Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Slow Ease into Summer

As I have been lamenting, complaining and bemoaning the heat wave in our part of the country something funny has been happening in our house and those of you who have loved ones from Planet Aspergers will totally get this.

Dude has always had issues with seasonal transitions. When he was wee dressing to go outside in the winter took an hour long negotiation that usually resulted in a WWE wrestling event. His meltdowns got so bad when he was about 5 years old that we looked into moving to a different part of the country that did not experience the same temperature extremes that the prairie provinces do; we were at our wits end and ready to do anything to make life easier!

We stuck it out and as he has matured the transitions between seasons has gone a little more smoothly. We have learned a few tricks along the way that have helped too. For instance, a few years ago I started shuffling his wardrobe as per the season. Anything that was not seasonally appropriate is moved to the top shelves of his closet, far out of reach and we also starting leaving his bedroom window open in the Spring and fall so he could feel the temperature change. Although it took him longer than most kids to move into shorts and t-shirts, he usually got there before the end of June.

Not this year.

Even though the temperatures this week have been in the high 30C range, my Dude is still wearing jeans and long sleeve shirts everyday. No matter how much I remind/nag him about dressing for the temperature he emerges from his room, day after day, ready for the first snowfall of the year. For the first week or so of Summer Break I fought with him to change his clothes but this week I changed my strategy. I have let him be, thinking that once he gets outside and feels the full force of the 30C heat he'll come inside to change. No dice.

This kid rides his bike, has NERF wars and wrestles with the dog in jeans, socks, runners and long sleeve shirts, not to mention his shoulder length ultra thick hair, everyday! While I am hiding in the shade, wearing as little as decency will allow, he is frolicking in the sunshine, dressed for mid October rather than mid July! I just don't get it!

So last night as I was tucking Dude in he commented on how hot it was. Laying there on his bed with him, staring at his closet full of neatly folded t-shirts and shorts, I launched into another conversation about summer clothes. We talked back and forth for a while until I started to get chilly ... then it hit me.

"Dude, when you get dressed in the morning, how do you feel?"

"I feel good."

"I mean are you hot, cold or comfortable?"

"Usually cold."

"And what clothes do you reach for?"

"The warmer ones on the shelf."

"Aren't they too hard to reach?" I asked looking at all the jeans, shirts and sweaters on his top shelf.

He got out of bed, stood beside his closet and easily out his hand on the top of a pile of sweaters, "Nope."

So we took a few minutes to devise a basement-dwelling-tall-kid friendly plan for easy summer dressing. We covered up the winter weight clothes and made them off limits, made a shorts only rule and committed to checking the weather every night before bed to make sure our plan was still appropriate.

 Welcome to Planet Aspergers Lesson #1374.

I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn't itch. ~Gilda Radner

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