White Dog hid next to me by the computer desk scrunched up next to YoYoMa who was curled up in a ball. Puff was as far back in her crate as she could squeeze. Quinn had long ago moved outside and was lying under the bench on the deck waiting for it all to be over. Nuka had clearly expressed her displeasure with a sharp nippy growl and was, consequently, being ignored. Poor quiet, gentle Oso was captive. Unable to say "no" he had now become the object of Michael's new focus but so far seemed to be OK with the attention.
Earlier this week Michael had asked what was involved in learning to take photographs. When given the answer of "mostly practice and learning from your mistakes," he indicated that that he wanted to become a photographer "as good as Lisa" (Hansel's mommeh from the World of Hansel).
He visited the expensive professional camera store in our neighborhood and came home discouraged. Steve suggested that he should look around at more affordable places for a starter camera and they set a price point of under $100. Michael shopped and found a deal on two cameras a $165 one sale for $90 and another valued at $150 for $50. He immediately fell in love with the more expensive one and wanted all kinds of add-ons but had to struggle to figure out how to afford it. He did, but it would clean out his entire bank account plus leave him with no spending money for all of August. The less expensive one seemed more attractive in that light, especially when Steve and I declined floating him a loan (part of our on-going reality planning lessons). But even for the cheaper one, he would have to wait for his allowance at the end of the week to make the purchase.
The anticipation and impatience (and fixation, one of the characteristics of autism) on buying the camera was driving everyone in the house crazy. Finally Steve suggested that while he was waiting for the week to pass, Michael COULD be sizing up shots and arranging compositions using his cell phone camera...just for practice.
Photographing everything in his room took a few hours and was good exercise as he ran up to show me each shot he took. "Do you think the White Dogs will mind if I take pictures of them?" he asked me. "You know Quinn doesn't like being photographed but go ahead and try but if they don't want to you can't make them." I heard him sneaking up on the sleeping ones and cussing when they moved. He begged White Dog to be his model like she is for Steve; she did not cooperate. He chased after them as they moved and pressed close enough to make them move away. He managed to capture few shots that were not backsides or the blur of movement. He was getting frustrated.
"You'll probably run away, too," he said to Oso as he fumbled with the phone. Amazingly, Oso sat patiently. Michael took his photo from several different angles. Then he picked up OAWD. "Let's go in the living room, I want to shoot you on the couch and with the pillows." And off they went. "Oso, the VERY patient," White Dog murmured.
The rest of the WDA silently thanked their brother for "taking a bullet" for them (as YoYoMa called it). Lisa has little to worry about in the form of competition but to those at White Dog Ranch the kid who came to us saying he "was too stupid to ever really be anything," has reached an amazing new milestone of confidence and possibility. Everybody, say "CHEESE!"
So at the end of the week when he has a shiny new camera in hand, the White Dog Army will patiently pose for our budding photographer...and send a prayer of thanks to Lisa for her inspiration.