Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Monday, March 21, 2011

Raine Cave:

Rainepic: Big Dude hiding..
Did you ever see a hound dog try to hid behind a cat?

I'd like to return (briefly) to those thrilling days of yesteryear. One of the most often asked questions when people from da 'Burgh find out I'm from Kansas is, 'How did you end up here?'. It's also, strangely enough, the most popular question from people who knew me before I moved to Pittsburgh. I'm not entirely certain of the reasons for this. It could be that people are curious as to how I ended up a thousand miles away from my home in an area where I have no family or history. It could also be that they're shocked that I was allowed to leave my normally supervised area of the country, or that I was allowed to move into the area without the news agencies covering it like any other natural disaster. No matter what the reason my answer to the question is normally: 'There are only 2 reasons a man moves such a distance.... and I'm not making a whole lot of money.'. The inference being (of course) that a woman is the cause. Also, as a side-benefit, if they're looking for a scapegoat, I've set the blame squarely on Raine's shoulders. (It was her! She snuck me in!)

    Raine and I had been typing at each other and talking for more than a year before her curiosity overcame her natural caution and she decided that she had to make certain that I wasn't a construct of some fiendish computer's imagination so she invited me to visit. Strangely enough, I wasn't immediately escorted back to the border, and even stranger I was even encouraged to return. After several such trips I decided that it was time for the ultimate test.... The Dude-visit. I picked the long Easter weekend for the visit to give her some extra Dude-time, basically so she couldn't say later that she hadn't been adequately warned.

Almost makes me look noble or something

 To say that I was nervous on several levels is an understatement comparable to 'I dropped the nuclear device, and it went boom'. There were many things to furrow my brow: I was still pretty new to the whole single parent thing. With Dave being 6 years old there were still a lot of things I didn't have any experience with. There was Dude's first plane trip. (he loved it) Then there was dealing with David in 3 crowded airports. (huge blood pressure spike, but no real problem). Then the biggie: How does a woman that you really like who's never dealt with an atypical kid deal with the running dialogue that is my youngest son?.
  Once again oddly enough (most things
around Dude and I are odd, so you'd think I'd be used to it by now)after some initial uncertainty she adjusted quite well and incredibly quickly. There's a minority opinion (Raine) that her meeting me was akin to jumping into freezing water, and after that she became kind of numb to any other Hoffman-shock. The conflict that I was so worried about almost never happened. The 'almost' kind of set the tone for our triple interaction from that point on.
   You see it wasn't David's constant talking, or his bulldozer-like attitude about obstacles, or even his tendency, at the time, to wander out of the house to knock at random doors in the neighborhood. All of which she handled with commendable aplomb and great patience. The conflict, it seems, was over window coverings. Yes, that's right, window coverings. Raine has been subject to migraines for quite some time so she tends to think that the proper use for windows is as a backdrop for curtains. The windows in our house all have mini-blinds or shades with curtains covering them. Many of the curtains are made of heavy fabric that would have saved countless English lives during the Blitz in WWII. This gives our house a warm, cave-like atmosphere that definitely has the Raine Seal of Approval.

Dadpic: You can tell by the look in his eyes...

  The very first morning after our arrival in Southwestern PA I was sitting in the front room, my mind still slightly unsettled as to how everything was going to work out, when I witnessed a bizarre ritual. While Raine was in the bathroom upstairs David walked down the stairs, climbed up on the couch, pushed back the curtains, and opened the blinds and the two windows behind them. He proceeded from there to open every window set on the first floor, curtains, blinds, and windows, letting in light and fresh air. I was slightly puzzled, but thought it was kind of cute, and watched him with a slight smile. As he finished in the kitchen I realized that Raine had finished earlier and had gone into the bedrooms before coming downstairs. She and Dave passed each other on the landing, each barely even noticing the other. I then watched Raine go from room to room, muttering, closing all the windows, blinds and curtains that my son had worked so hard to open. I quickly muted the TV, fairly certain what I'd hear from the second floor when I did. Yep, you guessed it. The sounds of my progeny reversing what Raine had done to reverse what he had done to the second floor portals. Feeling something like a comedic anthropologist, I quickly un-muted the television so as not to disturb the results of the experiment that was playing out before me.
   Raine had paused to do something else while securing the house from the Deadly Rays, which gave David all the time he needed to complete his mission and return to the ground floor, passing Raine in the dining/computer room (each, once again, nearly oblivious to the other). And as she was asking me if I were the evil culprit breaching black-out conditions, he was once again allowing light and air into the Sacred Dark Spaces. I informed Raine that I hadn't stirred from my current position since before she had gone upstairs so she would have to look elsewhere for the Dastardly Fiend. Max Sennet, Charlie Chaplin, and the Three Stooges combined couldn't have worked better timing into what happened next. As Raine turned to her left to go back into the kitchen, Dave walked quietly behind and to her right, perfectly syncronizing his pass with her spin, and as she made her pre-occupied way to the back of the house he once again opened the three windows in the front room and went back up the steps. She must have been pre-occupied, because she didn't notice that the windows had been opened until she started back into the living room. The really funny thing was that she had been muttering to herself, while closing the windows, about them being opened, and he was muttering (quietly) to himself, while opening the windows, about them being closed. I, in the meantime, was sitting innocently (sort of) on the couch trying not to explode with laughter and destroy the whole event.

Rainepic: Two Dudes walking
    Raine came back into the room and using her psychic-female abilities deduced that I was somehow involved in the plot to uncover her cave. Actually most men are pretty transparent when they think something's funny. I initially tried for total denial but when cornered I admitted that I was sort of the cause of her exposure to fresh air and light. Or, at least, that I'd brough the cause with me, and caused him in the first place. She then tromped up the stairs to have a little talk with my heir-apperent about blackout rules and who actually runs the roost. And, as I said, that pretty much set the tone for our time together.  When Dave does something that tweaks Raine, she mutters about it a bit, looks over at me and decides I'll be no help at all, goes and talks to him about it, and I pretty much sit on the couch and laugh.
   Don't get the wrong idea. Raine stepped into the Dude-mom thing like she was the missing part to our machine, as naturally as if she was biologically activated. He calls her 'Mom' and her mother, 'Grandma' and it's tough to remember sometimes that they're not related to him by birth.

PS: 'Rainepic's are obviously pictures taken by Raine... mostly without my permission. She didn't seem to think she needed it for some reason.


  1. That had to be funny to witness. It's neat to find someone that you can connect with personally but also melds with your child like they've been there all along.

  2. C: Yeah, strange how that didn't happen with his mother... lol Watching Dude with Raine is always entertaining.

    Magnolia doesn't actually exist... so her coment was deleted

  3. Sounds like both of you Dudes really lucked out with Raine :) And I'm glad she takes pictures surreptitiously, they are lovely.

  4. And don't think we don't know it!! (and take TOTAL advantage of same)
    She's more patient and better at taking pictures of people than I am, and I have a better eye for scenery and nature than she does... yet another way our diverse natures are compatible.