Technically, it is now Monday so why did I title this "Sleepy Sunday?" Because from about 5 p.m. or so till after 10:30 tonight, that's what I was and sleep -well, that's what I did! And it wasn't because I was up all night last night either. No, last night I was asleep by 10 p.m. But as my system likes to lead me by the nose ya know, I was awake, unable to go back to sleep then by 4 a.m. and up from then till I crashed late this afternoon.
Mandy, Kate, Maya and I did manage to make it out this morning to church though. Just about froze our collective keisters off too, we did! Boy, was it ever cold today!
Got to church and one friend of mine there came up to me as soon as we walked into the narthex, advising me NOT to hang my coat up because it was very cold inside there today. Seems the furnace had run out of fuel and the church council president was out getting some cans filled with fuel oil. He didn't make it back in time even for the end of the service though. I generally don't hang my coat up anyway because even if the heat is on and all is functioning normally, I tend to freeze easily. (My delicate being that I am you know. )
All things considered - who we were dealing with there this morning (i.e. Maya), things went fairly well. She didn't go into any meltdown at any rate and that is a big bonus right off the top!
Before the service began, she was playing with a little children's paper that's available as a means to try to keep kids quiet and occupied during the service. She had a pencil and wanted to write but then decided Mandy should write things on the paper for her so they had a little game going then where Mandy would ask Maya how to spell various names, etc. She knows how to spell her own name and occasionally, she can figure out - or remember, whatever - "Mommy" and "Daddy." Now and then she even remembers how to spell "Gram" too. Today, at first, every name Mandy asked her about, Maya insisted they all started with an "S" - where she got that or why she was fixated on that particular letter, who knows. But, it all worked well to keep her busy, happy and relatively quiet -although Maya's version of a whisper is really much more of a very loud stage whisper so people at least three pews in front of us could easily hear her. That, plus the fact attendance was quite low today too - probably the fact we currently have no minister and the really low temps didn't quite make getting out of bed, leaving one's nice warm house very appealing.
Shortly before the service was to start, my neighbor next door, her children, a family friend and her daughter's boyfriend all filed in to the last pew - about two or three seats behind us. Maya spied them and of course, started pointing to each one, naming them - including calling out when she spied Alina's (Neighbor's daughter) boyfriend - "There's Oscar!" That, by the way, IS NOT his name but for some reason, Maya refuses to call him Chris and since she began identifying him, she has always called him "Oscar." Fortunately, Chris doesn't object - actually seems to get a big chuckle out of it. After about 5 minutes after the service began, Maya decided she HAD to go sit with Lina and "Oscar" so away she went. (Fortunately, Lina and "Oscar" don't mind when she comes to visit and sit with them for a while at the services, so that works quite well then too.)
She was back there with them for maybe 5 possibly 10 minutes and then came back up to sit with Mandy and me - Kate had moved back to sit with Deb and her family as soon as she saw them come in.
Maya was back to playing with the paper and pencil but dropped the pencil and it rolled under the pew in front of us - which happened - thankfully - to be empty. She tried to get down on the floor and retrieve it from our pew but couldn't reach it so Mandy let her go up and get the pencil. Always a bit scary to allow her out of your reach because you never know if something -or someone else - will catch her eye and she may decide to go on a little roaming amongst the gloaming ya know. Today, things were on our side as she picked up the pencil and came back and sat down.
Moving along - time for the sermon - and the lay person from our parish who was in charge of the service today had even prepared a little "children's sermon" and prior to beginning the regular sermon he asked if there were any children who would like to come up and sit with him for the children's sermon. Now, this is something we've never advocated Maya try - for obvious reasons - but when she saw a little girl across the aisle (Jenny) and the neighbor girl, Kylier, go up there, she decided all on her own, she wanted to go up to the altar for the children's sermon too. It was with a lot of trepidation that Mandy let her go and trust me when I tell you this, our hearts were in our mouths too because you never know what she's liable to pop out with either! She went skipping down the aisle and surprised the heck out of us when she sat down at the altar beside Kylie and just sat there, quiet, nice, very well-behaved and when Lee had finished the children's sermon, she came back to our pew just as nice as can be too! (I really think a lot of these behaviors have come about thanks to the preschool program she's been enrolled in since this past September.)
Well, now comes the real test though - the full sermon! Those things can be tricky even for adults to cope with at times. Let's be honest - you know I'm right there. But a four-year-old with autism -it can be downright disastrous. Today, she was fairly good although she started getting restless, wanting to crawl under the pews and such and at one time, Mandy reached down and caught her arm, to retrieve her. Bad move! When Mandy did that, there was a very audible sentence that came from Maya - "You're pinching me!" Then, as Maya got situated back in the pew, Mandy had her arm again, trying to help her get settled and again, Maya spoke out - loud enough that I'm sure everyone heard her as she looked at Mandy and told her "You're hurting my arm!" Trust me, Mandy didn't even have a firm grip on the child, much less one that would have pinched or hurt her in anyway. She does know pretty much now how to "pick her battles" I guess you could say. There were other things she said and did -too many for me to remember right now but overall, her behavior was quite good and she really made both Mandy and I proud for trying so hard to behave properly today.
We got out into the car and were heading up to the local grocery store and Mandy was giggling because she had her cell phone with her in church - had it in her purse on vibrate but throughout the service, she was getting text messages on it from Carrie -my older daughter. So as we pulled out from the parking lot, Mandy called her sister to see what was going on. As it turned out, Carrie said she and Robert had Alex (my grandson) this weekend and they were planning to come up this afternoon. I had Mandy ask her what they might like for dinner and Carrie's response was "Chicken." So now, I had to figure out what to fix for dinner today and also, to pick up some chicken at the store. I decided I would fix not one, but two large pans of Chicken Divan, because the family generally all really likes that and one pan would make for too skimpy servings. So I picked up the necessities to fix that, got a copy of the Sunday paper and headed out to the car to put the stuff in the trunk.
Let me tell you - I don't have a clue what the temps were this morning but by the time I got the trunk open, four small bags in there, close the darn thing and get into the car, my fingers were like mini-icebergs! Man, was it ever cold! I could hardly wait to get home, get a nice cup of hot coffee and a fresh donut, plunk myself down at the dining room table with the Sunday crossword puzzle and relax, enjoy a bit of brainteasing with the old crossword thing. I swear, I am addicted to that thing in the Sunday paper! Can't seem to get my system to kick into even low gear until I have that little routine over and done with.
So, about noon, I started preparations of our meal - got the broccoli cleaned and cooked, same with the chicken. Fixed a bowl of baked beans, made two apple crisps and coleslaw - all was done, ready for Carrie, Robert and Alex as well as my son, Clate and his girlfriend, Teresa, to roll in. And, considering the fact Carrie is normally late for any family function, we were wondering what time we would be able to eat since Carrie had said they would be here around 3 p.m. I was thinking if she runs true to form, it would be 5 p.m. probably - at least -before they got here.
Imagine my surprise, my shock, when they pulled in out front at 2:19 p.m.! Astonishing! Yes indeed it was! I told Mandy that she, Kate and I should all stand at the entrance to the dining room and as Carrie walked in, we should clasp our hands across our chests and say (in Fred Sanford style, ya know) "This is it, "Lisbeth. It's the big one. I'se comin'!" Mandy decided she didn't think that would be a good idea and would probably only serve to piss Carrie off so my idea got voted down then. However, someone else in the family didn't get the "we won't do that" drill and as they were walking down the sidewalk, Maya blurted out "This is it, Lisbeth!" No one coached her at all to say that!
Sitting at the kitchen counter then, talking to Carrie over a cup of coffee, I told her what I had wnated to do and that Mandy had nixed the idea but then Maya had piped up with that little phrase. Carrie was howling laughing then and her comment to me was "Are you sure she's really autistic and just not sarcastic?" Some times, it does make one wonder.
Maya was zipping all over the place then - sometimes not being all that well-behaved either and at one point, I had reprimanded her for something or other she'd done and as she walked away from me, she muttered, under her breath - "Bitch!" Which immediately brought about a lot of finger-pointing and blaming as to who she'd probably heard say that - who was at fault there more, me or Mandy and we decided that is more likely a "Mandy" phrase. Not that I don't say that from time to time, but it is more common to hear Mandy mutter that most of the time here.
After dinner -which by the way, turned out very nicely, if I do have to say so myself, I collapsed on the couch! Pretty much just folded up like an accordion and fell asleep then! The kids decided to get a game of monopoly going and I would wake up every now and again to peals of laughter and shouting insults and wisecracks back and forth from them playing that game at the dining room table but I just couldn't bring myself to get up and go join in with them.
It was just nice to lay there and doze in and out of sleep and hear them - enjoying each other's company - no arguing, except over little events within the game and that was all in fun.
Just made for a really nice, peaceful visit with my kids on a really, really cold day in mid-January! Something to be very thankful for you know - that we could be together, enjoy the camaraderie of family together here.
And, how was your day?