Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Donner Party?:

Strangely enough I persuaded Raine and Dude to accompany me on another trek through the wilderness. Well, at least that's the way they looked at it. I find it hard to imagine that walking on a nearly level, gravelled trail in the early evening could be a hardship. According to the two of them (or at least the way they were acting) Shackleton didn't have it so hard on his Antarctic expedition. I distinctly heard the words 'Donner Party' mentioned more than once and since I would make the largest meal, I immediately decided to turn around and head back to the car even though we'd probably covered all of half a mile. The sun was just above setting, the angle caused the seeded plants to glisten, the sky was blue, there were a lot of leaves on the ground, and a few still in the trees. Along the way I slowed to take a few pictures from a hundred foot high, quarter mile long bridge that is part of the trail. While we had been walking out Dave and Raine had paused with me as I took each picture, but when I looked up after taking the shot they were about a hundred and fifty feet ahead of me not even looking back. 'Like ponies headed for the barn' as Raine told me later. See those two blurry images through the trees? That's Raine and Dude and I'm on the trail eighty feet or so from the cut-back that leads another eighty feet down the hill to where they are. I almost get the feeling that they didn't want to come. Nah, must be my imagination. Actually they were pretty good about it considering neither one was feeling a hundred percent at the time. I'm not exactly an advocate of the whole physical fitness craze/trend. I don't understand people who jog around for no apparent reason at 6 am. I've seen them while driving to work, they just don't look like they're having any fun pounding pavement down with their feet. That's pretty much what Dave and Raine look like when I take them for a leisurely stroll in the country. The only time they look like they're enjoying themselves is when we start back for the car. They should just start enjoying it, it's not like I'm going to give up.
You can't get pictures like that sitting on the couch at home.

In the course of Dude's school notes there are sometimes surprises. Strange behaviors or unexpected problems. But normally he either just gets a smiley face or a frowny face. If the frown is for anything other than excessive talking (not Dave, noooo) I often get a brief descriptive note as to what the trouble was. (As I've stated before Dave acts as if the book doesn't exist when a frowny face is present) It's kind of unusual, however, for any note to accompany a smiley. Friday I received such a note.

Let me set this up. Fridays when Dude has had good notes all week he's often so exited that he'll shove the book right in front of my face to show me the day's note. I'm glad he's excited, it means that he understands the system and it's working. What he doesn't seem to understand is that Dad needs to have untrammelled vision while driving down the steep, winding street leading from the school. So that can get exciting The other time Dave would insist that his note is more important than vehicle safety is on Friday when he's had a bad note during the week and he wants to make certain that his weekend gaming privileges are secure. So last Friday I was ready with the book-block (a patented Ninja-Dad move) but he merely held open the book in his lap to show me the upside-down-frown. This was kind of curious so I took a quick glance at the page to see what was going on. There it was, the smiley face that should have been endangering our lives, sitting there, ever so peacefully on his lap. Taking a second quick glance ( I guess it was actually endangering our lives after all) I noticed that there was a small note accompanying the aforementioned smiley. This being kind of an event, and suspecting that David may have been forging smiles on frowny notes, I pulled to the curb to inspect the thing further. There under the unaltered face was a single line note and after reading it, I was glad I'd pulled over.

The note read, 'He is a real character' followed by another, smaller happy face. I'm hoping she knows that this bit of information is no real news to me, but is rather informing me that she is now becoming aware of the true peril she is facing. I'm serious, that kid is oozing charm out of his very pores. He has to, because I haven't seen it come out any other way.

Don't get me wrong, I love my son, but he's not exactly the easiest person in the world to deal with. He never stops talking, reciting games, TV shows, movies, or reading out loud just about anything that catches his eye while not reciting something else. He doesn't get out of anyone's way while he's walking or sitting and never goes around anything that he can't brush aside or walk directly over. This includes people, dogs, or small buildings. Let's face it, he's cute, but he's basically a radio with no off button installed on a bulldozer with legs.

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