Alphonse will turn 16 in a little less than two weeks. Birthdays are fun but it’s always been difficult finding presents for him. Unlike your typical teenager, Alphonse wants little and needs so little to make him happy that often, we end up with such unimaginative presents of … you guessed right… underwear, shoes, and clothes. We can’t ask him what he wants when his default answer is “yes” to everything (when he says “No” you know he means it, whereas “Yes” can mean either) and Alex, his wily older brother, usually finds a way to twist this to his advantage.
Mama: Alphonse, do you want a new shirt?
Alphonse: (nods) Yes
Mama: Do you want new Crocs?
Alphonse: (nods) Yes
Alex: Wait, Mama, it’s my turn. Alphonse, do you want a new PS3?
Alphonse: (nods) Yes
Alex: See, Mama, you really have to get the PS3 for Alphonse. He really, really, really wants it! Please? Let’s buy the PS3 today!
(Nice try, son!)
Finding gifts Alphonse will genuinely love is always a challenge. These days, he’s still drawn to colorful preschool toys ; he actually sneaks off with his little three-year-old cousin’s toys every now and then. He still loves Disney DVDs despite our attempts to introduce him to other movies. And he is still absolutely, passionately crazy over bubbles. Running out of bubble solutions or bubble bottles will likely provoke a prolonged crying spell. We realize however that we can’t exactly keep encouraging him with these. While they remain part of his life, we have to keep looking at things and activities most neurotypical teenagers enjoy at that particular age. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. Nothing seems to pop out as remotely interesting to him as the things he is already used to.
Alphonse's PECS card
So we racked our brains and discussed countless ideas, without ever coming to a united position on our special gift for Alphonse’s 16th birthday. But you know how the answers to prayers come when one least expects it? Just a few weeks ago, we had a lightbulb moment. When Alphonse popped open one of the large covered pails of water we had and dove right in- head, shoulders, body, feet and all- we knew at once what we were getting him this year.
Just a brief backgrounder: Alphonse loves water but not the kind you swim in. He loves humongous basins and shallow pools and garden hoses and sprinklers of all kinds but would not venture into any body of water higher than his knees. This past summer, on a family trip, we went to a hot springs resort and were suprised when, for the first time ever, he decided to step into the pool and submerge himself neck deep. Not only that, he half-walked, half-paddled the entire length of the small pool. That he decided to stay submerged for almost a whole day told us that he finally found the courage to enjoy being in the water. Unfortunately, when night came, he wanted to go home and sleep in his own bed, though we had already paid for accommodations for the night. We tried to coax him to sleep but he cried loudly and refused to be appeased. We made the long drive back and once home, he promptly fell asleep. With that experience in mind, we promised him only day trips for now.
And that is what he is getting for his birthday- a day visit for a swimming party at the same resort. We’ve already made reservations. I only have to firm up the plans for food and extra amenities, get the swimsuits and swimming gear ready, get extra decorations, and we are ready to go!
While we’re on the topic of birthdays, next month, Okasaneko Chronicles on WordPress turns three years old. To celebrate my blog’s third birthday and to thank all those who have supported my blog with their visits and comments, I will be hosting my first ever giveaway. Wheee! Who can resist giveaways?
For now, I have decided on giving away three different sets of gifts which reflect each of the different passions I write about in my blog- autism advocacy, Sanrio and Hello Kitty, and Sylvanian families. Yesterday, I received an e-mail confirmation from Ms. Isabel Lopez, Marketing Manager of Sanrio Gift Gate Philippines, of their very kind sponsorship of the Sanrio gift pack. I was amazed that within an hour of sending my e-mail request, Ms. Lopez replied with a positive confirmation. I will wait for further instructions from her, but already, I am beside myself with joy.
Autism Society Philippines, through the kindness of ASP Secretary Tiffany Tan, will also donate two items for the autism advocacy gift package. I won’t reveal yet what’s inside this gift pack but let me tell you that some of the gifts will come from Alphonse and myself.
I am still waiting for Ban Kee’s Mr. Joseph de Leon’s reply to my request. I am hopeful that with these two generous sponsors already committed to the giveaway, they will follow suit. I will keep you guys updated on this.
The “I Am Three” Blog Giveaway will be launched very soon so please come back to this blog to get more details. As soon as the gift packs are all ready, I will post pictures and instructions on how to join. With two birthdays coming in November, it’s going to be a party!
P.S. Ban Kee said YES!!! It’s three for three!