100 Things

Day 28: Autism Awareness Blogathon

The book title is ‘The Experts’ Guide to 100 Things Everyone Should Know How To Do’, the author Samantha Ettus. I’d picked this title up at a bookshop years ago and I thoroughly enjoyed reading through it at the time.

Since then, I’ve often thought of these snippets of expert wisdom as I’ve gone about my daily duties. On occasion I’ve had a jolly good reason to pull this book off the shelf and use it as a reference point – mostly in the cause of making the perfect choc chip cookie.

I came across it again recently and was inspired to have another look through it. Things have changed since I first read it, I’m pretty sure I’d be looking at this info with a slightly different filter, in particular that of a mother of a child with autism. I wondered if these 100 things EVERYONE should know how to do would apply across the board? Could this be the guide to my child’s adult life I’ve been looking for?

Let’s see…

  1. Sleep. Oh yes, yes please! Can we ALL learn how to sleep, tonight if possible. Even better would be to learn how to sleep in, but I will settle for plain old sleep.
  2. Make A Bed. Fair enough, it’s one of those self-care skills.
  3. Do Push Ups & Sit Ups. I never learned this and I wish I had. Keeping your body in good working order has got to be something to aim for.
  4. Jog. Forget it, say no more (sorry runners)
  5. Eat Right. Yes, totally on board with this and feeling like we are on the right path. As an independent skill – this one is a high priority.
  6. Make Eggs. Yeah…it’s a good staple, a source of protein. Everyone should be able to cook eggs.
  7. Brew Coffee. It would depend on whether you are a coffee drinker, but I have a feeling my boy will be. He is mesmerised by the smell of coffee and will drink the dregs of the french press if I accidentally leave it within reach. So yes, a good skill to have even if you are only making it for guests.
  8. Read A Newspaper. Well those days are going, going gone baby. It’s all online. Mind you, my boy really enjoys sitting down with the local paper, languidly turning pages in between sips of hot tea. Not reading mind you, but enjoying the activity none the less.
  9. Wash Your Hair. Definitely, half way there already.
  10. Care For Your Skin. An important thing here in the sub-tropics where skin cancer is a real threat, so yes, yes yes.
  11. Shave. Well, he might end up with a beard if he had to rely on me for this one, so let’s say yes.
  12. Apply lipstick. I hope not. Though lip balm is perfectly acceptable.
  13. Wash Your Hands. Yes indeedy! Tap on, soap, rub, rub, rub, tap off, dry hands. I know the expert has a lot more to say, but I’ll settle for the basics.
  14. Shine Shoes. I’ve done it about 10 times in my entire life and I sincerely hope that my boy doesn’t waste his time learning this one. My rule is…don’t buy shoes that need shining.
  15. Tie a Bow Tie. Seriously, who wrote this? NO
  16. Tie a Windsor Knot. I’m finding it hard to imagine my child in a shirt and tie, but know that on the odd occasion it is a requirement. The Windsor knot? I’d say non-essential.
  17. Tie a Scarf. Yep, stay warm darling!
  18. Drive A Stick Shift. Let’s put it this way: if my precious boy gets his licence fair and square, then let’s focus on the road rules and staying safe, not on stick/auto issues. I’m assuming ability here people!
  19. Manage Your Time. A wonderful, respectful and valued skill. All we’ve got to do is learn how to tell the time first.
  20. Organise. Please. Please help mum to be organised.
  21. Handle a Job Interview. Ooh yeah! That’s a great skill to have.
  22. Ask For a Raise or Promotion. You better believe it.
  23. Give and Receive a Compliment. A wonderful social skill – a definite!
  24. Negotiate. He’s already negotiating like crazy without using much language at all. He’ll be brilliant at this.
  25. Shake Hands. Vital.
  26. Make Conversation. I can’t wait for the day when we start having lovely to and fro conversations. Absolutely.
  27. Remember Names. I am not good at it myself, so I think this would be a great skill for my boy to have. And if this is not something you are good at then, see 26 (minus names).
  28. Read Body Language. Well, its not something that is going to come naturally is it? But, let’s work on it anyway.
  29. Listen. So hard to do right now, but SO important.
  30. Improve Your Vocabulary. The only way is up!
  31. Speed Read. Give me a break. Just reading will be a massive achievement. So – no.
  32. Make An Educated Guess. Actually, I think we’d better just stick to the facts. No guessing please, educated or otherwise.
  33. Tell a Story. A wonderful, charming skill to have. Yes.
  34. Conduct A Background Investigation. I immediately think of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night’ and ‘Meet The Fokkers’. Let’s steer clear of this mess please.
  35. Deliver Bad News. Something that requires sensitivity and compassion – beautiful qualities I’d love to nurture in my boy.
  36. Apologise. Everyone! Absolutely everyone! 
  37. Speak In Public. Even if it’s just a short sentence or saying thank you.
  38. Balance Your Chequebook. Gone the way of the dinosaurs. Managing your money? Of course!
  39. Save Money. Si! Mucho!
  40. Understand Your Pet. We don’t have one at the moment, but this is a lovely skill to have.
  41. Care For a Houseplant. See 40.
  42. Prepare for A Disaster. Yes. We have a few every now and then where we are, so it’s a part of our lives.
  43. Shovel Snow. No snow to shovel!
  44. Remove a Stain. So long as we get to the point where he can do his own laundry, I’ll be super happy. Stains – phooey!
  45. Do Laundry. See 44.
  46. Iron a Shirt. Haven’t used an iron in quite a while. Not likely.
  47. Sew a Button. Sure, we can do this. Non-essential, but achievable.
  48. Pick Produce. Yes please. Knowing when something is ripe and ready to eat, knowing if it’s past it’s prime. Understanding food. Yes.
  49. Buy fish. Sure.
  50. Paint a Room. Great skill to have, fun too.
  51. Hang a Picture. Still working on that one myself, but yes, I can see that it would be handy to know how.
  52. Write a Personal Note. A dying artform, thoughtfully given, cherished when received. Yes
  53. Make Tea. Haha!! We’re halfway there – he drinks it! That should be good motivation.
  54. Read Aloud. I’ll probably need him to be able to do this at the rate my eyes are going downhill.
  55. Relax. Oh, I would love this. Yes please.
  56. Wash a Car. Even better!
  57. Change a Tyre. Isn’t that why we join our auto clubs?
  58. Change Your Oil. He does love to pour, so I think he’d be great at this.
  59. Mow a Lawn. He loves using his play mower and he’s obsessed with the big mower, so this one is a winner.
  60. Fly a Flag. Not what I would call an essential skill.
  61. Garden. Let’s get grubby!!!
  62. Swing a Golf Club. Hey nonny, nonny NO.
  63. Swim. Yes, yes, yes. Working on that one and making progress.
  64. Hit a Tennis Ball. Maybe. He’s not really good with the hand eye coordination, given his visual impairment, but who knows?
  65. Give a Massage. Let’s say ‘highly unlikely’
  66. Make a Martini. Only if it’s for Mommy Dearest.
  67. Barbecue. Let’s see how we go on that one. He’s a bit obsessed with hot things, so possibly not the best match.
  68. Build a Fire. See 67
  69. Tell a Joke. Backburner…we’ll see!
  70. Be a Gracious Host. Oh but of course.
  71. Be a Good Houseguest. See 36
  72. Arrange Flowers. Seriously? Nope!
  73. Set a Formal Table. Just setting the table will do very nicely thank you.
  74. Uncork a Wine Bottle. No especially not a bottle of champagne with a sabre.
  75. Taste wine. No!
  76. Use Chopsticks. Yes!
  77. Make a Toast. Not make toast. A lovely generous skill to have.
  78. Breathe. Yes, I forget this myself sometimes, so just stopping and breathing – so good for you.
  79. Stay Warm. See 17
  80. Have Good Posture. Yes…don’t end up like me!
  81. Have a Great Smile. Done!
  82. Flirt. Hmmmmmmm! Not so sure. Will have to wait and see.
  83. Ask Someone Out. Yes!
  84. Kiss. Well I’ve taught him the basics, we’ll have to see if we can find the right teacher for the finer points.
  85. Buy A Diamond. I’ve never needed to know how…
  86. Plan a Wedding. Oh gee. Well if he’s like most guys that won’t be too hard.
  87. Change a Diaper. Something every well rounded person should know how to do.
  88. Hold a Baby. It’s a lovely and loving experience, so yes!
  89. Relocate. Nooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!
  90. House Train a Puppy. OK, maybe one day…
  91. Create a Family Tree. It will be an distinctive individually shaped tree.
  92. Decorate a Christmas Tree. Great, then he can teach me.
  93. Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies. I happen to know that this is a seriously good recipe , so this is definitely a skill to have up your sleeve.
  94. Give a Gift.  Yes, something everyone should know how to do.
  95. Wrap a Present. I’m not great at this, so if he gets good at it, this could be an important contribution to the family effort.
  96. Smile for the camera. Done!
  97. Take a Picture. I would love to see the world through his eyes.
  98. Learn a Foreign Language. English is foreign enough to him at the moment, let’s stick to that task.
  99. Plan a Trip. What a fun thing to do together. Or if it was just him, a magical mystery tour.
  100. Pack For a Trip. So long as I can come along Yes!
Well, sorry it’s such a long list, but I couldn’t cut it short. Turns out it’s not a bad set of skills for my boy to have. These are the skills of a well lived life. It’s not everything and there’s plenty of things in there that I could either learn to do or learn to do better.
Any other suggestions?

5 thoughts on “100 Things

  1. Wow, you are nearly there Rose. What a long blog to pull out on your third last night. I wonder how easy that list was to generate. I am with you on the sleep factor. Just when they start to sleep in we will be probably needing less sleep in our lives. Or not being able to go back to sleep after they get home late from a night out. What will your grand finale blog for the month of April be? Well done I have enjoyed your blogathon. Keep the post coming. What a huge achievement. What will next years resolution be?

  2. The one on the list that jumped out at me (and they are all good skills, btw) is learn to apologize. I’d add to that skill learning how to graciously *accept* an apology.

    When I was young and had to apologize to my mother for something, she’d always say “I’m sorry, too.” I found it so grating, because she wasn’t apologizing to me, she was saying that she regretted that I did something I had to apologize for, which always felt like she was rubbing it in a bit instead of accepting the apology. I wished instead she would just say “thank you” or “I accept your apology” and move on.

    I also can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me, “I’m sorry. But, …” That’s not an apology at all; it’s continuing the dispute! Or, the number of times my older child has said he’s sorry by mumbling it or in a voice that conveys anything but contrition.

    So, I’ve spent a good amount of time teachinig both my kids how to convey a GENUINE apology and how to politely accept an apology (even if you don’t yet feel like forgiving or forgetting).

    And, ditto on the chocolate chip cookies. When Nate was in second grade, he had to write five things that made him think of love, and one of his sentences was “Love smells like the *delicious* chocolate chip cookies my mom makes.” I framed this and hung it on the wall in my house. 🙂

    • Right on! Similar to the giving and receiving of compliments, it should be giving and receiving an apology. As for Nate’s ‘love’ quote – priceless and such an insightful thing to say – he can smell the love in the cooking xx

  3. Tie a bow tie and apply lipstick? I’d say this list was written by PeeWee Herman. 🙂

    In all seriousness, though, a pretty great list!

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