Keep laughing…we just have to keep laughing. I learned this fairly quickly. We HAVE to keep laughing. Laugh at the craziness of it all. Laugh at how stinkin’ weird the spectrum business is…when you think you have it figured out and then WHAMMO you have no idea.
Really…there are two choices. Laugh or cry. Crying and complaining certainly won’t change anything and it will make you feel worse (although it definitely has its place as well). So, laugh. Laugh at it all. Laughing will make you feel better. I promise, it will.
It will feel mean at times…to laugh at your child. So, for goodness sake – don’t do it in front of them.
One of my favorite Tucker stories….
First, understand that many children on the spectrum lack common sense…like ALL OF IT. They will do anything and everything unless they are told not to – and not just told, but provided a full explanation of why said thing is not a good idea. They honestly lack the ability to think in ‘If I do this…..then this will happen’ terms. Parenting is tough – because of this. I have found that I cannot get angry the first time Tucker does anything, no matter how much damage…because he simply cannot ‘think it through.’
When he was 10, I went into the bathroom after his shower.
The floor was covered in water. His bicycle helmet AND football are in the shower.
WTF? Deep breath mom…Goosfraba
I go downstairs to his room.
“Tucker, do you have any idea why there is a small lake in the bathroom? Do you have any idea why your football and bike helmet are still in the shower?”
Really?!?! You do…nonchalantly saying ‘Oh yeah’ like it’s no big deal?!?!
Well…I was standing in the shower thinking about football. You know I think about football all of the time?
Well aware of that, thanks. I nod and say, ‘yes.’
So I was thinking about when I get to play for the Go-Hawks when I’m in High School. I think I’ll be tall enough that I could maybe play tight end…so I was thinking about catching. But I also know I’ll be so big that I’ll probably only get to play on the line. So, I was also thinking about intercepting.
I’m thinking about all of the detail and focus he adds. I respond, “Yes.”
Then I was thinking about rain. You know it rained today? So, I was thinking about how hard it would be to catch the ball in the rain. So, I got out of the shower to get my football so I could practice in the rain…because you know the shower is like rain.
I’m now positive this is why the floor was wet – he certainly did not think of closing the curtain…he was focused on the football. I nod and say, “Oh…yeah…keep going.”
So, I got back in the shower and started practicing. Then I almost slipped and it really scared me. But I wanted to keep practicing. So then I got out and got my bike helmet.
I’m now positive this is why the floor was doubly wet – he certainly did not think of closing the curtain…he’s focused on the bike helmet. Wait…what? His bike helmet…so his naked body traveled all the way through the house and into the garage…all why the shower was running and curtain open. I take a deep breath I nod and say, “Oh…yeah…keep going.”
Oh, well that’s all. So, I practiced catching in the rain and then got my helmet because I didn’t want you to find me with my head cracked open and blood gushing out in the shower. That’s all.”
That’s all?? Seriously? What do you say to that? That’s spectrum business all the way around….
#1 – I never told him to NOT play football in the shower – so it seems perfectly acceptable.
#2 – He’s planning ahead (both blood gushing and high school).
#3 – So focused on footballs and bike helmets that he leaves shower curtains wide open.
#4 – Even after confronted, he doesn’t recognize why this behavior was ‘wrong’ (or was it?!?!?!)
I took a deep breath, kissed him, told him I loved him, informed him that we have to be sure to keep the curtain closed so water doesn’t escape, and walked out of his room. I went upstairs to begin sopping up the bathroom floor…using 10 bath towels. Yes, there was that much water – I was beyond frustrated, a tear began forming…then I burst out laughing. I guess we actually have three choices…
Laugh and Cry.
Seriously. This spectrum stuff is funny and frustrating…here I am, hands and knees, cleaning up a small pond of water. I begin to picture my son, naked – except bike helmet and football strategically tucked in his arm in this very space.
I’ve often thought we need an Improv Troupe for families with children on the spectrum – to tell stories like these. Then last spring a friend sent me this:
Yeah…you can’t read it…so here it is:
As music played, Long walked to the mic in a lime-green hoodie. She told a story about visiting McDonald’s with her husband, Scott, and their 11-year-old autistic son, Dakota. While Dakota doesn’t talk, Long explained, he does love to rub people’s skin.
“He’ll rub your arms or your back,” she said. “Any warm skin. He just loves it. So we’re at McDonald’s (Play Place) and he’s doing great. But pretty soon he starts rubbing this lady’s arm, and she’s turning redder and redder.
“It’s summertime, and she’s got this huge chest, and a very low-cut top. And he just reaches in and grabs this woman’s boob. And he just starts ruub-bin’ … and I don’t know what to do. I’m like, ‘Scott?’ And he’s like, ‘What? You want me to go grab the other one?'”
The dozen or so people in the room exploded with laughter. A smiling Long took it all in.
“Note to self,” she seemed to be thinking. “The boob joke kills!”
Seriously, you can’t make some of this sh*t up – this stuff is so stinking funny….and not. But, if you don’t laugh you’ll spend your lifetime in tears and depression.
Laugh or cry. Keep on laughing…
This past weekend a friend sent me a message, they didn’t want to offend me but thought I would find this meme funny.
Funny? Seriously? I immediately forwarded it on to my husband and my bonus son who were on the other side of the kitchen counter.
I nearly wet my pants from laughing….so did my husband….and so did Tucker’s bonus brother.
All of us…
we look at each other and then…
we look over at Tucker who is on the iPad watching some YouTube video….
For the bazillionth time.
P.S. There is still a football in the shower.