Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Handicapped Parking:

There are times when you wonder if Dave lives in the same world as the rest of us. He has a tendency to babble irrelevant game-dialogue for hours at a time, he rarely pays any attention to where he is, what he's doing or anyone around him, he walks over, into or bounces off of anything or anyone in his path and he can't ever be counted on to get out of the way of anything coming at him, no matter what the size or speed.

Then there are times when he's more 'right here' than I am. We went to Giant Eagle (grocery store) the other day to get some babysitting cash (or ransom money, as I like to call it) for Alayna, who's been helping out quite a bit this summer. Once that was done, and having no reason to stalk 'Layne in the deodorant aisle, Dave and I wandered through the store backwards (ie: from Dairy to Produce instead of the other way around) and ended up walking toward the entry instead of the exit. As we approached the door Dude was pulling on my arm and telling me 'No exit!, You're going the wrong way!'. I, of course, paying no attention, was thinking about what to cook for dinner, and even further distracted by the cunningly placed Steelers/Penguins merchandise display by the tiny flower shop. I looked down at Dave trying to figure out what the problem was and actually walked within about 2 feet of the door before it occurred to me that it wasn't opening. Dave pulled me around the corner, saying, 'No exit. You're going out the wrong door.' and then as we turned the corner, ' Exit door! There it is!'. You've got to find the exit door.', with various repeats and revisions as we made the exit and walked toward the parking lot. I looked at Dave and said, ' You've got to watch me every minute don't you?'. To which he replied, 'Yeah, it's a problem.'. Which I thought was probably true and fairly ironic.

I suppose there are some people who might be embarrassed at being corrected by their (supposedly) handicapped offspring in a social setting, but I'm not one of them. Although we were getting some odd looks from people who witnessed the skinny little autistic boy leading the large, 'typical' man in a kind of reverse 'Of Mice and Men' fashion instructing him of the proper grocery store exit procedure, it didn't touch either one of us. We got into the car and drove home. Dave, once again in his world of Terminators, Superheroes, and things I'm not even sure what they are, and me, his bodyguard/chef/chauffeur and watchdog, each back in their proper roles and functions.

Raine has been brought up short by Dude on occasion as well. The other day we were getting ready to leave on some sort of hair emergency expedition. Dave takes about 30 seconds to put his shoes on and gets a bit impatient with us dragging our feet when it's obviously time to leave (which is something he didn't want to do in the first place) so I sometimes have him find my shoes or get a soda, or something to keep him busy while we're finishing up our preparations. This time it was shoes. Dude had already put on his black sneakers and had mistaken his white shoes for mine. Upon finding the proper footwear he threw them in the general direction of my feet and then impatiently sat on the love seat to wait for the old folks (us) to actually start moving toward the door. Raine walked into the room, looked at his feet and asked, " Didn't you have white shoes?". Not even looking at her, Dave immediately shot one hand out, pointed at my shoes (still without feet in them) and said in a disgusted tone, "Dad's shoes are right there!". He looked up at Raine and said, " Dad's got to get the shoes on and get going!" And so, with our marching orders in hand, that's exactly what we did. It's a good thing (sometimes) we've got Dude to keep us in line..... uh..... yeah....

Dave has a new Health Aid (I'm not sure why they're called that) this summer, her name is Kate. They seem to be getting along rather well, but she may be getting the idea that the only reason Dude likes her is because when she's here I'm not.

On a normal day David will spend most of his time sequestered with heroes, villans, mutants and occasionally come downstairs to watch a movie with me (when I show the good taste of picking something he likes). But with Kate he gets to pick the movie and evidently is downstairs sucking up the action on the big screen all the time. Somehow, over Alien or Spaceballs blaring through the speakers, he hears my car pull up to the house, (I evidently don't have to worry about my son's hearing) confirms it's me by peering through the decorated front door window, (or worry about his eyesight) and by the time I get into the house, all I hear of him is the clatter as he gallops up the steps to go back to his games. This bothered me just a little but I was coping pretty well until a certain recent event.
Normally when I get home from work, I come in to the house through the side door, to the basement landing, take off my work boots, then enter the living area of the house through the kitchen door. Now, high on the inside of the door there's a safety lock left over from when Dave was younger and we had to worry about him wandering out the door and down the street. This evidently distressed the neighbors who were unused to eight year old autistic children dropping in unnanounced. My distress was for another reason all together. Anyway, the other day I came home, took off my boots, walked up the three steps to the kitchen door, and almost became a Three Stooges skit by rapping my skull off the unexpectedly immovable door. This trauma must have led to the brain damage that caused me to forget the keys (still in my hand) that I could have easily used to open the front door, walk up stairs and dispatch my smart-aleck son. So I stood on the steps, knocking politely on my own (interior) door with one hand, and rubbed my cranium with the other. It took a couple of moments for Kate to realise what was happening, and a few more moments for her to figure out a: where the knocking was coming from, and b: how to unlock the door. When I asked her who had locked the damned thing, she said, 'I was wondering why Dave went to the kitchen earlier.'

Fortunately for Dude by the time I'd signed her time sheet and seen her to the door, the brain damage I'd suffered had resulted in temporary amnesia. It must have because I didn't immediately rush up the stairs and pummel him.

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