Day #17 – Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

Oh boy….this is a biggie.  I mean a BIGGIE. It can also be quite funny…

I CAN’T WAIT until this post goes live.  I had this blog scheduled for a couple of weeks from now, but I had to move it up.  Yesterday, as Tucker was leaving the house to head to school he grabbed something out of the snack/candy bowl (which happens to be right beside the front door – seriously, a mini size Twix does wonders on the way to work).

I heard the sound of a wrapper and said:

“Tucker, What’s that you’re stealing?”

“What?”

“Oh…I know you heard me because you said what.  Remember, if you don’t hear me you don’t say anything.”

“Oh, right.”

“So, what is it?”

“Nothing.”

“Tucker, you’re not in trouble – just tell me what it is.”

“But I’m not stealing mom.  The bowl is right here.  Everyone takes out of it.  So, I’m not stealing anything – I would never do that.  I grabbed a package of fruit snacks and put them in my bag for later.”

Then he walked out the door and I laughed…and thought of Drax.

Have you seen The Guardians of the Galaxy?  This is a perfect example, I am NOT joking…not one bit.  Watch this clip from 35 to 45 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixNTdDph5yU

Again – WATCH IT!!!  It’s 10 seconds of your life!!!

See that guy?  It’s Tucker – albeit much bigger and a bit scarier, but Tucker nonetheless.

The best thing about that movie?  Tucker didn’t really understand why we all thought Drax was so funny. Drax was, without a doubt, his favorite character.  In fact, after the movie came out some hailed Drax as being a Spectrum Super Hero.  Check this tumblr post http://merryweatherblue.tumblr.com/post/94638266248/i-took-my-little-brother-who-falls-on-the-autism?c=upworthy

You see the thing is that many children (and adults) on the spectrum understand words just as they are.  They have difficulty picking up the emotion or intent behind the words (which is ironic considering Tucker’s mom is a TOTAL word nerd).  Tucker doesn’t often understand the intent that comes from combining words, actions, relationship status, and behaviors.  Nothing goes over his head, he has quick reflexes.  HA!

As a mother, I beg of you to remember this around our children on the spectrum.  They often think you are simply being mean.  They don’t understand how you don’t actually mean what you say.  I didn’t mean that Tucker was actually ‘stealing,’ I used the term lightly and quickly remembered that he didn’t understand.  When he was four and a HUGE Woody (Toy Story) fan we were in the car and I looked in the rearview mirror and shouted, ‘Reach for the sky!”

woody

He looked at me with a confuzzled look.

“I can’t mama.”

“Oh, why not?”

“The roof is in the way.”

Of course it is.  How could you reach for the sky when the roof of the car is in between you and the sky?  Duh.

We have had to help Tucker deal with this confusion because he was constantly coming home sad.  Basically, he thought a lot of people were simply jerkwads because he didn’t understand the words/phrases those around him would use.  So, we worked for quite a while on what someone’s face or voice may sound like if they are using metaphors or sarcasm.  I simply taught him, “Tucker, if what you see/hear doesn’t match the meaning of the words, you just will need to ask.”

So, if he asks you, ‘Are you using sarcasm?’ Please don’t laugh or be offended, take him seriously.  It’s what I have taught him to do if the words don’t ‘feel right.’

Really, the more I think about this-I think this is a wonderful trait.  What if all of us started to only say what we mean and mean what we say?  What if we didn’t hide behind sarcasm?  What if we really went with the old adage of if you ‘don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it all’ – instead of cloaking our words with hidden meaning and residual hurtfulness.

He’s changed my life…because that’s how I prefer to live.

That’s the world I want to live in, oh wait – I do…it’s Tucker’s world.

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9 thoughts on “Day #17 – Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

  1. Pingback: #43 -Tape Recorder | 366 Days of Autism

  2. I’ve been thinking about writing a post about this myself! I have Sensory Processing Disorder, and one of the biggest issues I’ve had to work around is the fact that people around me seem to have two conversations going on at once. The first is the obvious one, the spoken one; the second is the unspoken, hidden one. I typically miss out on the second conversation. I understand it’s there, and most of the time I can pick up when it’s there and when it’s not, but for the life of me I can never “read between the lines”, so to speak. I’m grateful that I have a stepfather who speaks primarily in sarcasm (kind, teasing sarcasm, not biting sarcasm), because I don’t know if I would have ever learned how to recognize and utilize it, otherwise. But even now, I still don’t like it when there’s a conversation going on that I can’t fully understand because people aren’t being blunt and open about it.

    Actually, since reading this post, I’m pretty sure I will write about this when I update tomorrow. I think this is one of the biggest things people need to be aware of when interacting with those with SPD or an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

    Like

    • I LOVE this!! Thank you for replying. Tucker’s original diagnosis was SPD and then, of course, we realized it’s all on the spectrum. I bet you and he would be great friends. Advocate for yourself, dear reader. Let others know – most of us really are understanding and interested. Tucker had an incident yesterday with some boys that was quite funny. They were all singing ‘Milkshake’ by Kelis, they were all giggling. The boys said ‘We should milkshake tomorrow for the girls.” He laughed and then this morning insisted on taking a jar full of milk to school to make milkshakes. I sent it along but told him to be prepared because it may have been a joke. Sure enough it was…the best part is that the other boys laughed – not AT him, but with him. He thought it was hilarious that he thought they were for real. I’d love to hear more from you and I’m so honored that my writing has inspired you!

      Liked by 1 person

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