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Conscious Parenting.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the impact of what I say. This applies all the time; when talking to anyone.¬†As Jasan gets older, I realize how influential I am to him specifically. It feels like a huge responsibility. I don’t want to screw him up. At the same time, what an honor! There is a little human on this planet that lives and swears by mostly everything I say. I guess I am quite important. ūüôā

This really came to mind on a morning when Jasan came to my bed after he woke up. (He is my alarm clock on non-alarm clock days!) We had a little family argument the night before, and he was very concerned about it. He shed a few tears and just really wanted everything to be ok. I told him, as I was putting him to bed that evening, “Everything will always be ok. Let’s just all sleep and we will feel better in the morning.”

The first thing he said to me as he climbed into my bed that morning was, “Mama, I don’t want to be mean. I want to be a good guy. I feel much better. Are you ok now?” Which I replied, “Yes. I am ok! And just so you know, you are NEVER a bad guy. We all can have bad moments, but you are not a bad person. EVER.”

We laid there in silence, all snuggly, and I thought about how sweet that was. He really absorbed what I said and verbalized it back to me. Umprompted and on his own. WOW! He is growing up. This type of interaction would not have happened last year.

I read this recently, “Give your child the benefit of the doubt when their behavior seems unwarranted. Their immaturity¬†leads them to perceive and respond to the world around them much differently than you.”

THIS COULD NOT BE MORE TRUE; with all children, but especially with our autistic kids.

Some more goodies from  this article:

How we learn to respond or react to life is driven by our interactions with others. And the patterns which are set up in early childhood form the basis of our future relationships – including the one we have with ourselves.

As we mature, we collect, sort, and file away our emotional experiences as reference points. 

A foundation of self-regulation, resiliency, and attachment is built – memory after memory – shaping our perspective, beliefs, self-concept, and outlook.

Everything can be completely changed – mood, behaviors, emotional intelligence, the ability to give and receive empathy, cognitive processing, and even our immune function, by altering how we experience our primary relationships and close attachments.

Choose to give your child quality feedback about how to respond to the world. 

Conscious parenting deepens your child’s trust in the world and secures your influence as something to be regarded as safe and reliable. This cultivates the environment your child needs to develop and thrive – mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Fill the hearts and minds of your children with acceptance, understanding, and confidence. Try these three conscious parenting tips to start building a more influential relationship with your child.

CHECK YOUR LANGUAGE Рis it harsh, sarcastic, cruel, degrading, impatient, insensitive, or otherwise disconnecting in tone or attitude Рverbally or nonverbally, or is it kind, respectful, encouraging, and confident?

CHECK YOUR EXPECTATIONS¬†– is your request developmentally appropriate? How can you help your child? Can you control the environment to meet your needs w/out your child’s help?

CHECK YOUR SELF-REGULATION Рis your manner calm and confident? Are your limits set with kindness regardless of how your child reacts? Can you remain composed and non-argumentative even when your child is not?

Here are a few more points to consider:

13 PRINCIPLES OF CONSCIOUS PARENTING

(by Alfie Kohn)

  1. Be reflective.
  2. Reconsider your requests.
  3. Stay focused on your long-term goals.
  4. Put your relationship first.
  5. Change how you see, not just how you act.
  6. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
  7. Be authentic.
  8. Talk less, ask more.
  9. Be mindful of your child’s age.
  10. Attribute to children the best possible motive consistent with the facts.
  11. Don’t stick to no’s unnecessarily.
  12. Don’t be rigid.
  13. Don’t be in a hurry.

I have discovered many things about myself since becoming a mom, and I have to say, one of the most important for me is DON’T BE IN A HURRY. Jasan (and I assume most autistic children) do not handle transitions easily. He is learning as he grows how to cope, but it has been key for me to HAVE PATIENCE. If I rush the process, it makes the whole experience a million times worse.

I like to think of conscious parenting as really learning my child and responding appropriately to what he needs. It requires looking a little deeper and taking more time. It is also a process of going more within myself and changing my default habits. Default is not better.

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Interpretation of the senses…

How often do you overthink things? Do you find it exhausting or empowering?¬†I am not sure if “overthink” is even the right word to explain what I mean…

Having a relationship with someone who experiences the five senses much differently can be tricky, but also such a learning experience. The older Jasan gets, the more I can pinpoint where his focus is. When we spend time together, there is something to be observed in each interaction. I like to think of this process as diving deep into my connection with him and this foundation will benefit him greatly in his adult relationships.

Sound. He is a big fan of playing iPad games together. I have noticed that he pays so much attention to the audio of the game, almost more than following the rules. He repeats the sounds perfectly (it’s INCREDIBLE!) I have also noticed that his absorption of sound is stored in his CRAZY AMAZING memory. He remembers tones of specific things from so long ago; it’s mind-blowing!

Sometimes I tune him out (which I hate to admit.) It would be impossible to pay attention 100% (like with anything) because the majority of what he spends his time doing is scripting things he has memorized.

Definition: Scripting is the repetition of words, phrases, intonation, or sounds of the speech of others, sometimes taken from movies, but also sometimes taken from other sources such as favorite YouTube videos or something someone else has said.

Because I spend so much time with him, I usually know what he is scripting. If I don’t recognize it, I sometimes ask so that I can get into his world and try to keep him somewhat in mine. I feel like this is another part of deepening the connection. I want him to realize that a fun part of life is interacting with others. I know he loves to be in his own head and he finds comfort in that, but he also needs to tune in to what’s happening around him.

Wash vibrations and sound

Another side to this is that he has shown to be afraid of loud sound. Sometimes he can handle it, sometimes he can’t. Is he expecting the sound or did the sound occur unexpected? How loud does the blender sound to him? If someone raises their voice, does he feel agitated because of what they are saying or how loud the words are being said? What is he focusing on when he listens to a movie or video? When walking into a large crowd of people, what stands out to him? Does he zone in on one sound or are all sounds too much and are overwhelming?

This is where the parental “overthinking” occurs for me. I like to consider all things when determining how to respond to a certain behavior. I don’t see this as a bad thing, I see this as a “mom strength.” I feel having an autistic son has forced me to explore as many possible perspectives because of his different way of seeing the world.

Touch. Don’t even get me started. ūüôā No jeans, no scratchy tags. Only ankle socks. No tie shoes, only shoes that can slip on and off, like crocs or sandals. He loves cuddling. People that he is very comfortable with he has his own way of being touchy feely. I know physical touch is very important to him. But, when he has had enough, he will let you know. ha. He loves water, swimming pools, sand and sunshine. He HATES getting his hair cut and going to the dentist. (Like H A T E S with a passion.) He sleeps completely underneath his blanket, all cozy like a snug bug in a rug.

 

Taste. Oh my. Well, as of now he has a palate for about four things and two drinks. Chicken nuggets, French fries, Home Run Inn cheese pizza with thin crust, and kettle potato chips. Water and unsweetened iced tea, NO LEMON. I have told him time and time again that he is missing out on so many amazing flavors! This subject is a big one for me because I want to feed my child healthy food!! As you can see, his diet is horrible. I am sure that certain textures have to do with the behavior that he has now concretely developed for not even being willing to try new foods. If it looks different, he knows the brand is not the same, pizza slices are cut the wrong way, it’s too well done or not done enough, the list goes on…he won’t eat it. I say a little prayer for the experimental food vibes to hit him at some point. ūüôā

I buy them ALL! Always clearing them out. Pizza jackpot!

Sight. His eyes always zoom right to the objects he is interested in. I see in the photos he takes. It’s so interesting what he concentrates on! It is so different from me. This is another aspect of the senses that has surprised me with Jasan. He is so eclectic. I love it! He knows what he likes, ever since baby age. I remember his crawling towards a computer versus a toy on the ground. Not. Even. Kidding. I have it on video!

Below are some of Jasan’s photographs. This is what he sees and thinks is picture worthy.

Smell. I haven’t noticed him to be super sensitive to smell, which surprises me. I mean, on occasion, yes, but on a regular basis he doesn’t mention any aversions or talk about scents he likes. Lately, he has been asking to smell what other family members are eating. I hope this helps him turn a corner with his eating habits! We’ll see.

It’s a complicated life, but hey. We are all complicated! I am having fun figuring him out.

 

I’ll leave you all with this. If you have an autistic child, you know this is true!

?

 

Claw Machine Madness

One of the things that I find fascinating about Jasan is what he ends up watching on YouTube. He has studied a million washing machines and agitators, hospital equipment, IV’s and medication, all about app ad revenue, vending machines, bill acceptors on vending machines, kids dumpster diving for electronics (oh my…) SO MANY ELEVATORS, elevator parts, elevator animations, getting stuck in elevators, keypad deadbolts, research on cell phones of ALL KINDS, computers (obviously,) how to program thermostats, cash registers, hotel tours, computer logos, LED signs, electronic fails, screensavers, Zach King magic, windows software videos, Microsoft blue screens of death, fire alarms and exit signs, golf cart racing, iPods, appliance unboxing videos, the science max guy, getting scammed on eBay, cell phone battery low alert tones, weather radios, tornado warnings, baby monitors, Lutron lighting switches, refrigerators, dishwashers… and all of this is just compiled from looking through the last 6 months of his YouTube history!¬†Interestingly enough, arcade games made the list. He has been watching these two channels (Arcade Warrior and Arcade Matt) and they video themselves playing all the games and winning tickets at arcades near them. The claw machine is a big one.

The fascination with the claw machine surprised me for some reason. I guess I have never thought much about them and haven’t been a big arcade person myself. But let me tell you; you can find people in the world that are obsessed with anything and everything. Claw machines are major.

I love how he studies the claw from all angles, just like the guys in the videos. Because he is the master of memorization, scripting while playing is always a must.

(Scripting is a form of stimming. By definition: “Stimming is behavior consisting of repetitive actions or movements of a type that may be displayed by people with developmental disorders, most typically autistic spectrum disorders; self-stimulation. A coping mechanism.” I like to describe it as the INCREDIBLE ABILITY to sound EXACTLY like someone or something you have heard before. And, maybe it just makes him feel good!)

I wish he could meet these YouTube guys sometimes. They would be amazed at the knowledge he has of every little move they have made and words they have said in their videos. It’s absolutely mind-blowing.

If it makes my guy happy to take a five bucks to the quarter machine (another highlight) and get a handful of coins to practice his claw skills, I say, “Let’s find more arcades!”

WINNER!

 

 

 

Then there are the home versions…

A few videos for you… Jasan took the last one. Now that he is a bit older, he takes his own photos and videos ALL. THE. TIME. I love it. It’s cool seeing his perspective.

Thanks for reading! More obsessions soon!

 

Truths & Direction.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the direction of this blog. At the beginning of this writing journey, Jasan was younger and honestly, life was easier. Posts were flowing out of me. I had more time that was non-scheduled; we spent more time together and photographing him was a daily occurrence. For those of you that follow us, it has been obvious that I don’t write as much. Why?

Well, I just don’t have time like I used to. Life has changed. We spend more time at school and work. And here is where the “truths” part comes in…

Behavior has become so difficult that it is hard to see the positive sometimes.

storm clouds

When I started Following Jasan, the goal was to help change the perspective on parenting kids with special needs. I still believe this whole-heartedly, but here I am, finding it hard to do this myself. How am I supposed to write when I am drowning over here?

In my last post, I mentioned finding my rose-colored glasses again, and throwing those babies back on. I did, but damn, they fall off a lot. That is the truth.

Dude.

I have to write this because I know I am not the only one. The most powerful moments for me lately are when I am able to connect with someone who GETS IT. I realized how much I need this, otherwise I feel EXTREMELY ALONE. So, I need to write about the hard times. I need to do this.

I am going to do my best to write more, photograph when I can (because I still feel that is a huge part of the way I tell my story) and hopefully help another parent here and there when they read and are able to exhale for a moment because they too can feel understood.

I still have the highest hopes for my son. He is extremely brilliant.¬†At school, they tell me so. But, he is unreachable. He can’t focus. The times that he does are few and far between. Destructive actions are becoming a daily occurrence. Sometimes I just don’t know what to do anymore. He is getting bigger and stronger. Something has got to change.

He has so much potential. I KNOW he does. At home, when it is not a completely structured environment, he plays in his way. He is happy. I watch him and I know. He is able to block out the world and stay in his happy place. (Geez, I wish I could do that as easily as he can!)

But what happens when I need to go run an errand and he doesn’t want to? What if we are on a time schedule and I need to get to a doctor’s appointment but he WILL NOT get into the car? What if we go into a store but he won’t walk with me because he can’t stop focusing on the automatic doors? What if I just simply say “NO” to anything?

HELL. BREAKS. LOSE.

This is where I feel I have had patience for so many years, but now that he is older, stronger and has a will fiercer than ever, I have LOST MINE. I hate that feeling. It is a completely powerless and hopeless place. When I am running on fumes (because I don’t get the normal “me” time to recharge) it feels impossible to be the mom I want to be. My rose-colored glasses fall into the abyss.¬†Somehow I am going to have to find the strength from somewhere to stand my ground. I feel at this point if I don’t, I am helping create a monster who will run anyone and everyone over.

I struggle with this. A lot. I know he is different from the norm. I want him to be himself and live freely to be exactly who he is, but society doesn’t. I know he has come here to be a teacher to me and others. He has changed me forever because of his autistic ways and I love him beyond any amount of words could tell you. But, when life and the “way the world works” comes into play, he doesn’t want to go with the flow. Here is the double-edged sword: I don’t want to live my life being a tyrant mother forcing him to do things, but I also don’t want to have to walk on eggshells around my own son when he is on edge so that he won’t hurt me or be destructive. How do we both be happy? How do we both flow and live in this society being who we both individually want to be? Do I have to feel like I constantly lose myself in this process? I have done that so many times because I just sacrifice for my child. I would give my life for him without question. I believe there has to be a way that we can live in harmony and be who we both want to be.

I have lots of beautiful and tender moments with him. I wake up and feel so blessed that he is with me. I love who he is. The behavior that I don’t love IS NOT WHO HE REALLY IS. The behavior issues come from the inability to communicate effectively. The sensory processing issues that deter him from being able to regulate his body. It is the will inside of him to NOT be CHANGED. Growing up, becoming more aware of his surroundings and taking in more information that he can’t always process all at once. All of these things are so huge. Sometimes I wish I could trade places with him so I could know what he is going through…

Through all of this, I am trying so very hard to remember my mantra:

EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS WORKING OUT FOR ME.

I love Jasan with such a fierceness that when times are painful, they feel unbearable. It is a love beyond any comparison. I hang on to this so tightly. I know that positivity always wins. We will get through this somehow. I am determined to thrive and I know he is too.

One of my favorite people, who I know GETS IT, took this photo of Jasan. It has to be one of my all time favorite images. It is a moment in time that completely has captured his HAPPY AMAZINGNESS.

This, my friends, is my JASAN.

Jasan

Photo taken by: Janet Kay

I declare to the world that I LOVE HIM!!!!!! There is NOTHING that I wouldn’t do to help guide his life to be a complete success.

<3

 

 

 

 

 

Numbers & Letters…

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Jasan loves numbers.

And letters.

He has been sounding out words and reading since he was 2 1/2. He loves watching shows like Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, and plays Bingo with me because of the numbers and words attraction.

I decided that I would start an on going numbers and letters photo series for him…

photo 3

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I am having fun with it… these are just a few. Someday I will do something cool with them all and gift it to him.

Maybe on Valentine’s Day. <3

 

Details & studying EVERY single move.

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Jasan has been all about the lawn mower and related mechanical outdoor items forever. His Grampie is very detailed about his lawn and during the summer, all the cool landscaping tools are out being utilized. I know that being interested in the lawnmower is a typical boy thing, but what I found to be interesting about this recent scenario (pictured above) was how Jasan was interpreting and acting out the mowing experience now that he is older.

This was one of those afternoons where all of the Cherry Street kids were out on their bikes and Jasan was no exception. As soon as Matt (a.k.a. Grampie/my stepfather) started mowing, he immediately started following alongside his every pass up and down the lawn. It was adorable. The kids surrounding him were now of no interest, and all of his focus was on that lawnmower and Matt’s every move. (The image above makes me laugh because I am the distraction here. He is looking at right at me in this moment because I was about to be in the way, practically laying in the grass to get my shot…otherwise his eyes were locked on the lawnmower and his Grampie!)

What I found to be mesmerizing is, for example, how he was waiting for the EXACT moment to turn his bike the same direction Matt would move the lawnmower…EVERY TIME. Jasan learns so much by acting out his experiences. It’s almost as if he puts his body and mind into what is happening literally right next to what is actually going on. He is taking in new information, studying it, and simultaneously acting it out with his body no matter what he may be doing (like riding his bicycle.) He does this often in so many different areas of life and it’s fascinating!

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Then…this happened a few days ago. Matt started mowing again and Jasan immediately dropped what he was doing, grabbed his little lawnmower and mimicked every little thing Matt did. Not just for part of the lawn and then lost interest, but for the whole thing. Every time Matt pushed a button or moved a lever, Jasan did the exact same movement on his little mower.

So stinkin’ cute!

And SOOOO DETAIL ORIENTED!

LOVE IT.

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Love & Bedtime.

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I shot the photo above a few nights ago while Jasan was in bed with his flashlight. It’s part of our lengthy bedtime routine, but as long as we follow it, he goes to sleep without a problem. Usually, he falls asleep to music every night, but¬†tonight he switched it up on me.

A couple of days ago he was perusing through the music on our iPad and came across this song. He has been stuck on it since he heard it. This was his request for sleeping music…this one song, on repeat. Because it is mellow and something he could most definitely fall asleep to, I obliged.

Up until tonight, part of his sleeping routine included dancing to one song before we turn off the small lamp in his room. Tonight was different though: he wanted me to hold him. I picked him up and cradled him in my arms. We danced around the room just like we used to when he was teeny tiny. (I used to dance with him to all different kinds of music when he was a baby. I would hold him, dance to the music and gently tap his body so he could feel the beats of the music through my hands and my body movements. Now that I know he is autistic, I am even happier that I made a point to do that daily. I am sure that is a lovely body memory for him.)

Tears started streaming down my face while I started listening to the lyrics of this song. (He loved the dancing so much that he requested it three times in a row. I couldn’t say no!) Each time I connected to something different. I know that this is a love song intended for a romantic relationship, but I’m changing it around tonight.

I have realized, on many different occasions now, how extremely connected my son and I are. He knows what is going on within me just as much as I know what is going on within him. There is something undeniable about our situation and our existence together. I have been in a bit of a funk all day, and so has he. But at the end of the day, when it is all said and done, here we are. Together. In our comfort zone, doing what we always do. God works through Jasan so much to speak to me.

The whisper I heard was to listen to these lyrics as if it’s my relationship with my autistic son. It’s beautiful, and it’s a journey. Having a child has shown me how deep love runs. Jasan has shown me how MIND BLOWING love IS. Real LOVE enhances our existence here on Earth. Having my son and embarking on this journey of self-discovery has brought me to a place of happiness that is hard to describe.

I Won’t Give Up

When I look into your eyes
It’s like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
Well there’s so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

And when you’re needing your space
To do some navigating
I’ll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

‘Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We’ve got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it
No, I won’t give up
I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use the tools and gifts
We got yeah we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you’re still my friend at least we didn’t tend
For us to work we didn’t break, we didn’t burn
We had to learn, how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I got, and what I’m not
And who I am

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up
I’m still looking up

I won’t give up on us
God knows I’m tough, he knows
We got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

I won’t give up when times get hard as a parent. I won’t give up trying to figure this autism thing out. When I get sidetracked in life sometimes, all I need to do is look into Jasan’s eyes. He is my focus. Continuing to unravel my layers and become more self aware in my own personal journey enhances how I relate to my son. There is no other way than to stay positive. I have made that choice for us.

I could have gone down another path and been frustrated with my “single mom with autistic kid” status, but no way. God did intend for Jasan and me NOT TO BREAK. We are learning to understand each other’s different realities, and the world is not going to bring us down. Jasan’s energy is addictive to others. He is going to BE SOMETHING GREAT. We are going to be a great team together. That’s my attitude. That’s my intention for him and how I will guide him.

If I don’t keep learning about who I am, we won’t grow together. As I learn and change, I become better for BOTH of us. When he ages and needs to go and navigate, I WILL be waiting for him. I WILL be here to guide him when he needs me to. I will always be his Mama rock. I will be his safe haven…his consistency. Unconditional love.

I needed that attitude adjustment tonight and our bedtime routine led me right to it.

Thank you son. Thank you for enriching my life more than you will ever know.

<3

Happy Father’s Day to all the deserving fathers out there.

Water, Waves & Chasing Birds.

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Jasan has always loved water. This makes me very happy because I too, have always been a big fan of the water. The pool, the beach, all of it. The first experience Jasan had with waves was at the age of 2 when we took a quick trip to Michigan with my father. It was a 3-day stay right on Lake Michigan at this cute little cottage. Day one was spectacular… perfect temperature and calm waters. Jasan was having a blast in the water! Day two and three the waves were up and about, and he was quite frightened to go near the water. This was the first beach experience for him and he didn’t want much to do with sand toys and such.

Fast forward 2 years and our experience at the beach was much different! He found the sand to be of some interest, not necessarily to use buckets and shovels to play with, but definitely to kick in the air. Ha! (Not so funny though, when you get sand in your eyes…good thing that didn’t occur.) The waves were a huge hit! We developed a routine. I would walk in the water behind him as he held my hands. He would lead, and we inched our way deeper into the water and CRASHED into the waves with our bodies. I would pull him up a bit with his arms so that salt water would not get in his eyes as the waves came up on us. Of course I added the “WEEEEEE!!!” sound effect with each crash. (It’s a Heidi mama thing…)

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Jasan being a sensory seeker, crashing into waves makes total sense. I love how as he is becoming more aware of his surroundings he is being brave! He wasn’t afraid at all. AWESOME.

 

The pool is always fun. He LOVES the pool and always has. (Who wouldn’t love a HUGE bathtub?) My little dude will NOT wear floaties. He will not allow me to even get them near him. As much as the floaties would be much more convenient for me (they are so well made now that kids could literally be in the pool without you…) my thought process is, he will not have a false sense of safety in the pool. I need to be with him at all times, but I would want to be anyway. This way we stay connected and he learns how the water REALLY feels. I’m guessing this will speed up his learning curve when it comes time to actually swim.

The lovely Far Horizons, where we stayed in Redington Beach, has a pool for guest use, and is situated right on the beach. Pretty dreamy. This was great for us to have both (pool/ocean) literally steps from our hotel room.

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Since it had been almost a year since last when we had been swimming, it took a day for him to get really warmed up to the idea of going “under.” It was almost like he forgot that he had done it before. We had a little oops where he went under, and then it was ON. We would go under together, one at a time, hold our breath for as long as we could, float, “swim” 4 year old style…it was fabulous.

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Jasan was big on GPS during this trip. It was a continuing theme the whole time we were there. It started in the shuttle from the airport. He requested my iPhone, which he does often during car trips, to load Maps and start the GPS. Then seeing the shuttle driver with his devices, his brain went into GPS & Garmin overload. (And remember, Jasan, being in our friend’s Piper Cherokee airplane, has been obsessed with Garmin ever since he¬†first sat in the cockpit. Garmin, in any case, is always a BIG DEAL to him. It all goes back to the airplane…definitely in his “most awesome experiences” brain file.)

While we were in the pool, I would sometimes lay on a raft. He would push me out into the deep end, and would make up his own directions as I floated away. He remembered that we were staying on Gulf Boulevard, so when I would return to the shallow end and float under the railing (a.k.a. “the bridge,”) I was returning to Gulf Boulevard. Hilarious. I loved it.

 

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Not a new concept for all kids, but it was new one for Jasan. Chasing birds. He had never seen birds of this size before, so the fact that they were just hanging out all over the place was the coolest. And why not try to touch one? Again, awesome that he wasn’t afraid. The game became to make them fly. Most of the time, he was too quick for me to get a great shot!

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So close…

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If only he could reach! He wanted me to pick him up. That made me giggle.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of cloudy days during our Florida stay. So on a day with a high chance of rain, we returned to this cute shopping area. The birds must like this spot, because they were still there.

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I was totally loving how happy this made him!

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And, anytime I get eye contact when taking a photo… BONUS!

The last evening we were in Florida, the three of us (Grammie, Jasan & me) took a walk on the beach. (Note the pinwheel: if it spins, Jasan loves it. That was the purchase he wanted to make during our cloudy weather shopping spree.)

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And then… THIS HAPPENED.

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YES!!!

I was ready to shoot this time.

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The chasing birds theme has continued even now that we are home in Illinois. It isn’t quite the same, but it makes us both smile… that’s what counts.