D is a perfectionist. I have said this before about the ridiculously high standards he sets for himself. He gets extremely angry if he does not achieve these standards. He can get so frustrated by the tiniest of things that doesn’t quite go to plan. He can be playing Lego Star Wars, and get further than he had before, but if he hasn’t achieved a top score, then in his head it is a failure. It is so sad to see that he cannot be proud of little achievements. It is impossible to comfort him, as trying to just convinces him even more that he is rubbish. He has to take out his frustration before he can move on.
Like most things you do for our little ASDers, doing something once becomes a norm. That’s what happened with treats to take to school at Christmas.
When D was in nursery, his first teacher crush retired at the end of the Christmas term. I made a cake for her to say thank you for all she had done for both boys. M was in P1 and his classroom was right next to the nursery, and he demanded I make his class a cake, as D had taken one in. I therefore made one for the class party, and all was well with the world.
The following year, it was just expected that I made cakes for the class party, because that’s what I had done the year before. Of course I did, and both boys were satisfied.
Now, I don’t give cards to people I see everyday. I don’t see the point. Instead, I make biscuits or sweeties, so it is something personal. M has never liked the idea of cards at school, since they were told not to take individual ones in but to make one for the whole class a few years back. His response to this was, “why would I give a card to my bullies?”. He had a point, and has never done cards. This year though he pushed together two idea, and asked me to make him cookies. I happily did so. He went to his class party armed with a tin of star-shaped delights, and returned only with broken bits in the tin!!! He says he was very popular that afternoon! The rest of us can see cupboard love, but he just felt good to have been centre of attention, even momentarily!
I asked D if he would like me to make biscuits for him to take to his party which was two days later. There was a resounding no, as he wanted a cake. I have recently purchased a snowman shaped tin, and that was what I was to use. He however said he was going to decorate it. I made a marshmallow and meringue icing for the base, and then he went mad with the sprinkles. Well, when I say went mad, he meticulously placed each holly leaf, and berry, and every star was individually put on. I was really impressed with how much effort, and patience he used to get this done. A couple of times he took a break, because his hands were hurting – he has hyper-mobility in his fingers which means they do play him up if he does repetitive tasks. He almost lost it at one point when he smudged chocolate onto the face removing a star that had dropped. He was close to tears, so I suggested a hand wash while we worked out how to mend it. The snowman received a broader smile, and an iced carrot nose rather than the jelly one he had thought of doing. Nobody could notice the smudge unless they were looking really closely.
I was really impressed with the result. He had worked so hard, and was naturally proud of his achievement.
I handed the cake to his teacher the morning of the party, and she took one look at it and was “Wow”. I explained how hard D had worked, but I am not sure she was totally convinced he hadn’t had assistance! This morning she said it had gone down really well and enjoyed by all. I just hope she tell D how impressed she was by it. He deserves to hear it from her and not just me telling him what she has said.
D has one more task to do before the end of term, and that is his teachers present. We made Christmas cakes a while back, and while I have been allowed to do the fondant icing, I have been instructed he will do the decoration. That is something for him this evening, while M is out at his Cubs Christmas party. I will let you know the result tomorrow.
M doesn’t understand social niceties the way D does, and would not dream of a present for his teacher until he saw others with gifts, I have therefore made cakes for him to take. There are three teachers that have made this school year work for him, his class teacher, the SEN teacher and the Hub – additional needs centre, teacher. I have therefore made little gifts for them all, as it is impossible to say one has done more for him than the others. He will probably thrust them at them in the morning without a word, but it is the thought behind it that counts.