Tuesday, December 3, 2013

“Dad, Am I Doing Good?”

We traveled out east for our annual Thanksgiving visit with my sister and her family.

Kai always enjoys the trip and looks forward to repeating the same activities that he did in the past. I thought that re-doing the same things he did before might be a symptom of his autism, but my now grown-up nephews reminded me that they, too, had their favorite activities that they had to do each time they visited me when they were kids.

One of Kai’s favorite activities is having his uncle chase him around and then tickle him. Uncle Frankie playfully warns Kai, “You’re dead meat!” before going after him. This year, Kai requested the attack, calling out, “Dead meat me, Uncle Frankie!”

Another favorite activity is playing with my nephews’ Nerf guns. After all, nothing says Thanksgiving like Nerf guns.

On this Thanksgiving morning, he kept asking his nephews what time they would break out the Nerf toys. As they would be busy helping with the dinner preparations, they did not respond with a specific time. And that led to Kai repeatedly asking his question. I finally suggested that they tell him when they would play or he would drive us all crazy with his questions.

And when the Nerfs came out, Kai enjoyed them like he always does.

This is one of the extremely rare years where Hanukkah overlaps with Thanksgiving. Kai wanted to celebrate Hanukkah so we introduced the menorah lighting ceremony to my sister’s family.

And afterward, Kai wanted to play the dreidel game with his cousins. In fact, we did that every evening that we were there.

On our road trip last summer, we had an incentive plan where Kai could earn new videos to watch in the car if we behaved well that day. He asked that we repeat that incentive.

At Thanksgiving dinner, he would have to sit at the table without his iPad, and try the different dishes without complaint. He did very well, and enjoyed the feast.

However, he did drive us a bit crazy when he kept asking, “Dad, am I doing good?”

Yes, Kai, you’re doing well, I reassured him.

Though when he kept asking that question over and over, or when he repeatedly asked about the Nerf guns, I told him that he was getting a bit annoying and that he shouldn’t keep asking the same question again and again.

Overall, though, Kai did very well.

We noticed that Kai’s language continues to improve and he generated a few chuckles with his comments.

For instance, when finding some startling information on the iPad, he declared, “OMG!”

And he was remarkably patient at restaurants we stopped at on the way to and from my sister’s house. My dad is a very slow eater, which meant that Kai had to wait long for him to finish eating. In the past, my wife and I had to chow down quickly as Kai insisted on leaving the restaurant as soon as he was done eating. So it was amazing that he could be so tolerant about waiting now.

Nerf guns, good food, a great time with family, and a boy who continues to improve.

Yes, we have a lot to be thankful for.


  1. Yes, much to be thankful for. My favorite part of this article? "Dead meat me, Uncle Frankie"! That is the sound of a boy fully enjoying the moment :)

    1. Ha, yes, he certainly loves playing with his uncle! That was a highlight for us for sure.

  2. Oh, what a fun post. You had me laughing all the way through. I'm so glad the trip and visit was a success!

    1. Well, Kai had us laughing quite often so writing this post was easy.


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