One day last week we kept Jacob home from his day program because of a predicted Severe Weather Alert day. Rain isn’t so bad but when there is a chance of tornados, home is where I want him. For his sake and others. It would be pretty miserable for everyone hunkered down in a hallway. Because, he doesn’t do hunker very well.
We were under a Tornado Watch for most of the day. But, by mid–afternoon, the local sirens started sounding and we were getting notifications on all devices. Tornado Warning! Take cover now.
Jacob was living his best life on a pajama day until the sirens went off. I quickly changed his clothes and made sure he had on socks and shoes.
I grabbed a couple of toys as we directed him toward our safe space. His dad and I were reassuring him that everything would be alright and we’d all be together. Both of us saying things to encourage his cooperation.
He was really good considering we were in a closet. Played with a toy, twirled around, sat on the floor, and wanted out, all in a short span of time while we watched radar for the warning to be lifted.
Thankfully, it passed by us quickly and we felt comfortable going about the day. Jacob had other plans.
As he left the closet, he grabbed my purse. Sometimes he does that and hands it to me, meaning—’it is time for you to go’. This time was different. He was in charge of the purse but wanted the three of us in the garage.
I could not figure out where his determination came from in leaving home. Then his daddy made sense of it. Remembering what he said while trying to get Jacob to move into the closet, ‘it’ll be like we are going camping’. Knowing we could lose power, we’d be in close quarters, and Jacob enjoys going camping (in a cabin), it was what popped into his mind. And sharp Jacob, he heard that and waited patiently for the tornado to pass so he could go camping!
Bless his sweet heart—that was the very thing he was thinking about while we were trying to see if a tornado was aiming our way. I love how he has total trust in us to keep him safe. He also had a plan for when the threat was over.
Once our best guess helped us realize what was going through his mind, we distracted him and he went about playing as usual.
Recently a kind man asked if Jacob absorbs things. Indeed. He. Does. He may appear to be in his own world but he is processing every word. Pretending isn’t something that makes sense to Jacob. A reminder that he listens and he plans. And we need to plan, too. Literally.