Thursday, April 1, 2010


* Camp Stimey Spring Break Sensory & Social Skills Special Session


Before I get into Day Four, I want to issue congratulations to my friends A & L on the birth of their very first baby. Congratulations, you guys! You are going to be a great mommy and daddy. I can't wait to meet her!


Ah, Day Four. Well, this was quite a day. Day Four of Camp Stimey SBS&SSSS was Tree Felling, Ladybug Birthing, and MORE Playdates Day. Also April Fools Day, a.k.a. Stimey's Favorite Day of the Year.

Let's start with the tree. We have had this tree between my house and the neighbors' house. And the neighbors really, really hated this tree. Like, really hated it. Like, have been bringing up how much they hate this tree for years. Finally we flat out told them that there are things we would rather spend our money on than taking down this tree. Turns out what they were really looking for was permission to cut the thing down with their own money.

And that is how we went from here: here:

Sam was at a friend's house when the tree cutters arrived, so he missed the climbing and the ropes and the oh so exciting first branch crashing to the ground. However, Jack and Quinn were there, attentive, and dressed for the dead of winter.

It was probably 65 degrees when I took this photo.

We watched the process for a good hour straight. Jack was extremely impressed by the spikes on the tree-climber's boots and spent the rest of the day hovering around the guys' feet in an effort to check them out up close.

Per usual, the wood chipper was also a pretty major draw.

I'm going to leave you hanging with this tree thing for a minute, because it was at about this point in the day that the delivery guy brought us a package. Now, in order to really set the stage for this, I'll have to share a tweet that I sent out earlier this week:

RIP, ants and frogpoles.

Obviously I took the guy up on his offer. (FTC disclosure: He sent this to us for free to review.) Also? I'd like to apologize in advance to the ladybugs.

At Camp Stimey, "Open Immediately!" means "open this afternoon when our
playdate starts to get a little stagnant."

We picked Sam up from his playdate at his buddy's house just in time for Jack's friend T to come by. Now I've never talked about T's diagnosis with his mom, but he and Jack pretty much share an aide at school and they are very, very similar. Consequently, playdates with the two of them are pretty tough. I tend to do a lot of trying to get them interested in the same thing at the same time and usually fail miserably and frustratedly while the two of them happily parallel play in adjacent rooms.

This being CSSBS & Social Skills SS, however, I had to step up my game. Jack and I sat down with his "social detective notebook" before T arrived. We brainstormed things that T likes to do so that we could have some ideas to come up with if they were having a hard time playing.

We came up with a lot of good ideas, none of which we used.

I spent the first half hour following them around and trying to find a common interest. Unfortunately there were only three toys that T was interested in playing with. Of course, I had given those three toys away that very morning to a charity who came by to pick donation bags up off of my porch.

At this point, it was Ladybugs Ho!

About a minute after that point, T declared, "I'm bored with your ladybug project."


Jack was into it though. Although I'm a little worried that he buried all the ladybug larvae under the ladybug larvae food.

Fare thee well, ladybug larvae.

I know that you know that I couldn't possibly introduce a bug into a habitat in my home without taking a closeup shot of said bug.

Creepy, huh? That thing is supposed to turn into a ladybug.

Around this time I remembered my bin of trains and tracks that was languishing in the basement. I opened it up and left Jack and T for a few minutes to play. When I came back, they were playing together and chatting. Afraid to jinx the situation, I retreated upstairs to leave them to it.

Much later it occurred to me that perhaps they weren't actually chatting, but rather that they were both reciting complementary scripts. You say tomato, I saw to-mah-to.

Quinn and I continued to watch the tree guys work. I wish they could come back and take some more trees down tomorrow. I mean, I'm all for the preservation of the neighborhood tree canopy and all, but how often does Quinn sit like this for 20 minutes?

Answer: Not often.

I returned to the basement again to hear this Thomas the Tank Engine-related exchange:

Jack: "'You're a dirty, dirty liar and your pants are on fire,' said Thomas."

T: "'I'm not on fire,' said Henry."

Jack: "No! Your pants are on fire."

T: "But engines don't wear pants."

Ah, the literalism of autism. It's good for a laugh now and again.

I spent the next several minutes running downstairs to make sure Jack wasn't cursing at T and then running upstairs to make sure that Quinn wasn't wandering under a falling tree.

This falling tree:

Goodbye, tree limbs falling on my car. Also shade and privacy.

That's about it for Day Four. Except for the best part. The April Fools part.

The trick with a good April Fools Day joke, as I see it, is not to make a plan and then force it into your day. I tend to wait and see where the day takes me and then base my joke off of that. The victim? Oh, the victim is always Alex. It has gotten so Alex won't answer my phone calls, listen to my voice mails, or read my emails on the first of April. I have to be very tricky.

I went to the doctor today for a physical and also because my lower back has been hurting. When I got home, I grumped around and refused to talk about my appointment in front of the children. Finally Alex chased me down and asked me about it. I told him that my back was really bad and that I couldn't lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk until I got it fixed. (Details and acting are very important in April Fools jokes.)

He asked if I was going to need surgery. So I told him that it didn't really matter because they told me that it is really hard to get an appointment with the doctor and they probably wouldn't be able to get me in until, oh, say, next April First.

And then I laughed and laughed and laughed while Alex stalked off muttering something about hating me. I couldn't quite hear because I was laughing so hard.

I'm a bad person.

Coming Tomorrow: Still MORE Playdates, Plus Easter Eggs!


  1. That thing is supposed to turn into a ladybug? Oh shoot, I kill those things all the time. I'll stop doing that. I thought they were somebody else.

    Playdates where people play in different rooms make my teeth hurt. This pretty much sums up all playdates around here.

    Sounds like you're having a great Spring "break". Thanks for making me laugh.

  2. I'm going to send PETA to your house if you continue to kill animals and insects.

  3. Wow! I think I want to come to Camp sounds like a lot of fun!

  4. As a former neighbor, I'm a little concerned about the neighborhood tree canopy and fresh air and shade and all. Those neighbors are bonkers. Funny joke though. If you ever decided to April Fools me, I would not laugh.

  5. I'm not at all surprised to learn that you love April Fools Day.

  6. What a nice resolution to the tree issue! Would the neighbors hate ANY tree that was there, or was it just THAT tree? It would be fun to choose and plant a new baby tree!

    Ladybug babies are kind of icky.

  7. My little jerks put a bowl of water in the refrigerator so that when I opened it, the bowl fell and water fell on the floor. Which I made them clean up, of course. To retaliate, I sat them down and turned off the TV and said that I needed to tell them something. "I'm pregnant." They both said "no you're not" and turned the TV back on. Asshats.

  8. Alex might hate you, but I love you. Can't wait to see what happens with those ladybugs.

  9. Is it possible to release the ladybug babies to the wild? So you don't feel guilty if one of them doesn't make it?

    Also - when they do evolve, ladybugs seem to like light colors. So you can organize them on a sheet of white paper and take them outdoors. I think.

  10. I'm loving reading about your holiday fun. You are inspiring me with lots of ideas.

    Also the bug kit, I'm going to have to figure out how to get one here in Australia.

  11. No idea ladybugs start out that way. E-e-e-w.

    My April 1st started with one of the facilities guys walking into my office with boxes and in his broken English started telling me we had to move "all this stuff .. I don' beleeeve it" while motioning toward the ceiling indicating he was supposed to work on our ceiling. I about had a heart attack I was like "wait! wait! We're on the phone with clients and on our computers and we need to know what you're going to do .. " He shook his head and asked where my officemate was. I told him she had stepped out and he said "these are her boxes." and he started to laugh. He was only delivering some boxes and he had me picturing ceiling tiles all over the carpet and our stuff covered in residue .. he got me. I had to laugh.

  12. Karen, Yes, the best thing about the ladybugs is that I can release them with absolutely NO guilt. :)

  13. Karen, Yes, the best thing about the ladybugs is that I can release them with absolutely NO guilt. :)

  14. I love the April Fool's joke.

  15. Love the idea of a social detective notebook!

  16. Love the ladybug habitat! Can't wait to see how they thrive and develop in your home :)


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