Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Things He Gets Into

Asperger's, autism, mistakes, parenting, safety



Oh jeez, what now?

DH goes downstairs to see what the heck this boy is up to now. I hear a shout and decide not to go down there. Daddy seems to have everything under control, and I have a leaky toilet to deal with. Gus slumps back to his room. DH pokes his head into the bathroom. "He put a light bulb in the microwave." Good thing I stayed put.

I pass Gus's room on my way to check out the damage & our eyes catch. "I don't even want to say anything to you right now," I tell him. That will probably have a much bigger impact than losing the GameCube, Xbox and computer for 4 days. I don't need to yell. DH calms down quickly – he doesn't need to yell either. Gus is now flagellating himself.

He is upset and scared that he could have hurt himself. "Tell Gus to stop pretending he's dead!" MM comes and begs. He's taking 2 minutes too long, by her count, to be upset, and he should have given into her cheering-up attempts already. I go sweep up blue-tinted glass. I'm glad he didn't go for something equally intriguing like a battery or one of the CFLs.

Later we ask what he was thinking – a dumb question. It often seems that Gus doesn't think before acting, but that's not right. The real problem is that his brand of logic is only logical within his own personal universe, the one where you can save energy by cooking a light bulb, because they don't explode in his microwaves.

The rest of the night doesn't get any better. He wakes up around midnight, disturbed by something he refuses to share. (I later learn that it was "maybe" a nightmare about being eaten by a hawk.) Around 4:30, due to our sleepless misfortune (MM is having a bad night too), the power goes out and wakes him again. This time, he thinks he's somehow caused the blackout. I briefly explain that it's raining and has nothing to do with him before stumbling back to bed for the third? fourth? time.

I hope that today is less…experimental than yesterday. And if it has to be experimental, I hope the experiments are less dangerous.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Those Dreaded Questions

Asperger's, autism, camping, difference, education, growing, nature, parenting, questions, sex ed
Hello readers! We've been out of contact for a little while for various reasons including a camping vacation. Life is starting to settle back into a routine as school approaches.

Speaking of school, we all know that the time will come when our children will have questions about topics that I, for one, don't particularly want to have to answer. Death, sex, why am I so different from everyone else...who actually looks forward to informing their kids about these things? Maybe lots of people look forward to these discussions, but I'm not one of them. Last night after Gus's bath this was the conversation that took place:

"What are these called?"

"Those are called testicles."

"What's in them?"

" know, that's really a good question for you to ask Daddy, since he has them too!...Daddy!"

Yeah, call me a wuss. I totally punked out of that one. So, DH came in and Gus started asking questions, that went fine until DH explained that testicles are involved with reproduction, "making babies," he clarified. "There are seeds in them."

"But I thought only women carried babies in their tummies."


At that point I had a compulsion to read MM her bedtime story and got out of there as soon as my legs would carry me. It's a good thing I remembered to open the door first or else I would have looked like a Loony Toon (but perhaps I looked that way anyway).

Later, I asked DH how he handled the questions. Apparently, Gus was pretty satisfied with testicles being some sort of seed machine and moved on to asking what was in his knee joints and where rashes come from. Maybe there isn't a need to panic just yet, but I've had a gentle reminder that the day is coming sooner than I thought. I'd better start getting some answers ready.

How have you handled, or how do you plan to handle, those uncomfortable topics with your child?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What Happens when you Ban the Video Games

Asperger's, autism, days off, creative kids, play, summer, summer vacation

It's only the first day of Gus's true summer vacation. He could have slept in, but chose to get up at five instead – didn't want to waste the day! He and MM started playing on the GameCube first thing, but by eight it was clear that I needed to put a stop to that. He was getting extremely frustrated and agitated over the smallest things, near tears at one point. Then I could see him getting stuck in a loop, trying again and again to fix one little mistake and making it worse each time he went back because he was so stressed. So GameCube was banned.

They watched television for a few minutes. Then I noticed Gus going up and down the stairs.

"What are you doing?"

"Sweeping the bathroom."

Er…okay. Can't really argue with the initiative there. So he brought everything from the bathroom down to the living room and brought the broom and dust pan upstairs. Then he went to play in MM's room!

Since the intention was pure, I did the sweeping. It only took another hour to get him to move everything back upstairs – one…piece…at…a…time. I praised him for making the effort and left the two mischief makers upstairs. Who says kids aren't creative any more?

The next game was Fortune Teller. Gus took an old knit cap, a snow globe and a snack table and decided he was going to be a fortune teller. MM took a turn as well.

I've discovered that the curtains are down in my bedroom, and Gus is now dressed as Ash from Pokémon. It's not even lunch time yet! It should be interesting to see what they come up with for the afternoon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Asperger's in the Theater

Asperger's, movies, Temple Grandin, Adam, Mary and Max
A friend forwarded me this New York Times article about 3 films dealing with the subject of Asperger's. Adam is a romance involving a man with Asperger's and a woman who moves upstairs from him. Mary and Max is an indie film about a 20 year pen-pal relationship. Temple Grandin's biopic will be released on HBO next year. Here's a link to the article & I encourage you to check out the films if you can.

Asperger’s Syndrome, on Screen and in Life

If you've seen Adam, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the movie!