1. He has yet to outgrow his fascination with garbage trucks and garbage cans. Every Tuesday night he rolls the garbage cans out to the curb, and every Wednesday morning he gets up early so he can watch the garbage trucks go up and down the street and collect the garbage. Sometimes he is so excited for the garbage truck to come that he wakes up at 3 a.m. and can’t get back to sleep. He knows which week they collect recycling and which week they collect yard waste. He knows which items are recyclable and which aren’t. At school the custodian takes him on his rounds to pick up the recycling from all of the classrooms. At home he draws pictures of garbage cans, recycling cans and yard waste cans. He cuts out the pictures. Then he places all the pictures of the garbage cans on the floor in a perfect replica of how they are laid out in our neighborhood on garbage day. Then he pretends to be the garbage truck and lifts each garbage can picture over his head and dumps its imaginary contents in his imaginary hopper. You can’t interrupt this ritual. God help you if you need to go anywhere or do anything with him before garbage collection is complete.
2. He is incapable of sleeping in. No matter what time he went to bed the night before, he always wakes up between 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. If we’re lucky, he lets us sleep a little later.
3. Every week after speech therapy, we go to Safeway, where he buys a medium fountain drink (root beer, mostly ice), a box of popsicles, and two cans of shaving cream. When we get home, he uses the shaving cream to write words on our front porch. (He used to do it on the sidewalk in front of our house, but the weather got too cold and wet and it also got too dark after therapy was over. Now the weather is warming up and Daylight Saving Time is on again, but he’s a creature of habit.) At first he wrote the days of the week. Then he wrote the names of presidents. Currently, I believe, he writes the months of the year.
4. Speaking of months of the year, he is also obsessed with calendars. He likes to draw his own calendars and he likes to type them up in Microsoft Word and print them out. We have thousands of Elvis-generated calendars floating around this house. He likes to look at old calendars from previous years. He likes to X out the days that have passed. He knows when all the school holidays are and when everyone’s birthday is. He has the school lunch menu calendar memorized.
5. He no longer asks me to throw balls up on a roof so he can watch them roll down again. He throw the balls over the roof himself and runs around to the front of the house to watch them roll down the driveway and into the street. He can do this for hours.
6. He loves school. He loves to do homework. He has also learned to read this year.
7. He turned seven on April 2, while I was in Japan, and I totally forgot to post this until just now. It is the first time I’ve ever missed posting on any of my kids’ birthdays, and yes, I am a little pissed about it, but that’s more about me, not him.
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And now for the nostalgia portion of the program…
When I started this blog, Elvis was a mere thirteen months old. He was still in physical therapy. (It’s hard to believe that my most coordinated and athletic child was ever in physical therapy.) He was talking; a year later, he had stopped talking. He was still just a baby, and there was so little I knew about him. I didn’t know then, had absolutely no suspicions that he was autistic. When I think back on that time, though, I realize that he was always Elvis. He was always this unbearably sweet, destructive force of nature.
Here is a list I compiled of his favorite pastimes on May 19, 2004:
1. electrocuting himself
2. choking on something
3. playing with something sharp that could poke his eye out
4. pulling down heavy objects onto his feet and/or head
5. eating spoiled food he found on the floor
6. playing in the toilet (I know, now you’re really grossed out)
7. going down the stairs headfirst
8. crawling into the line of his siblings’ swings
9. throwing expensive electronic equipment across the room
10. drawing with markers or ball point pens (not on paper)
11. ripping pages out of books
12. crawling into the street
13. pulling up on unstable pieces of furniture
14. making long distance phone calls
15. ripping my face off
16. sinking his teeth into my flesh
17. playing the piano…and then climbing on top of it
18. emptying the laundry hamper
19. emptying the trash can
20. screaming at the top of his lungs
And this one I added a few days later:
21. Dropping stuff over the side of the tub and then leaning over to get it so he can fall into the tub.
HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY, ELVIS!!!