Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

“Can you send them out to play?” March 28, 2017

I pull up to our mailbox and am met by 2 little boys on bikes; Victor and Chase.  They live in our neighbourhood and are out enjoying the nearly 80 degree temperatures.  Everyone feels good when the temps start heading into the 70’s and 80’s after winter.

Victor greets me:


“Hi, what’s your name?  You live right there right?  I know your son.  Well, both of them.  Do you ever go to Tory’s?  My Mom works there.  Where are your sons?  Can you send them out to play?”


I tell him that once I get inside I will see what they are doing and I’ll let him know.  Chase, who is only 7, assures me that it’s OK for me to send them out, because he’s old enough to take care of them.  It makes me laugh.  Kids are the best.


Even though he had already showered and was already pajama’d, Ace was all in.  Jay thought the hassle of changing clothes and then re-showering was not worth it so he opted to stay inside.


Ace, now back in the clothes he had worn to school, grabbed his scooter and off he went.

Shaunie and I enjoyed our own version of the nice weather.  Dinner in the kitchen with the door open, cold beers and a quiet house.


After some time, Ace came in to say that the boys had decided to eat their dinners outside together.  At this point, Jay was half way through his own dinner, but as it turns out, eating outside > changing clothes and taking 2 showers, so he too, lost the pj’s, grabbed a scooter, his plate, his cup and was out the door in a flash.


*When did we get to the point where I could allow Jay to go outside and play without any adult supervision?  No, seriously.  Who are we?*



Despite the major shake up in the routine with the eating outside and the other boys still outside hanging out, while we were upstairs we heard Jay come inside.  He had come back to wash his plate and cup.  Because that’s what they do.  They eat, and then they wash their dishes.  And well … Autism.

Ace did not come home to wash his dishes and in fact, we realized later that night when they were already asleep that he never brought his stuff home at all.  So our neighbours probably have a plastic plate and a cup sitting on their front grass right now.  Because, well … ADHD.


THIS is what I like.  Simple, happy, days.  This is the life I want for my boys.  I love to see them this way.

Lucky for me, they all made a plan to meet up again this evening to have some more fun.


And Then He Came Back November 7, 2016

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Uncategorized — The B Side @ 10:59 am
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I’ve written many times about my little love sponge Ace and how he’s not a rough and tough kinda kid.  He’s a loveable, cuddleable, mushy, prone-to-being-clumsy, kinda kid.  He’s not a basket baller or even a ride-bikes-around-the-neighbourhgood-with-the-other-children kinda kid.  In lieu of sports teams, he’s opted for enginereing clubs and the like.   He likes to be pampered and spoiled and waited on.

This is not a complaint about him … It’s just an explanation of who he is.


This past weekend we went to New Jersey and as soon as we pulled up in front of the in-laws house, some kids invited Ace to join their game of basketball.  To my surprise, he accepted their invite and stayed outside while the rest of us went inside.

After a while (longer than I expected), he came inside and I assumed he’d had enough.  Nope.  He came inside because he had fallen (I’m not sure how) and had ripped a hole in his (brand new) jeans and was sporting a couple of bloody cuts/scrapes on his knee. My first thought was that I was surprised that he wasn’t crying.  He did not even appear to be upset.  I knew for sure his outside time was over though.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

He loudly pronounced that he scored the touchdown he was running for – And that was AFTER he had gotten injured.

Apparently they had switched from basketball to American football.  I’ve never seen my kid play football.  I didn’t even know that he knew what a touchdown was.

Following his pronouncement, dude got his knee cleaned and bandaged up, laced up his sneakers and went right back out to play.


Who was this child?


Later that evening, he was laying in bed, with his foot up on the footrest, watching TV.  I told the kids it was time to go.  They don’t get a lot of time to watch TV so I was sure they wouldn’t be ready to leave just yet.  Ace very dramatically said “Mom, I can’t get up now.  Remember my knee.  I think I need to stay off my leg for a while.”


Gone was the tough guy who played through his injury and back was my boy who would rather relax in front of the TV and who couldn’t function because he had a scraped knee 🙂 .


Good Problems June 13, 2012

For a long time, (meaning 4 years), we had one kid (Ace) who was an attention lover and one kid (Jay) who preferred to linger in the background.  Ace could make friends with a lamp post.  I’m pretty sure he has.  Ace could talk anyone, and I do mean ANYONE, to death.  He’s bubbly and is all show-man, all the time.  Entertaining, singing songs, cheesing for the camera, dressing up.  He’s funny and charming and genuinely wants to make us and other people happy.  That’s his thing.  Making people laugh.  It’s a wonderful trait.


Jay, on the other hand … well … my Jay tried to be inconspicuous.  He would never seek out attention.  He would play quietly by himself.  He would come if we called him, but he would never take it upon himself to interrupt a conversation or join in any activity without an invitation.  He never injected himself loudly and obviously into any group.  He would be the one off in the corner minding his own business.  The one that was not in the mix.  He was no social butterfly.


It worked well for both my boys.  Ace got to be the star of the show and Jay got to go un-noticed.  Ace got to do all the “talking” for Jay and Jay got to sit back and have Ace do all his work.


With Jay’s “behind the scenes” personality come some benefits for us too.  Jay never really got into any trouble.  He never accidentally broke anything.  He never tripped over his own feet and injured himself.  He rarely had to be told to “wait a minute” or “clean up that mess“.  He didn’t complain when it was bed time and he didn’t write on walls or wander off.  Ever!  He didn’t lose his toys or rip his pants.  He was a rule follower.


It seems though that now-a-days Jay is coming out of his shell.  He’s taking more initiative. When he wants something he finds a way to tell you.  When he needs attention he comes and gets it.  He’s become a little parrot.  He still struggles with initiating requests but with prompting he will repeat almost anything we say.  He’s working hard to talk to us.  I see him thinking – a lot.  He’s learning.  He’s trying.  He wants to be with us.  He gets ideas in his head about what he wants to do and comes to us for help.  He’s putting demands on us and gets mad when we don’t comply.  And yes, he is now being mischievous.


* He sees me trying to fold and put away a pile of clothes and *light bulb* he jumps onto the bed, looks at me through the corners of his eyes, smirks just a little, and then pushes the entire pile onto the floor and says – with much dramatic flair – “OH DEAR!”.  Just when I’m about to grab him he laughs and jumps out of my reach.

Next thing I know he’s on the floor, in my pile of clothes, throwing them up in the air and laughing as they land on his head.


* He’s coming to give me a good night kiss and on the way stops.  The cat is laying on the floor.  Jay stands for a while – the wheels are turning in his head.  He knows he shouldn’t.  He looks back and forth between me and the cat.  He won’t move until he’s sure that I see him and I know what he’s about to do.  I give him that “you better not” look and he smirks and stomps on the cats tail and jumps into my lap and kisses me through giggles.


These are the kinds of things that another 4 year old may or should get in trouble for but not my Jay.

It’s like breathing new air to me to see his personality become so vibrant.

The inserting himself into MY activity.  The mischief of a typical 4 year old.  The looking and waiting for my reaction.  The joy of anticipation.  The “knowing” that he’s doing something wrong.  The wanting me to respond to his antics.  The way he uses the tools he has (since he can’t talk) to say “look at me mummy“.  The pretending that it was an accident.  The way he loves that I hug him and tickle him and pretend spank him.  The pure JOY that we’re playing because he wants to.


The cat will be ok and the clothes don’t matter.




Play Share Enjoy May 14, 2012

  • Doesn’t make eye contact (e.g. look at you when being fed).
  • Doesn’t smile when smiled at.
  • Doesn’t respond to his or her name or to the sound of a familiar voice.
  • Doesn’t point or wave goodbye or use other gestures to communicate.
  • Doesn’t follow the gesture when you point things out.
  • Doesn’t make noises to get your attention.
  • Doesn’t initiate or respond to cuddling.
  • Doesn’t imitate your movements and facial expressions.
  • Doesn’t play with other people or share interest and enjoyment.
  • Doesn’t ask for help or make other basic requests.
  • Lack of empathy. Difficulty understanding another person’s feelings, such as pain or sorrow.
  • Stereotyped behaviors. These may include body rocking and hand flapping.
  • A need for sameness and routines.
  • Preoccupation with certain topics. For example, older children and adults may be fascinated by video games, trading cards, or license plates.


I’ve read and heard all of the above many times used to describe autism signs/symptoms.  I’ve spent a couple of years worrying about all of them – and all the other signs/symptoms that aren’t on that list and thinking that Jay would always be that way.

Almost 2 years after his diagnosis, Jay no longer matches with any of the above.  Sure, he’s still autistic but he doesn’t fit neatly into any of those dots.

Some he never did and the rest have improved significantly or simply are no longer an issue.  That is what I need to remember on days when I feel like we’re losing the battle.


Today I want to focus on the “Doesn’t play with other people or share interest and enjoyment.”


Lets see?  On Saturday we went to the park with a neighbour and his 4 year old son.  It was the best weather day we’ve had all year.  Or maybe the 2nd best.  Either way, it was a beautiful day and the kids and I were itching to be outside.


When we got to the park, all the kids ran straight for the climbing thingy with the slide and wobbly bridge etc.  They all played TOGETHER.  There was no prompting on my part.  No urging by Ace.  It happened organically.  The younger ones tried to follow the older ones up the funky ladders (without success).  They all looked at the sliding pole and decided against it.  Ace helped pull Jay over the threshold as he got to the top after walking UP the slide.  They played tag.  When 1 stopped for a juice break, they all stopped for a juice break.  When 1 fell and hurt his leg, they all stopped playing until he was feeling better.


Then my neighbour tried to engage them in a game of football (soccer).  Jay checked it out (for 0.7 seconds) and decided it wasn’t for him so he instead went back to the play apparatus.  Ace and the neighbours son ran around kicking the ball (dribbling) and scoring goals and falling over and trying to tackle the ball away from each other for quite some time.  They were having a great time.  They all kept calling to Jay for him to come join them but he simply wasn’t interested.

He pulled me to the swings and we swung.

He didn’t seem at all perturbed that the other boys were playing without him.  It wasn’t his thing so he found something else to entertain himself.

I realized, that’s always what he does.  He joins in when he wants to, and when he doesn’t he just finds something else to do.  Is that so bad?  I mean, don’t we all tell our kids not to give in to peer pressure?  I don’t think I’ll need to teach Jay that lesson.


When they were done with football (still soccer), they began a water gun fight with 2 other boys who were there and Jay was all over that one.  He shot people and got shot and laughed and came back to the adults for a re-fill and so it went until it was time to go home.



When we’re home, Ace ALWAYS wants to play with Jay.  Sure, sometimes, Jay just wants to be left alone with his i-pad but there are many times when they jump on the bed together, they chase each other and they watch TV, they play with bean bag chairs and they invent new ways to play on the bunk bed ladder (much to CC’s fretting) and they build contraptions and they really enjoy each others company.


On another day I’ll give specific examples of how my Jay “gets our attention” or “initiates cuddling” or “shows flexibility with his routine”.   Maybe I can turn this into some sort of series.  For today, though, I’m gonna stop worrying about all the above dots from some website and tuck this little nugget of info away …

while he may only  play with other people or share interest and enjoyment on his own terms … he does play and he does share his interests and he does have enjoyment.