Monday, June 05, 2006

Orienteering

The last Cub Scout meeting was yesterday afternoon, finishing up an incredibly busy busy weekend. Girl had a softball tournament all weekend and had to be at the field at 7:00am both Saturday and Sunday - the field was an hour away, so imagine when we had to leave - the upside being that there was hardly any traffic. After we were finally settling into our Sunday afternoon, we remembered the Scout meeting. Exhausted, we set out. The troop went back to a forest preserve that we had met at earlier in the year when it was much colder. At that meeting, the boys became familiar with a map compass and how to read it, use the directional degree markings, and took a nice long hike. This meeting was marking the end of the year, so our Scoutmaster, Mr. G, promised the boys a hot dog grill-out if they all passed their orienteering "test" and then did one last hike for the season before going home for the summer to their video game systems. The boys were more than ready to comply and showed up with their compasses, packs, waterbottles, pencils, and orienteering skills sharpened. SmallBoy had done pretty well last time when this skill was taught, and I was hoping that the Aspie in him would remember everything. In this picture, the boys were testing their memories of the instructions as Mr. G would give them a degree reading on the compass and tell the boys to find that location and then go to it. SmallBoy did pretty well - he found his mark, but because there was a tree in that spot (where he was supposed to go), he went around the tree and continued on that course until he could go no further - see, this is the "literal" thing about Asperger's in action. We reeled him in and carried on with the meeting.

After working on the flat ground, Mr. G. took the boys up to the top of the hill and gave them two pictures with particular landmarks (the Sears Tower, a local hospital, a radio tower, and a water tower) of which they had to find the correct degree reading (called shooting an azimuth) - this was their test. He gave them a five degree margin of error because not everyone was staning in the same exact spot. I never asked SmallBoy if he needed help because I didn't want him to think that I might have thought he couldn't do it, plus, I wanted him to do it all by himself. I was fully prepared, though, for a meltdown if his answers were not within that margin of error - or worse, not exactly what Mr. G had. He took his own sweet time, and, while the others asked for help, he was determined to do it himself. He had every answer correct - most of them were exact, and one was within two degrees. He was one very happy SmallBoy - and we, PC & I, were very proud of him - because, well, we knew he could do it.

After each boy had successfully passed the test - as if any of them wouldn't have - we walked down the other side of the hill and proceed to take a nice hike through the forest preserve. A couple of the boys, SmallBoy included, heard the call of nature and went in search of the perfect tree while the rest of us waited. Mr. G took this opportunity, after the boys had rejoined us, to teach the group about how to detect poison oak, ivy, and sumac. Of course, from that point on through the end of the hike, the most popular question was, "Mr. G., is THIS poison ivy?" Thankfully that subject got changed when we found some animal tracks and they all speculated as to the animal the prints came from - AND when we were walking along the river and the boys saw trees down and limbs in the river and asked, because it was fun to say the word without getting in trouble, "Is that a dam?" We saw some more deer, which was surprising, because we were not exactly being quiet. The really great thing about seeing the deer is that the grown-ups were just as much in awe as the boys were. There's just something about seeing a wild animal up close....

After our hike, the boys ran immediately to the broken water pump, convinced they could get water from it, gave up and then went to the field and played baseball while Mr. G got the camping stove up and running and the hot dogs a-boilin'. I was a bit worried about what was going to happen when it was SmallBoy's turn at bat, gross motor skills are NOT his finest skill, and the boys were playing pitch ball. He played T-ball until last year, but this year he would have had to move up to pitch ball and this town is SO baseball crazy that if you're not "good", it's not really a pretty picture. I thought it best to wait until a sport that he would full successful at came into season. Nonetheless, his first time at bat was kind of ugly. Whiff, Whiff, Whiff, Whiff...then he got a little piece of the ball and fouled it backwards. SmallBoy ran, the boys protested foul ball, SmallBoy argued, "hey, I hit the ball." It wasn't pretty, but they all solved it themselves and none of us had to go in and intervene. His next at bat, he nailed it - hit a double. The diamond, such as it was, had a very off-kilter design: 5ft to first base, 6ft to second, 3ft to third and 4ft to home...it was very cute. I was very very proud of my SmallBoy.

It was after 7:00 by the time we finally piled into the car. Though he was experiencing a major case of the Sunday night blues, as were the grown-ups, you can tell by his face that he had just ended this beautiful weekend on a great note and was happy as a clam. I LOVE YOU SMALLBOY.

6 comments:

Roni said...

Good job lil guy!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! -- I'm so proud of you Sam and happy that you had such a great Sunday! GR

Laura said...

What a sweetie!

Mom to Mr. Handsome said...

What a great smile! Good for him. I know I could'nt have done it. Sometimes I feel like I could get lost on the way to the bathroom! Heaven knows I have had times when I have forgotten where I was going and what I was going to do!

Kristin

KR said...

It's not the best, but it's something to share with the fans. Love you and can't wait 'til Friday.
http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=817545007&n=2

K.C.'sMommy said...

That is one cute kiddo!