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Sunday, December 27, 2015

A touch of Minx

A few months ago, I, along with everyone else, fell in love with the movie Inside Out.  I also appreciated that one of the main story points was it is  okay to feel sad, sometimes it’s an emotion that cannot be avoided. It was nice to see a movie not sugar-coat tough emotions and show that memories can be shaded with a blend of feelings. I thought the writers were so clever to materialize emotions into characters that kids could understand. Again, I was overwhelmed by their inventiveness that there are little beings living in the main character’s brain.
As I watched these colorful characters on the screen, I had a nagging reminder of a comic strip I had read growing up. It was in the British  comic book called The Beano.  Not to be confused with the natural remedy.  The Beano comic book has been going strong for over 60 years in Great Britain.
When I arrived home, I looked up these characters. The cast that started me doing comparisons was The Numskulls.    Come to find out, I was in good company on this very thought process. There was an article in The Hollywood Reporter that focused on this same observation. 
 I revisited this comic strip of bean-shaped (there’s a theme here, I know it!) tiny people that were in charge of the human’s functions, such as the Eye and Nose Department, rather than his emotions.
Looking through The Beano’s website, I saw the other players was entertained by: Lord Snooty: the equivalent to Richie Rich,  but he dressed in a top coat and tails; Roger the Dodger: a crafty boy always thinking of schemes to get out of his chores; Dennis the Menace: he looked nothing like the American counterpart. This comic had him with spiky black hair and a doppelganger dog by the name of Gnarly; and my favorite Minnie the Minx.
She looked just the way I remembered—the girl with the mischievous smile, wearing a vibrant red and black striped sweater and coal black Tam O'Shanter  hat covering her shocking red hair ponytails. Why was she my favorite character? Was it because she was one of the few girls in the comic strip?  Was it because her side kick was a cat? Why did I find her impish antics so amusing? Was it because she was the exact opposite of me?

It was nice to visit the past of my childhood and in the spirit of the movie, this memory ball of my favorite comic book character will be tinged with richer emotions.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Hooray for the Santas!

I have been very encouraged with the recent news stories about store Santas working with kids with autism.  The first story I heard was about an event that Autism Speaks manages called Caring Santa. They have a Santa that will provide the families an opportunity to have their children with autism has a picture with Santa without the fear of stares if their child has a fit to due over stimulation. When one boy didn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap, this kind hearted St Nick joined the boy on the floor and the boy’s parents were able to capture a memorable photo.
The other story that really touched my heart was the boy who told Santa that he was afraid he was on the naughty list due to his autism. Again, the sage behind the Santa costume told him that he was in no danger of being kicked off of the nice list.  He told the boy the truth—his autism was not to be judged and that was just who he is.  Rightfully so, this encouragement has been shared over 500,000 times on Facebook.

It did my soul good to read these articles.  As a mother of a son with autism, I can truly appreciate the struggle of these parents trying to participate in “normal” activities. My son has had meltdowns through no fault of his, but the dirty looks and the mean comments we received (Can’t you control your child? What’s wrong with him?) have troubled all of us, to say the least.  I am so glad that these Santas are aware of autism and are being great examples of what caring looks like.