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How My Autism Life Is Like The Movie “Groundhog Day”

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(originally written & published on June 23, 2014)

I’ve said many times before that raising Kyle is often like living the movie Groundhog Day…that Bill Murray comedy classic where he relives the exact same day over & over & over.  

I say that mainly because it sometimes feels like we’ve been kinda raising a toddler for 10+ years now. 

Here’s a perfect concrete example of what I mean.  See if you feel the Groundhog Day connection…

Mon 8:37pm — Kyle is watching this old HBO special called Goodnight Moon and Other Sleepytime Tales  that we TiVo’d way back in 2004 when he was actually a wee toddler. 
It’s got animated versions of some classic books interspersed with interviews with kids taking about their dreams. 

The wife and I know every line of it by heart and can even imitate most of the voices and facial expressions of the kids being interviewed. 
We should know it by heart. It’s been helping Kyle fall asleep for basically his entire life. 

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I’d say he watches it at least 4 times a week which means we’ve seen it probably over 2000 times over the years. 
And the wife and I are obsessed with trying to find out what these kids are up to today. 
That’s my “Groundhog Day” moment of the day…
It dawned on us a few months back that even though our king is still kinda like a toddler…most of the kids in this video (which was produced in 2000) are probably in college right now. 
Now that right there is a real mind screw, ya know?
Y’all got any “Groundhog Day” examples in your autism households? Or is it only my mind that goes there?

That’s it.  The end.  I’ll leave you with the trailer of the movie Groundhog Day.  I need to see this movie again soon.  It’s one of the classics…



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Written by

Frank Campagna

I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).

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21 People Replies to “How My Autism Life Is Like The Movie “Groundhog Day””

  1. tanya

    I have 2 boys on the spectrum and I have one 13 in a special needs school and one 11 in a mainstream primary school my eldest son was the first to start reciting lines from movies then the youngest followed suit but because of the mainstream school setting they still want to fit in with friends and see the latest movie everyone is taking about this then changes and everyone is talking about something else they have seen and my sons are still running around saying things that everyone else has forgot about this became quite frustrating for both my boys because they get very upset and don't understand why the other kids don't want to be friends with them. But as soon as they see the movie all I hear is nearly every line from this new one (even though they have only seen it once) It is getting easier as they get older because trips to the cinema were very tiring for everyone mainly because I was trying to ignore other people's comments when the boys had outbursts but this no longer happens and they can now sit through a full movie without the half hour trip to the toilets half way through because they didn't like the smell of one cubicle or the paint colour on the walls and refused to go or someone else was in there and they had to wait so we had full on meltdowns usually ending up with us missing the rest of the movie because everyone was too traumatized. We now have a vast movie collection and I try to find new ones they haven't seen before it doesn't always work but when it does we are over the moon to hear new phrases for a little while before going back to the old favourites again lol

  2. Anonymous

    So odd that I'd see this post for the first time today… 'cause this morning, for the very first time (and hours before I saw this post), the thought crossed my mind that our life kinda reminds me a bit of the Groundhog's Day movie, as I heard my son turn on the TV upstairs, like he does every morning to watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates -every morning – after eating breakfast (one of 2 rotating choices – every morning) and before getting dressed. Many other Groundhog Day moments throughout our day as well…just sort of amazing that it never occurred to me before even though our son (who has the double bonus of Down syndrome and autism) is 12 yrs old.

  3. Anonymous

    I just die laughing thinking about autism mommy and daddy mimic the entire videoclip with handgestures and facial expressions. Would be some scene to watch

  4. J. Crowley

    My son is 16 and loves Blues Clues. He's become proficient using the computer and YouTube to find the shows and images he wants, grab a screen shot, paste into Paint, alter it the way he wants and print it out!

    And yes, our life is a lot like Groundhog Day! If it weren't for the different service providers we have come in on different days, I wouldn't know which day it is! "If it's Anna, it must be Wednesday." 🙂 (And on those few days we don't have anybody coming in, I honestly have lost track of days!)

  5. Calimom

    Ahhhhh – our 15 year old daughter still watches this several times a week ( since she was 2 yrs old) it actually warms our heart. FYI I want to be Mrs. Honey. There are worse things…The Doodlebops, Barney and The Wiggles!! The glass is half full my friend.

  6. Anonymous

    I see a lot of things our son does like the rewinding and repeating of certain movie scenes or YouTube clips. But what I like most keeping with the groundhog day reference are the moments we get at home when you find that one little thing that grabs him and makes him happy that's different than the day before. Say he sees a different movie or you bought or did something that makes him laugh out loud which makes you feel great inside.
    Anyways love the blog been reading regularly since I stumbled upon it. So thanks for sharing and keeping to the stuff that matter for you… It has given me some moral support in the way of knowing that the way I feel some days isnt that weird.

  7. Anonymous

    Wow, this article is really very good, so that I can't say how happy feeling. The article make every detail of the story depicts streaming with the best, and every movement of the characters all write so lifelike, let me see the waves excited. disneyland vacation packages 2014 florida

  8. i totally understand we live same day everyday also.out kiddo usually doesnt go to school because he wakes up almost every night usually between which point he terrorizes us with tantrums and throwing things and slamming things until he falls asleep from all the activity.

    1. Anonymous

      I'm so glad I am not the only one. My three yr old was in head start which he loved until he decided it would be fun to get up EVERY night at 3am on the nose to stem for three to four hours. Same thing every night wakes up, runs around the island in the kitchen, asks for chocolate milk and watches Paw Patrol on dvr. same thing night after night. My husband and I take turns he has the night shift and I have the day shift. I don't think we have slept at the same time in well over three months. WHEN DOES THIS BAD MOVIE END LOL J/K

  9. Anonymous

    We live in ground hog day too. Ike just turned 14 last weekend, he still watches the same favourites he's been watching since he was 3, round and round and round and…..! I got my first response laugh for a few days from him yesterday when I absent mindedly mimicked the 10sec real he was repeating and repeating, over and over. He thought that was kinda neat. Lol. Mandy from n.z

  10. My son DVRs every single Wipeout and American Ninja Warrior… And watches them tirelessly.. Those are not so bad, but the Fred movies (the annoying "kid" from Nickleodeon) are enough to have me begging someone to shoot me in the face… Groundhog Day, for sure!!!

  11. mec

    Our 4 year old son is pretty much the same – DJ on the iPad. He can buzz through YouTube like nobody's business, at times watching entire episodes and at other times, pause/rewind/repeat. I've watched in fascination to try and see if there is some sort of pattern but if so, it's beyond my understanding. Still, he's managed to teach himself his alphabet (upper/lower case), counting up into the sixties and countless songs. He knows his planets, a huge variety of animals and I don't know what else so I'm not always sure what to make of it.

  12. Really perfect analogy! Because in the movie, the Bill Murray character starts to expand within the confines of the "same day," and grows wise within the the limited frame of his repeated day. Just like you guys have done. Brilliant.

  13. I love this! My son is 12 and doesn't love television much. But he does love music. We just found an old iPod Touch and loaded some of his favorites on it. Since 5 AM today (it's now 9:15) I have heard "Tunnel of Love" (Bruce Springsteen) and "Immigrant Song" (Led Zeppelin) no less than 15 times. It's like when Bill Murray is awakened daily by "I Got You, Babe" in the movie!

  14. Anonymous

    We are our own secret society! "No Autism Parent Stands Alone!" 😛

  15. Anonymous

    max and ruby, pepa pig and yo gabba gabba at our house. barely have any room on the dvr for my shows lol I thought it was weird that I know most of the shows lines by heart but guess I'm not alone

  16. Great example! Our house is much the same. It's Yo Gabba Gabba, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Fresh Beat Band. Our DVR bit the dust last fall and our son about lost his mind until they were all available to him again. Luckily, Amazon Prime has them all and he can watch on his IPad and we don't have to watch them too much anymore.

  17. Anonymous

    Describing life with Autistic child similarly to Ground Hogs Day is perfect. It does seem all too comparable when day in and day out the same events occur. Our son Henry(almost 7) has his routines that would drive anyone nuts. Specifically pause, play, rewind, and fast forwarding through the same scenes of is favorite movies over and over and over. aaagh!
    I must tell you, your posts in their absolute humility are my inspiration on some of the worst days with Autism to not give up. Thank you. 🙂

    1. For us it's "Cars' – as for the rewinding to the nanosecond, my husband thinks she would be an awesome DJ if it weren't for the loud music and the people

    2. Anonymous

      * … sums it up rather nicely.

      I was typing to fast and didn't proof-read.

    3. Anonymous

      I was wondering if my daughter was the only one to do the play/rewind/fast forward thing! She learned how to operate the VCR, then the DVD remote quickly. Her precision in astounding. (She can pick the most minute sound and play/rewind it to the nanosecond.)
      We're still listening to the same movies since Jude was a toddler : Disney movies up to, but not including, The Little Mermaid, some Don Bluth animated films, and Peter Gabriel's Secret World Tour.
      My oldest and I can figure out which movie she's currently stimming on within the first 30 seconds. I know the dialogue and speech of just about every movie she's got. We spend a lot of time randomly quoting or finishing a cut off quote because … well, we don't have much by way of entertainment around here.

      Groundhog Day it up rather nicely.