Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mystery Solved

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

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My sleuth side delights in the merest of mysteries:

How did the bird escape from his cage and why is he encircling Rachel’s head? (Admittedly, not one of my tougher cases.)

Or maybe this one:

Who failed to eat their zucchini and why is it wrapped in the cloth napkin now tossed casually in the trash? (Note: this one could have been committed by the eldest or the youngest in residence . . . hmmmmmm . . . a bit tougher to solve.)

At any rate, I love a good mystery book, film, or real-life adventure that twists and turns with cleverness and intrigue. (Spare me the gore or filth found rampant amongst most “Best” selling printed or filmed offerings – I can’t bear them!) So it has greatly interested me to sleuth out the latest mystery around our house:


It all started many years ago when our tiny twin #2 rolled over to the stereo cabinet, reached from his cerebral-palsy-free side, and changed the music selection. I stopped in my tracks and turned slowly to see my “blind” child perusing the shining button selections and sporting a wide grin as he selected again. Ah yes! That was a GREAT and serendipitous case. The solving of said mystery led my dear husband to construct a smoked-Plexiglas enclosure that ensured the integrity of mom-only music selections. (We had yet to offer full democracy to our children regarding music choice. At this point we owned all of five cds and the cd-changer held five – voila! Let’s not wear out the mechanisms switching to and fro for sport. But I digress . . .)

Throughout the years Matthew’s abilities grew right along with his healthy little body and he proved a venerable foe in the child-proofing wars of our home. The “potty-lok” so eagerly scooped up in those days by mommies and daddies to safeguard their little ones from a disastrous potty experience, afforded the parents the opportunity to do the “potty dance” OFTEN. Mr. Matthew, however, merely disengaged the mechanism and emptied the “clean” potty contents (whew! Rather than PHEW!) onto the floor, as yet another science experiment in his ever-growing repertoire entitled: Confound the Experts and Prove Yourself Smart Despite Labels to the Contrary. Into that same category I must add the socket-plug caper, wherein I painstakingly crawled around our 1500 square foot condo and sought out each code-required socket and amply plugged it against curious little fingers. As I collapsed on the living room floor and sighed a huge cleansing sigh of “relief,” little scientist Matthew crawled over and offered up fistfuls of the plugs and another of his winning smiles that queried, “Did I get an A on this test, too?”

Throughout the years I learned to merely ignore the ignorant musings of doctors who failed to assess Matthew’s strengths and focused solely on his weaknesses. I continued safeguarding our family home and health from Dr. Matthew, “Special” Scientist.

“Any memorable experiments gone awry?” you may ask. Well, how about the time we awoke to a most dastardly foul aroma one Saturday morn. I did not run outside searching for decomposing wildlife, but rather found Matthew immediately, catching him red-handed with a fistful of dry kitty food in collusion with the whirring hot-air popper engaged in spewing ghastly heat-treated friskies all over my kitchen – who knew it could smell so bad?

“The scariest experiment?” you wonder. That would have to be the one with the pink “blankie" in the entry hall, a dead-bolted steel front door located in the middle of a condo complex threaded with serene ponds, and a missing baby sister. That one still makes my heart pound with fear. But, the tears of the little boy crouched in the corner of the hall supplied an ample confession to his first crime and I swooped outside to rescue the thoroughly-delighted Miss Elizabeth on a lark among the flowers.

We realized right quick that “special” would mean something other than “slow” or “unable.” A dear friend in Santa Cruz said it best when she called my boys “differently-abled.” She “got it” where so many “experts” have failed.

So, today I add another caper to Matthew's impressive resume: The Great Stereophonic Start-up Caper. The latest thief-proof Plexiglas cover (the model has evolved over the years to suit the ever-evolving craft of Mr. M) has been breached as evidenced by the stereophonic serenade that greets us each day as we ascend the stairs. In the beginning we solved the mystery pretty quickly due to the array of Plexiglass and metal supports littering the family room. But later the evidence did not support any kind of removal, so Gary booby-trapped the protection. Yep, booby trap sprung as long arms reached in and dialed away. Hence, more structural support and a return of the booby trap. Lately, the stereo plays just as regularly, yet the tell-tale trap holds firm. “Did we forget to turn it off last night?” we wondered. “Did Matthew remove and reassemble the trap?”

Days went by and the stumping continued. (Should I admit it bugged me to be outwitted again by a young man who sits placidly behind a gentle smile, in his favorite chair, gently rocking to Disney’s Tarzan soundtrack saying nothing while we scoured the room for clues?) Finally, I threw up my hands in defeat and said, “Maybe he learned to work the remote?” My husband turned with a dismissive look (of which I read beneath the surface, “I can barely figure out that thing"). I promptly walked over, picked up the remote, shut off the music, and watched Matthew bolt upright in his chair. Then I casually handed him the remote and he instantly turned on the music and went back to smiling.

“WOO HOO!” I whooped, “You did it! You’re so smart!” Matthew grinned broadly, chuckled a bit, and got up to join me in the happy dance of joy that involved hugs, hopping, high-fives, and a tear or two. Another mystery solved . . .


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I dedicate this post to MICAH over at The Rocking Pony. You keep it up, precious boy! ; )


LadiesoftheHouse said...

Ha! I laughed out loud at that one--Matthew cracks me up :-)

I have a friend who's 13 year old Autistic son is Jake. They keep their cookies and lunch treats in a high cupboard and nobody is allowed to get in there except mom and dad to hand out treats once in awhile. Well, Jake thought that was unfair, so he just helped himself whenever he wanted.

Mom and dad childproofed the cupboard. Jake still helped himself. Mom and dad bought a real honest to goodness padlock and chain from the hardware store and padlocked the cupboard and kept the keys on themselves.

Jake waited until he was alone with a babysitter that liked TV too much. He got dad's tools (which nobody knew that he knew how to use), climbed up on the counter, removed the doors from the hinges, helped himself to all the treats and put the doors back on LOL! Special indeed...

Britt-Arnhild said...

Debbie, the love which cries out from all your words, and between the lines, is amazing. Just as amazing as your wonderful, beautiful boy!

Becky said...

Matthew is awesome! Such a character and smart too. Just try to keep him away from that music ;-)

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

so hilarious! I loved this - you and hubbie - crack me up!

Karen Deborah said...

Wow Matthew looks like a MAN! Handsome too! Yes he is smart. His brother was a genius. As your story comes out a piece at a time I know their are other mom's who are encouraged. Micah is a great kid. I knew their was happy tears at your house with his story,about his communication device. Good advice too about winning friends, too unlock the keys.
When you coming to see me again? It's fall and the weather is too perfect.
hugs and tea, from me to you,..

Karen Deborah said...

ps I can't tell you how hard I cracked up with the cat food in the air popper but you can imagine.Something along the lines of a guffaw!

Laura@Storytellin' Mama said...

Great story and so important to embrace the specialness rather than labels!!

My son has Asperger's and he transcends labels every day!

ValleyGirl said...

You're a wonderful storyteller! This is beautiful ~ and highly amusing!!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

You ARE a talented storyteller. This was a hoot to read! That Matthew is a GEM.

Mandy said...


Laura ~Peach~ said...

HA send him here to learn my darn remotes... they give me the worst of headaches!
He is adorable! Love the stories of his capers! Definately differently abled!
Hugs laura

AVT Coach said...

This speaks so much to my philosophy of "raising the bar" and keeping expectations high. Thanks for this wonderful post!

noble pig said...

Cat-food in the air popper? Oh man that made me's can't even make that up. So hilarious and I feel you have inspired mothers everywhere who feel defeated by the medical assesments of their disabled children.

Karen said...

Debbie, I love that boy of yours. It's the ingenius, inventive, yet everyday and normal things that make our hearts sing, isn't it? Confound those doctors that know not what they're talking about. And praise God that He's given our kids these wondrous problem solving skills.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Hah! Take that, doubters! I think that's hilarious, I really got on board with you when he did the toilet experiment-- everyone has to have at least one flooding of the home with toilet water. Great PSF!!

Weeksie50 said...

What a wonderful story telling talent you have..

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

Excellent! Never underestimate anyone! :)

Rachel said...

GREAT story about your smart boy!!!!

This is my first visit to your blog; I love it. ;)

My PSF is finally up!

lisaschaos said...

I love the happy dance portion! Things that end well should always get a little mini-celebration at the very least. :)

Mim said...

Thanks for your stories today about your family.
I've also enjoyed your trip stories about you and your girl.

Janette said...

I am glad you have this on your side bar.
Working with three autistic kiddos this year in my classes. You give me the perspective I need right now.
You are an amazing writer!

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