Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Monday, March 7, 2011

Are You My Buddy?:

I know he's scheming about something, I just don't know
what it is.
  Most of the time David has a problem showing affection. No sudden smiles, impromptu hugs, or affectionate touches. The only laughter that comes from him is generally derisive and happens when he thinks we've done something silly (by his standards) like when I've broken the car or fallen down, cracked my head, or basically anything that makes me say 'ow'. Other than that it's sometimes difficult to figure out if Dave really ever notices that we're not characters in one of his games.(Sometimes I'm not so sure we're not) Sure, sometimes his movie/game quotes are uncannily apt, but mostly they have little or nothing to do with reality as we know it. (Dude's reality is unknown and unknowable) He only asks questions for things: 'Can I have some water?', 'Can I play the game?'. I've never heard him start a question with 'Do you remember...?' or 'When did you...?  And he can't answer any of those questions either. You can ask him, 'How was your day?' or 'What did you do?', or even 'Do you like...?' until you're blue in the face, and the only answer you're going to get is, 'Yeah' or 'No'.  98% of all the questions that David has been asked in his lifetime have been answered 'Yeah' or 'No'. The other 2% are answered with, 'More ketchup please!'.    There is one time when I'm fairly certain I have David's total focus. GameStop weekend. Especially when he knows we aren't going until Sunday. Saturdays are sooo wonderful when he's concentrating totally on 'being a good boy' until Sunday. Recently we'd had an entire week of Smileys in the book and Dave was, as usual, all fired up about it. He kept telling/asking me, 'We're going to get the games!', 'Yep. That's all of them!', 'We've got to get to the GameStop, remember?'. Over and over again. Nothing would do until I acknowledged that we were indeed going to GS. Thinking that something might be rotten in the State of Dudeworld, I would only go so far as, 'We'll see.' That seemed to be more than he was expecting though (which tipped me off even further), and he went off, cheerily repeating, 'Yep, we'll see!'
    Come to find out he had reason for concern. The 'Good Notes' policy had been (by necessity) extended to the bus because of certain over-enthusiastic behavior. So with School, after school and the bus ride covered by notes or actual Dad-presence he had to go somewhere else in his genetically-driven need to find the loophole in the good-behavior straitjacket. So he began breaking the 'Getting ready for school' code. Not a good idea. Because Raine is a narc. Behavioural issues are my bailiwick and she has no problem ratting him out to me when there's something (very little) that I should deal with.
Contimplative Dude
   My informant, informed me (that's what informants do)  that the prisoner (Dude) was resisting head coverings and the prescribed stately pace to the transportation. In other words, he refused to wear his hood, or snatched it off as soon as Raine's back was turned. And once the door was open he'd bolt out, run down the walk, out into the street, around and up into the bus. The problem with the hood thing was that it was often 10-20 degrees in the morning, and we didn't want a Dude-cicle, or have to miss work to nurse him through a cold. The running to the bus wouldn't be a problem with your typical teen. The problem is that David doesn't seem to care whether the bus has come to a complete stop... or any stop at all, before he bursts down out into the street. I've said it before but Dave has absolutely no sense of personal danger. The up-side of this is that he's rarely worried about anything. It's the people around him that are in danger of uncers, heart palpitations, stress-induced high blood pressure and aneurysm.
   Anyway, knowing his gaming future was in doubt Dave started to act really weird.... for him. He actually walked down the steps at 8:30 to tell us 'I sure am tired, is it time for bed?'. To which we instantly replied, 'NO!!', knowing he'd be up at some ungodly hour of the morning if he went to sleep that early. The next morning I got up fairly early (for a Saturday) and Dude was lying in bed, awake... and quiet. Normally this does not happen. If he wakes up before we do, he'll walk into our room (that's where the Game is), gust a big sigh at our recumbent forms and crawl into bed with us.... Waking us up instantly. This was kind of cute when he was 6... and small. Even then he would squirm around and end up taking up most of the bed. He's neither 6 or small anymore, so he takes up quite a bit of the bed just laying down. This has the preferred (by him) effect of immediately getting Dad's lazy butt up out of bed. Unfortunately for him, the only effect this has on Raine is getting us peremptorily ordered from the room.
  Eventually, however, even Raines wake up an come downstairs. Actually when Dave hears the sink in the bathroom start running, so does he. He bolts up the stairs while loudly asking, 'Can he have the game, please?', without even considering the possibility that I might say 'No.' All this happened in normal fashion, seemingly negating the oddity of earlier in the morning.
  Several hours later a strange clone of my son descended the stairway and asked if he could get a drink of water. Actually the strange part came when he was (supposedly) headed back up. He stopped in the living room, put his hand gently on Raine's shoulder and said, in a soft, warm, velvety voice I'd never heard from him before, 'I'm hoping you're having a really good day.' I turned toward the two of them with a confused scowl, thinking I couldn't have heard that right, then realising that I'd actually heard what I thought I had by seeing the shocked expression on Raine's face. She was baffled, but replied, 'It's okay so far, thanks for asking.' He then walked over to the chair I was sitting in, leaned over and hugged me asking, 'Are you my buddy?' Even more confused, I replied, 'Yeah... so far.'  He then patted my arm and said something (I was too stunned to actually hear it) that sounded like it came directly from a bad Chick-flick. He then leaned back in for another hug and, still using the same velvet-voice, said, 'I love you, Dad'. If I hadn't already been sitting down I'd have ended up on the floor. Never, in his entire 16 year career, has David said that where it wasn't solicited somehow. He just doesn't, EVER, initiate that sort of conversation.
Where is all this coming from?
   Then he said, 'I think I'll be going now.'  And he walked up the stairs, stopped and said, 'He's being a good boy. Yes!'
  Ahh, a light dawns. It seems that the dual-lecture about being a 'Good Boy' in the morning has struck a cord. Devious Dude-Dads can use this to their advantage (and do).
   A couple of weeks later all three of us took a rainy-day journey to Ohiopyle State Park. Raine had nearly insisted we go somewhere before checking the weather report, and I didn't want to take a chance on missing the opportunity, even if it was raining. Any time this woman is willing to leave the cave I am going to GO. We where on and around the Youghiogheny (Yawk-a-gainy) river at the Ohiopyle Falls when I slipped under one of the observation platforms to get a better angle for a picture of the falls. Dude, who had been reasonably quiet and fairly well-behaved up to this point, mostly because he'd been plugged into my mp3 player during the drive, suddenly decided that he didn't have to listen to Raine anymore. He took off his hood, got out from under the umbrella, and walked over to the platform and didn't come back. Big mistake. I've explained before that Raine is, essentially, a narc. Once Dude gets passed a certain limit she's more than happy to bring down the wrath of DAD on his head. Raine had enough problems wondering how to keep track of my sodden body once I'd potentially fallen into the river to have to deal with autistic insurrection. So, once I'd returned from my potentially hazardous mission a Courts-Martial was convened and the ruling handed down was: No mp3 player for the rest of the trip without a major attitude adjustment. There was much sadness in the ranks.
Thank you for listening
   After that we drove to our next photo-op. Cucumber Falls, on a tributary of the Yough (Yawk= Youghiogheny) (don't ask me, I don't know how they get the pronunciation of half of this stuff) you couldn't pry David off of Raine with a hydraulic jack. He constantly walked holding her arm at the elbow, hood up, leaning under the umbrella, and wouldn't leave her even when it was potentially dangerous to walk side-by-side. Every once in a while he would lean even closer and softly say, 'Thank you for listening.' Dave has a problem reversing pronouns so it took us a couple of times to understand that he was actually thanking himself for listening to Raine. He had his suck-up engines cranked to Warp Factor-10 and was prepared to send them into Emergency Overload to get his tunes back. Once we got past the 'Just one more shot' stage and were at the car a Parole hearing was commenced and it was decided to return the mp3 on condition of continued good behavior. Which lasted pretty much until he got back to his games and didn't need the player anymore.
Silly People
   I think the leniency of the Parole Board can be attributed to finding out that Cucumber Falls Park (a silly enough name) was renamed from Keister Park. So basically we'd gone to Butt Park to look at Cucumber Falls. I'm not sure if that means anything, but it sounds ridiculous.

No comments:

Post a Comment