Hunter loves hats and always has. But he doesn’t like the traditional hats that kids wear like baseball hats. No, he is more interested in “unique” hats. Ever since he was one year old you would find Hunter wearing some sort of hat. Usually it was the fisherman type of hat but he didn’t discriminate. He would wear any hat that came across his path, such as a chefs hat (no clue where it came from), plastic firemans hat, Craig’s filthy old man caps, and he also thought nothing of wearing a brightly colored sequin hat of Hayleys. He always was pretty insistant on wearing hats out in public which was fine by me yet I wouldn’t let him wear the sequined hat out so I braved the horrific tantrum.
When Hunter was in first grade the school had Dr. Seuss week. Now I have always loved his books, I read them as a kid, I read them to the older kids and also to Hunter and Hayley. The thing is, he got at school a very large red and white striped Cat in the Hat…..hat! He loved that hat and wanted to wear it everywhere. He wore it at home, he wore it to school and he wore it when we went shopping. He was blissfully ignorant to the fact he was attracting stares from many shoppers. Some people smiled others frowned like letting him wear that hat was some form of child abuse. When you have children with autism, you tend to grow very thick skin and let others opionions not bother you (not to say I haven’t told people off before because of their ignorance) and find as long as your child is happy and not having a major lay down, kicking and screaming tantrum its ok.
There were several hats after that but the next major love affair with a hat was a “Pikachu” hat. At the time he was given the hat Hunter had no clue who Pikachu was or Pokemon for that matter. He was just getting interested in video games on his DS so his teacher brought in a game with Pikachu in it. Hunter was instantly enthralled. For two weeks as a reward he was given time at the end of the school day to play this game. Finally, his teacher told him that her boyfriend works for Nintendo in NYC and that she was attending a party at Nintendo with her boyfriend. When she got back to school she had “Pikachu” cardboard hats for the kids. Hunter was in Heaven! He fell in love with that hat and wouldn’t take it off his head, he even slept in it. The problem was the hat was becoming wrinkled and worn which was upsetting him. Not to worry, his teacher had 4 extra hats that she laminated for Hunter. He wore one, she kept one in class and sent home two just in case. For days and days Hunter did not part with that hat. He wore it everywhere! Hunter even wore it when we were flying down to Florida for Spring Break. The hat did come in extremely handy though. Katie flew up from Florida and met Hunter, Hayley and I at the airport as I cannot travel with them alone and Dave was in Tax Season (anyone that knows us knows it is a sacred time of the year) and she flew back with us. Anyway, we were all sitting nice and quiet in the airport waiting to board. All of a sudden Hayley jumped up and started running down the concourse. Now at my age and weight I cannot run fast, as a matter of fact I don’t run at all! Hunter in his Pickachu hat ran after her in hot pursuit. I was panicing because the airport was so crowded, but there was one saving grace, the Pickachu hat. As I quickly walked the route they had followed I could see Pickachu bobbing up and down in the crowd way ahead of me. I kept focused on the hat and knew as soon as I saw it stop that Hunter had caught Hayley. I finally got up to them and Hunter had Hayley in a neck lock, which was fine for a change because he stopped the insanity. I praised him and Pickachu for the execellent job they did and we all calmly walked back to our gate. Hunter wore the hat on the entire flight and the whole time we were in Florida.
One day, Katie and I took Hunter and Hayley to the Jacksonville Zoo. Hunter walked around as a celebrity with cries of “Pikachu, Pikachu” coming from the mouths of children. On the other hand the hat a very dark effect on many of the animals. As the four of us was approaching a fenced in area containing a very large bird pacing back and forth. Hunter said oh look at the Cassowary, Katie and I were like, “what?” He explained to us what kind of bird it was and where it was from etc. The thing is, once we approached the fence, the Cassowary abruptly stopped pacing and stood in front of Hunter intently staring at him and glancing up at the hat. Hunter’s face, then the hat, Hunter’s face, then the hat. It was very, very creepy and we pushed Hunter on. We went to the squirel monkey enclosures, there were alot of these small monkeys playing, eating and swinging from the tree limbs. The are very curious monkeys and everyone watching them was laughing at the monkeys antics. Katie was standing with Hayley on one side and I with Hunter on the other side. We finally got our turn to get up to the window. They were so cute and funny, Hunter and I were laughing at them. All of a sudden we noticed several monkeys on a branch very still and staring at Hunter’s hat. Boom!! the monkeys started jumping off the branches and hitting the glass in front of Hunter then dropping to the floor, they were coming from all sides! When I finally came to my senses, I pulled Hunter away from the monkeys and said that was enough zoo for the day. Hunter thrived with all the attention he got that day and he got such a kick out of those monkeys hitting the glass. I personally was spooked and couldn’t stop looking at that hat wondering what kind of power did it have over the animals…….Yet the Pikachu hat remained a hit for another 3 months.
Hunter just got a new fishermans hat with dinosaurs on it from Bill’s parents for Christmas. The obsession has started, he has constantly been wearing it at home, on the bus and at school, he even had it on in the bathtub last night. I have yet to know what adventures this hat will take us on but I am sure I will not be disappointed.