Updated: Jul 14, 2022
When Ben was 2 and only knew 20 words (all food nouns by the way) we were not sure he would ever learn to speak in full sentences. Anyone who knows him, knows that is no longer an issue but during his development, we tried to keep our words and phrases short and to the point. When he was patient, we would say "nice waiting" when he requested and item he would hear "nice talking". It was so ingrained in me after days and days of communicating that one evening when my husband greeted me with an after work kiss I automatically responded "nice kissing".
As Ben grew we needed to teach him explicitly things that other children learned by watching and imitating others. And then there were the ever constant safety issues. We taught Ben the importance of looking both ways before crossing the street but what it meant to him was you paused at the curb and shook your head very quickly from side to side never grasping that he was looking to be sure it was safe to cross.
After conquering that lesson, we moved on to larger street safety and explained about the crossing signs of the "walking man" meant go and the "red hand" meant no go. We were on a day trip to Washington D.C. and found ourselves crossing an 8 lane highway. We were safely across 6 of the 8 lanes with the "walking man" symbol and a timer counting down the seconds we had left to cross. Even though there were 10 seconds left on the timer, the "red hand" appeared as a warning and Ben stopped dead in his tracks in the middle of the highway, following the rule he was taught.
It must be so hard to be constantly trying to piece together the things that you know to try to make sense of an unknown situation. On his first job at Olive Garden, the supervisor told Ben to "clean up his area" but never told him what that meant. Ben's idea of clean probably equated to thinking about his room so his area looked fine to him. After they explained what they wanted, he was able to complete the task but it took specific instructions that other employees may not have needed.
During Ben's orientation at Olive Garden, they instructed the employees to always pay
for food that they ate while working since it was at such a reduced rate and that if they took any food without paying it was stealing from the company, even one crouton from the salad bar as an example. It made complete sense to Ben that when one of his fellow workers popped a crouton in his mouth from Ben's work station that he should be reported to the manager. This didn't go over well for the fellow employee.
And then there is always his incredible memory of anything you have ever done wrong or a perceived time you did not keep you word. Ben will let you know!
love you more,