Welcome to the 2nd installment of “No Filter Friday”. If you missed the 1st week you can click here to read it. I named this Friday series “No Filter Friday” because like so many children on the autism spectrum, Skylar says whatever is on her mind. We actually find it quite refreshing that she has no filter. Sometimes we wish that we could be as brutally honest as Skylar. Not only are Skylar’s thoughts unfiltered, so are her reactions to everyday situations. Skylar often times overreacts to a situation that most people would brush off. We have grown accustomed to Skylar’s reactions and are able to diffuse the situation, but of course we always get horrified looks from those around us. If you aren’t used to screaming in everyday situations, it can be quite shocking and catch you off guard. So without further ado, I bring you the story of “The Winner”.
In January of 2008, our family went on a Caribbean cruise that my mother and I had both earned selling jewelry for a direct sales jewelry company. We actually both joined Just Jewelry in order to earn money to defray the cost of Skylar’s autism treatments. My mom stills sells Just Jewelry and donates ALL of her profits to help Skylar. Check her out here. When my sister, Jenny, found out that we were taking the girls on the cruise, her family decided to all come along as well. We were thrilled to be going on such a nice vacation together and set sail for 5 “fun-filled days” in the Caribbean.
Not long before the cruise, Skylar had started a new behavior. At every meal, she started picking a piece of each food she was eating and setting it to the side to be eaten last. So, if she had hot dogs and french fries, she would pick one piece of hot dog (she only eats them cut up) & a french fry (usually the largest or longest) to save for last. We have no idea where she came up with this new obsession but it didn’t bother us. As parents, you have to pick your battles, and the obsessive nature with which she chose her winner at each meal was just not a fight we wanted to take on. This behavior of picking “the winner” continues to this very day.
If you’ve never been on a cruise, it is a non-stop food fest. When you first board the ship the cabins are not ready as they are still cleaning them from the group who just disembarked. In order to keep everyone happy there is a giant buffet waiting for you to keep you occupied while you’re waiting to get into your rooms. Five minutes after boarding, Skylar found the all-you-can-eat french fries. As we got our food and sat down at a table Skylar quickly started scouring through her fries to find a winner. Within moments her eyes got huge and she smiled as she pulled what I must say was the longest french fry I’d ever seen. As she put it to the side, my nephew Ben asked “Sky, what are you doing with that fry?” “That is my winner” she replied “I will eat it last”. Ben got a really funny look on his face and said “Oh, cool.” All the kids have come to learn and love that Skylar does some quirky things. They really just go with the flow and I love that about them. Shortly after the explanation of “the winner” my sister sat down at the table next to Skylar. Jenny finished her plate of food and was sitting back relaxing when all of a sudden she reached over and grabbed “the winner” off Skylar’s plate and put it in her mouth. OH! MY! WORD! What happened next still makes me laugh to this day.
Skylar screamed at the top of her lungs “AUNT JENNY! YOU STOLE MY WINNER!”. Jenny truly looked horrified! She immediately tried to console Skylar as EVERYONE around us looked on in horror. You could tell they were all thinking “what in the world is this woman doing to this kid?” As Skylar continued screaming “MY WINNER! MY WINNER!”, Jenny turned so red. Ben looked over and said “Mom! You totally stole her winner! She was saving that to eat last.” Poor Jenny was so flustered as she said, “I had no idea that she picks a winning fry to eat last!” At this point, Chris and I were trying to calm Skylar down, but could not control our own laughter at the entire situation. I assured Jenny that this was a new thing that Skylar had started and there was no way that she could of known. The situation was diffused as Chris said, “Skylar, why don’t you go ahead and pick a new winner?” So she did and put it back on the side of her plate. But she first looked at Jenny, pointed to her fry and said “That is my winner. Do not eat it!”. We all laughed hysterically! Jenny’s husband Jeff had a priceless look on his face. He jokingly commented “Wow! We’ve only been on the boat for 10 minutes. I can’t imagine what all will happen over the next 5 days.”
My favorite part about “the winner” was that for the rest of the cruise all the kids started picking their own winning french fries or tater tots to save for last. Skylar didn’t have any more outbursts like that, but she also made sure that she did not sit next to Aunt Jenny at any other meal!
Have a blessed weekend!