"Mom, did you know...."
This was the beginning of a very, very long sentence in which Chef attempted to explain to me everything that happened in "The Rise and Fall of the British Empire" by Lawrence James. The next day, he started reading "Sarum" by Edward Rutherfurd. Chef's also been reading cookbooks and books about autism.
Chef is also making "pictures to sell" in hopes of starting his own business. He's generally spending a couple of minutes on each picture. In the past, Chef has done some very nice, simple watercolour pieces, and agrees that he wants to have a website to sell some, but when it comes down to doing the base-work for them (drawing the shapes before painting), it's back to mass-producing very basic pictures in very short order.
Chef is frequently talking about wanting to sell items at the local farmers' market. Last week, while at the market for our first time, he suddenly pulled out from his binder of papers a loose piece of canvas he'd painted months ago and announced to me that he was going to sell it. I reminded him that we weren't there as vendors (just playing music for now) and didn't have a sales table set up, and that he could gladly sell some items sometime when we've made plans together regarding what would be reasonable items to sell. Then he realized a lot of baked goods were being sold. This week, there have been many many lists of recipe names, with frequent verbal reminders of the additional need for cookbook names and page numbers. There's also been one long list of necessary ingredients proudly presented to me one day just as we were walking out the door to shop for groceries. Excellent planning! Unfortunately the list only contained the names of the items needed - no amounts, no reference back to the recipe, etc. Chef seemed very disappointed when he realized his ingredient-list was for naught and seemed deflated at the suggestion that he could still use the list and try to figure out the recipes that matched the ingredients, or try again with a new list and let me know when he was working on it so I could help him.
Everything new is step-by-step. It's nice to know there's a degree of motivation that's starting to surface. Hopefully that will stay long enough to smooth out the bits that Chef is finding to be challenging/disappointing.
This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom (http://richesofsimplicity.blogspot.com/) of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.