Stalling is His Calling!

Gestures become your language,
When you have no words to use.
However, creativity and resourcefulness can be abused.
What better way to avoid leaving home,
But to hide things to prevent being able to roam.
For this reason I have come to believe,                                                                                      That stalling is his calling.

NO SHOES NO SERVICE said the post,
Hiding shoes, his specialty to boast.
If it is his own you seek,
Here are some suggestions to take a peek.
The toy box is a favorite place,
Check the bathroom sink or tub to help solve the case.
On the kitchen table they are plain to see,
But why look there before you flee?
And, in the pantry, that’s a good spot.
If you’re hungry, you’ll hit the jackpot.
He’s quick to throw things under his bed,
Hoping you’ll search the closet instead.
He is most amused to watch me crawling.
I am quite sure, stalling is his calling.

To go anywhere we need our keys,
Hiding them has become his expertise.
I watched as he took mine from the bar,
Unbeknownst to him, he was on my radar.
He casually walked over to his dad’s work bag,
Then dropped them in, though he couldn’t brag.
Had I not witnessed his sneaky move,
The next day we’d be stuck at home though he wouldn’t disapprove.
I have frantically looked for my keys in a drawer.
Knowing I’d just had them a few minutes before.
Only to find them in a cabinet above.
Keeping my irritation in check is a labor of love.
The signs are all there, stalling is his calling.

Jacob is watching, you better believe,
Without my purse, I cannot leave.
He’s found creative places to stash it away,
My favorite is the salad spinner he chose one day.
I’ve spent minutes backtracking my steps,
To spot it in a laundry basket all unkept.
Shoved in a kitchen cabinet has been attempted.
Paying attention to his clues is highly recommended.
Occasionally he simply moves it from one place to another,
Throwing me off and making me late, oh brother.
I am positive of this – stalling is his calling.

He wants his sound machine before going to bed,
But carefully hides it to stay up later instead.
Shaving is no fun so can we put off doing that?
The pantry again is where it’s at!                                                                                                 He’s hidden the pill crusher with his meds inside,
To keep from taking it until I could find.
And try reading the yellow pages for a few more minutes.
The interesting information you’ll find is without limits.
While usually his motives are to delay,
Most could be chalked up as child’s play.
He is often watching as we search the house,
With his eyes following but quiet as a mouse.                                                                          And while he cannot speak, his mind is turning,                                                                            ‘I think they’re on to me’, he is learning.                                                                                     ‘Oh no, she’s getting warm, it’s right in front of her.’
‘Oops, wrong turn, cold, cold, and even colder.’
Or, counting in his mind how long it takes,
And patting himself on the back for our mistakes.
Our frustrations are probably entertainment for him.
Truth be told, afterwards we can also laugh at them.
Yes, stalling is his calling.

After reading this poem you will probably agree.
His techniques are demonstrated with great glee.
He has got it down pat and is happy as can be.
For he has perfected his stalling degree.

#stallingishiscalling

Thanksgiving at The Rainbow Bridge.

“A DOG is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself” – Josh Billings

Anyone who knows our family knows we are dog crazy and have loved many dogs over the years.  This post, however, is dedicated to Barkley and his love for Jacob.  And Jacob’s love for him.  Pretty much all of Jacob’s life we have had at least one inside dog.  Most have been curious about Jacob and shown him some attention.  Especially when he’s in the kitchen because of the strong possibility he will drop something while he’s eating. But it’s quite hard to tell how Jacob feels about them. Being non-verbal makes sharing emotions difficult.  And, in addition, there is often a disconnect in autism.

We adopted Barkley when he was 7 months old.  He fit in perfectly with our family including another golden retriever.  The top two pictures were taken just a few weeks after getting him.  There are several (not shown) photos where Barkley is on Jacob’s bed watching him.  Look close at the upper left and you’ll see Jacob’s expression showing he is happy about his company.  My favorite, though, is Jacob beside Barkley with his head hanging off the bed.  If you only saw that one, you’d not know who imitated whom but clearly Jacob copied Barkley.  I LOVE this! Jacob was thoroughly enjoying having him in his room.  Lower left is Barkley by Jacob on his bed at our cabin in the country.  Sweet memories repeated often.  Then, Jacob and Barkley interrupting my laundry day by playing on the bed.  The last one was a common occurrence of Barkley near Jacob in case he dropped a crumb, and Jacob propping his feet on him.  This was taken two months before Barkley’s death.

On the eve of Thanksgiving 2013, all of the Pigfords were gathered at our country cabin when Barkley let out a yelp and within minutes took his last breath. Dying of heart failure from a murmur he never outgrew. We were in shock and completely devastated. But, I really had no idea how Jacob would react. He basically hung out in his room that trip so he wasn’t aware of the crying, anguish, and heartache we were experiencing.  Would he show any emotion?  How would he let his feelings be known?  Exhibit negative behavior?  Could he understand he was gone?  On that bitter cold Thanksgiving morning, we buried sweet Barkley there in the country.  Coming home without him was terribly hard.  Tears flowed as I drove and talked to Jacob about why I was so sad. I wondered if and how Jacob would miss him. Barkley had been a constant in his life for 8 years.  I quickly made copies of photos of Barkley and put them in two small photo albums for Jacob.  It wasn’t until later that I came to really understand that their relationship was indeed special.  Now 5 years later, Jacob still looks through those photos weekly and usually stops at one or two wanting us to talk about the picture.  It is a precious time of remembering a most special boy who crossed The Rainbow Bridge too soon and how Jacob had connected in his own way and obviously loved him very much.IMG_5733

Thanksgiving is about expressing gratitude for all of our many blessings.  Today, I am thankful God gives us pets to love and care for, while they in turn show us pure, unconditional love.  A love that is one of life’s most beautiful gifts. Loving us more than they love themselves.  A love with no limits for Jacob.  For which I’ll always be most grateful!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! 

CALENDAR EXAMINER

 

About a year ago, I came home from a holiday market with a 2018 calendar of photographs showcasing beautiful scenery from around our state. The photographer is a high school classmate of mine. Within minutes of me walking in with it, Jacob had to see and started flipping through the pages. He loves slick finish and colorful pages so this was super appealing to him. Over the next month before it was put on our refrigerator for the new year, he’d often find it to look through. Studying some pictures for minutes and others only seconds. Once it was hung up in use, he never pulled it down or even seemed to notice it.

Then earlier this fall I attended another market where that classmate had a booth. I proceeded to tell him how much Jacob enjoyed the calendar. As I purchased the 2019 version, he handed me a 2018 one to take to Jacob. Upon arriving home, I immediately took it back to Jacob’s room.  You can see in the top row of photos how he is studying each page. What a simple gift that made him so happy.  He held it looking from month to month with such careful thought.

Of course, it wouldn’t do that Jacob now had his own to thumb through. It wasn’t long before he found the new one I had put away.  He pulled it out of the bag and had to examine it, too.  I have found him several times with the 2019 one in his lap. (Bottom row of photos.) Obviously he realized it contained a different set of impressive pictures to enjoy.  Makes my heart smile at how a small thing can bring him so much pleasure.

For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies; Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.  

Consider it All JOY

joy

“Sign me up for a trial.”  Said no one.  Ever.  Or, at least not me.  The testimony of a friend who lost her young child to drowning relates that she is confident when she gets to heaven and God explains the ‘why’ that she’d be willing to go through it all over again. That has stuck with me for over 30 years.  When I get to heaven and God’s plan is unfolded before me, I pray it reflects my faith when it comes to the ‘why Jacob’, ‘why me’, ‘why our family’, all of those ‘whys’ that come more often than I’d like to admit.  I truly believe with everything I have that God orchestrated our family to bring glory to Him. And yet, some days I don’t want to take the test.  Please not another rough day driven by autism.  Hard, hard circumstances can make us crumble.  But, remaining diligent pays off.  I wrote this in my Bible but didn’t jot down the author: ‘Make up your mind before anything happens that you will count it all joy for you are joined with God. Joy is an experience that is happening on the inside. Blessed is to have God’s life—God’s character. God is able to teach us more lessons in the hardships than the happy times.’  I like that – MAKE UP YOUR MIND!  Life with Jacob can be one trial after another.  But, through it I’ve learned patience, forgiveness, creativity, compassion, tolerance, empathy, peace, humility, and so much more.

A chorus we sang in church years ago became my theme song.

God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way

I remember discussions about giving up the dreams we had for Jacob.  What would he ‘be’ when he grew up.  Mike would always say, “I just want him to be happy”.  His happiness, his joy is mine.  Both come from Christ alone.

You may be in the middle of the hardest ‘test’ you’ve ever faced. I can promise you God will be with you.  He’s been with us all along.  He knows it isn’t easy.  His arms are open wide to carry you when you can’t stand.  James 1:2-3 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  And, from Romans 5:3-4  – Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 

Make up your mind and HE will make a way.

There’s a Thief in the House

Jacob doesn’t care for pound cake.  Jacob doesn’t like lemon.  Therefore, Jacob won’t eat Lemon Pound Cake. Or will he?

DSCN1149

We left a neighborhood that we loved to be closer to the day services program that Jacob attends.  Within a few months of moving in we decided to participate in a Neighborhood Night Out and open our home.  We’d met a few neighbors but wanted to get to know more and thought this would be a great way to make new friends.  In the invitation that went out, I enclosed a card with Jacob’s picture and just a little about him with our contact info.  This was mainly for security sake in case anyone ever saw him out alone, they’d know he would need help and immediate attention.

Because it was a community sponsored event, I invited the Mayor of our city and the Chief of Police.  They were gracious enough to stop by along with quite a few families on our street.  I prepared the refreshments and one was a cake I’d made for years.  A cake Jacob had NEVER shown any interest in.  A Lemon Pound Cake.  Jacob wondered through the house a few times just to check out our company.  As he casually walked through the den in the middle of our guests, he quickly snatched a piece of cake off a lady’s plate!!!  I was horrified but she wasn’t bothered at all.  I had the thought, ‘he’ll taste it and set it down because he won’t like it’.  I was wrong.  He came back through the room and grabbed another piece from another lady!  Good grief.  The little sneaky thief.  At least the Chief of Police had already left and didn’t witness Jacob stealing cake.  Everybody got a big laugh out of it and honestly put me at ease.  Having knowledge of Jacob before they walked in had given them an idea that he might behave differently.  And he did.  It was quite the evening making fun memories and paved the way for some special relationships.  A little about the two ladies Jacob stole from:  Victim 1) first to welcome us to our neighborhood and was already aware of Jacob and had a tender heart just for him.  Victim 2) I had never met until that evening but when she walked in the door she proceeded to tell me about her two boys.  Both with autism.  Think what you will but I believe it wasn’t a coincidence that these two ladies were in our home when Jacob decided to sample someone else’s cake!  Sweet friends that still laugh with us about Jacob stealing cake right off their plates.

And get this –  Jacob has’t eaten Lemon Pound Cake since.  Guess it was one of those times that it was more appealing on someone else’s plate.

NOTE:  Again this week we hosted a neighborhood party.  I love it when Jacob ventures out of his bedroom as it gives people an opportunity to meet him.  However, we’re always on edge, just a little, wondering what he might do.  I am pleased to announce he did not steal food.  However, a friend coughed and well, last week’s post tells what happened next: Hold that sneeze!