Stevie and the Peacocks

Stevie & The Peacocks

My mommy bought two green swings and my daddy hung them where the yellow ones used to be.  I know they got them because my baby sister is learning how to swing by herself now, but I am so glad to have swings again. The yellow swing broke a long time ago and I haven't swung since. I don't like the playground swings. They feel different when I sit on them. And, I am usually not alone in a park and I don't want to take the chance that someone may want to take my swing. I don't like to take turns. I like to relax when I swing but if I have to share the swing it isn't relaxing at all.

I like to swing in my backyard all by myself.  I like to swing after school, it helps me switch out of school mode and ease into home.  I swing back and forth and back and forth and it helps me feel all put back together again like a finished puzzle. Then I feel calm.

From the swing, I can see the trees standing tall across from me. I like to try to reach them with my toes as I swing forward. When it is windy out, the trees sway back and forth and the branches even more so, like they are waving at me.

When I was really little, I used to giggle when it was windy out. The leaves would fall off the trees and spin down like little helicopters. On a really windy day, there would be lots and lots of leaves and pine needles fluttering down and I would just laugh and laugh.  As I looked at them dancing in the sky and the trees waving to me, it was like it was like they are throwing a party from the sky and inviting me to join them. As I tried to take it all in, it tickled my eyes and I would giggle.

Now I like the sound of the wind as well. When the wind comes through, the trees all move back and forth and the sound they make reminds me of a peacock fluttering it's feathers up high. Most people don't know what sounds peacocks make, but I do. I love them. They are so pretty to look at.  The first peacock I saw was in Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear. In the middle of the book is a big picture of a beautiful peacock.  I used to open the book up wide as I could and leave it open to the peacock so I could look at it.

Now that I am older I learned how to look up peacocks on the internet. I watch videos of them on Youtube and learn all sorts of things about them. They are even prettier in the videos.  They move their feathers up and make a ruffling sound when they do it. It sounds just like the trees on a windy day. I figured out how to make the same sound myself using my mouth and tongue. My mom says it is a really good imitation and then she tries to do it too. She isn't as good as me though.

Peacocks also make lots of calling sounds that the Polar Bear book calls "yelping".  I call it screaming. My mom and dad don't like it when I make that sound. My little sister and my big brother started making the sound with me and I think that is funny.  

I know all the sounds that peacocks make and how they are feeling. I watch them and learn what yelp they make when they are happy, and what yelp they make when they are afraid.   Sometimes, I make that yelp when I am afraid, too.  Sometimes I become afraid when I try to get the afraid-yelp sound just right and practice it over and over.  It's like I'm becoming the peacock.  

One day, my mom and my big sister asked me if I was a person or a peacock because I would not stop yelping. I told them I was a peacock and they started laughing really hard. That made me laugh too but I don't know why they started laughing when I answered their question.

Peacocks feathers are all green like the pine needles on the trees outside--except the feathers also have a blue dot in the middle like an eye.  I have a puppet peacock that looks like it is for real.  When the feathers all lay down, they look like the needles at the end of the branch of a pine tree when the air is still.  My mom jokes about putting blue pom-poms in the pine needles on the tree to make it look like there is a peacock in the tree.

I love my puppet peacock and my stuffed peacock. I bring them with me everywhere I go because they are some of my best friends. They remind me of home, the place where I am happy and safe. I can bury my face in their feathers and know that everything will be ok.

(Written by my mom, as she tries to understand what it is like to be 9-year-old-me with autism.)

 

Post blog:  After I posted this, I came home to see that Stevie had been drawing peacocks with chalk in his room. Here is some of his art:

IMG_2428 IMG_2429 IMG_2430

 

Why I Don’t Want To Go To Church: Sensory Overload

Sensory Overload

Hi, this is Stevie. Today I am staying home from church.  I used to like going to church and playing on the airplane.  They have a real airplane that they put together inside the room and I loved it. I would bring my Leap Pad with me and make movies in the airplane.  But then I got overly excited and threw the Leap Pad from the plane and it broke.  I could have hurt people when I did that, but I didn't think of that at the time, I just was having fun. I wanted to record the sound of a crash as it landed. It is one of my favorite sounds.

Well, that day everything changed. I don't like change. I wasn't allowed to bring electronics anymore, because they were afraid someone would get hurt.  So I didn't have my comfort toy anymore. I was using it to focus on so I could block out everything going on around me. Without my comfort toy, I just couldn't find a way to cope with everything happening all at once. 

They also got someone to help me at church so I could go and someone would be able to makes sure I was safe. He is a really nice person. He plays guitar and I really like that.  They also wanted me to be able to participate in the lesson but I found it too hard--not the lesson part but the participate part.  There are a lot of kids that are in my room. It is a huge room but all the kids from Kindergarten to 5th grade are there at the same time.

They can be really loud and sometimes it is too much. It is like the sound is everywhere all at once and reaches through my ears to my insides and echoes and vibrates there. Sometimes it hurts, too. It is like being underwater and unable to swim to the top to reach for air.  But instead of underwater, I am under sound.  Sometimes there is no way up and I just crumble under the pressure of the sound. Sometimes I run out of the area to get to calmer space. And sometimes, sometimes I try to beat it. I try to be louder than the sound around me. Sometimes that makes me rise up above it like a helium balloon rises about the room air.  I don't like that feeling.  

I really don't like it when I feel that way and try to cope the way I know how to, and then all the grown ups freak out on me! They start calling out to me, "Stevie! Come back!"  or "Stevie, you are too loud! Keep your voice down." or sometimes they are scared when I am crumbling and they don't know what to say.  Usually at that point, I am having what doctors call a panic attack because I can't get my head above the noise or movement and I fear I am drowning. I just need to get out when that happens but sometimes I can't move because my body is stuck in fear. I need my Daddy to carry me out when that happens. Once I am in a safe place again, I calm right down and I can play again. 

Besides the sound trying to overpower me and gulp me up, there are so many people there and they are all moving or running around. I never know where the kids will end up or where they are going to, so I don't know what I should do, where I should be so they don't run into me. Sometimes there is so many people moving around that I just want to hide somewhere...to be alone and stop the constant motion around me. I guess it kind of makes me feel like you would feel, if you were car sick.  I like car rides though.

Car rides are different because I stay still in my seat while the whole car moves and usually it moves at the same speed.  And other cars are on the road driving in front of me or behind me, or beside me. Sometimes they are going the other way but  everyone is driving at the same pace and in a way that makes sense. There is order to it.  In the classroom, there is no order. Kids are just moving fast in an unpredictable manner.  I like predictable.

Well, that is my story, of why I don't want to go to church today. Maybe some day I will try it again but today I just keep telling my mom, "No, no church please?"

(This was written by my mom, to the best of her ability to understand me. She really hopes that one day I will be able to write things like this all by myself, so others can understand me better.  I like it when people understand me.) 

Disclaimer: The way Stevie may feel as portrayed in this blog in no way reflects reality. His Sunday School class is awesome, led by incredibly gifted and loving people who would never cause an unsafe place for anyone, and would never "freak out" or in any way yell at anyone.  They have bent over backwards to make "church" work for Stevie and the other kids at church. I could not ask for a better place to worship or bring my kids to learn about God. This was written from a sensory point of view, as we assume Stevie may perceive things as they happen, not as they actually happen.