed a love for the train. I’ve started a rule that only Elmo goes on the rides. Anytime she wants to get out of the stroller, I also insist Ernie and the cup wait for her.
She has been getting out more and more, she will reach out and hand me Ernie and the cup, and I have to be quick so she doesn’t run off somewhere. She is pretty good about looking for me, but it still makes me nervous.
The last time we went to the zoo she jumped out and ran for the train yelling train, train. I think we’ll have to avoid walking by it if I don’t want to take her for a train ride.
R.’s birthday is on Monday, and my Mom has been wanting to get R. a dollhouse for a while now. We put it together and gave it to her yesterday so she would be able to play with it this weekend.
She noticed it the second she came in the house. She was all smiles and saying oh yay while she investigated the entire house. The house came with a Mom, Dad and twin baby dolls. She loves the Dad doll, she brought him to dinner (a space usually reserved for only Elmo and Ernie)
The dollhouse is the Fisher Price Loving Family Dollhouse. My Mom and I spent a few months researching the dollhouses and this seemed like the best one. I do kind of wish it wasn’t pink, but I think R. likes that it is. She likes pink. The house was easy to put together, and it is very sturdy. She has been trying to sit on the side rooms. I guess they do kind of look like a seat.
The house has no electronics, which is fine with me. All the furniture seems to light up or make sounds. I do think it would have been nice to have a working doorbell, even an old school no battery one.
Elmo goes to the zoo
R. has been bringing her plush Elmo everywhere, lately he is usually accompanied by The Count, but sometimes she brings only Elmo. It is somewhat of a security item, but she is playing with it, she treats them like dolls. Elmo gets drinks, food, his fur brushed,the occasional dress or hair bow and he gets to try on R.’s shoes. He dances, gets talked to, shown things and put places.
A little girl approached R at the playground, admiring Elmo and wanting to hold it. She reached for Elmo and R yelled No and pushed her hand away. I was so surprised that I just stood there for a minute and fought the urge to jump up and down yelling Woo hoo she said no to a peer. Then I realized that the little girl’s father was watching me so I made a lame attempt at suggesting R give the girl a turn with Elmo. Lucky for me the girl went on to other pursuits.
It occurred to me that I really did not know the proper way to handle a situation like that. I guess I’ve always thought that anything we brought to the playground was meant to be shared, but they are R.’s toys and Elmo is a security item, should she have to share her security item?
This came up again when we went to the zoo with another autism family who also had a child with security items. It was kind of nice to share our glee that our kids were fighting. We decided that the security items could only be touched by the non-owning child with permission, but the owner had to let the non-owner look at the items. We also decided between us to let them duke it out a bit and only intervene if real kicking or crying was involved. I only had to remove R once because she was kicking and starting to get really upset. She settled quickly and they seemed to come to terms with each other and the temptation.
I’m trying to talk to her more about what will happen when she brings Elmo places – kids are going to look at him, want to hold him. Maybe that will have an impact in time.