Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Monday, April 30, 2012

Who is It?:

For one reason or another David hasn't had his very own-this is mine-no one else comes in without permission-room for some time. Due to the small size of the house we were living in he had to share a bedroom and all his precious games and gaming things were in our room with the bulk of his toys consigned to the dining/computer room and the basement. So when we moved to the Island, into a house with 5 bedrooms Dave was in what you might call... well... heaven really. Not only did he get his very own room, but it was on a completely different floor than Dad and Raine's room and no longer above the living room so he didn't have to be particularly quiet while Dad and Raine were watching TV downstairs. With bed (which he didn't really care about), bookcase, (also no interest), dresser (ditto) TV (getting better), 360 (yes!), and games (Ah! there we go!) all installed he promptly shut the door and ignored us for the next several hours.
  In the next couple of days it seemed to take an inordinate amount of time for Dude to start down the stairs whenever we called him. Either for meals or to take something else up to his room he just wouldn't respond as quickly as we thought he should. He also seemed to be having a bit of trouble getting the door to open to let him out of the room. I checked the door, and it did appear to stick a bit. But, since it wasn't an emergency, and the door did work, I just had too much to do at the time to bother with, or think much more about it. And for one reason or another neither Raine or I ever went into his room while he was already ensconced before the Altar of Microsoft (Xbox) for the next several days.
   One day, about a week or so later, when it started to get a bit colder, and things calmed down just a little bit Rain had Dave come down and help her take some things up to his room. They made two or three trips together and then Raine took some time to get a couple of things settled and left him to his games. Possibly 30 seconds after she returned downstairs she turned right around and took some extra blankets (still getting used to the steam heating) up to David's room. 

   Raine (unlike me) has a very natural and refined sense of propriety. She won't just open a door to a child's bedroom, she always announces she's entering. She also possesses a double set of fairly long, natural fingernails that she uses (with either hand) in rapid staccato fashion against the center panel of the door instead of knocking. On a solid panel door in a mostly empty house with hardwood floors this tends to sound like a veteran secretary from the 40's running an old Underwood manual typewriter to its absolute limit of speed. It's not loud, but it can't possibly be ignored. Not even by my son when he's deep in the throes of Video-Zombie-ism to the point where he doesn't even stop for Mac and Cheese. (now that's some serious gaming)
   I have the great, Good Luck to witness some of the interactions between these two. It's wonderful to see, but sometimes I'm not too sure which one of us she wants to throttle more. Dave, for aggravating the crap out of her or: Me, for laughing my butt off about it. Sometimes I don't think she knows either. Our continued survival might be due to the fact that she can't take out both of us at once.
   So Raine, with the kind of propriety I can't hope to imitate, stood at Dave's door, armload of blankets in one hand and doing her imitation of Arnold Schwartzenegger's Uzi with the other. (there were veterans down the street ducking for cover and screaming for an evac) When she hears through the door, 'Who iiis it?' in that sing-song tone you'd hear from the mom on old black and white sitcoms. Raine laughed abruptly and responded in a slightly different tone, 'Who is it? Who do you think it is? I was just up here 20 seconds ago!' Then I heard the door rattle. 'David Richard! You open this door!' Dude responded in the same tone he used
 earlier, 'Just a mi-nute, I'll be right the-ere.' I heard a rattle, then the door opening, and my son's cheery voice greeting my mate, 'Hi Raine, how are you today?' She responded (rather grumpily I thought) 'If you don't watch out I'm going to show you how I am!'  I'm pretty sure if she hadn't been so aggravated she'd have found it just as funny as I did. Well, fairly sure anyway. At any rate, the door eventually opened, the blankets were delivered, the bed made and Raine returned to the Adult section of the pool.
   She walked through the door to the living room, where I was assembling something in a manly fashion (I'm fairly certain it was shower shelves, but it could have been a missile launcher, not sure) when she grumbled her way around the couch to stand, arms akimbo, directly in front of my mother's favorite son (no choice, she only had one) and said in that amused/aggravated tone that I hear so often (for some unknown reason), 'That son of yours... ' I looked up at her and said, 'Yes, dear?' But there must have been something about my look that she didn't like because she next said in a just aggravated tone, 'Oh... you're not going to be any help!'
  'But dear....!' I said in my best just-trying-to-help voice. But she wouldn't listen for some reason. I mean, I had the proper concerned look on my face and used the 'I'm trying to help' voice and everything. She walked off grumbling to herself, which I'm almost certain is a sign of some sort of burgeoning mental problem (probably called Two-Dude-itis). I chuckled to myself for a couple of minutes, continuing to build some sort of  'object of mass destruction', or towel rack, can't really remember which, and thought no more about the whole incident.
   I was reminded that true sympathy is a gift beyond measure. Or at least it would have saved me from a couple of  'I tried to tell you's. A couple of days later I decided (for some strange reason) to actually enter the Dude Den unannounced. I don't remember the reason I went in there, but I do know that it wasn't my first trip to the Den since Raine's troubles a few days before. It was, however, the first time I'd been up there when Dave had his headphones on. Every other time he'd hear me clomping up the steps and I'd hear a faint 'Uh oh' (which I thought was probably appropriate) and then he would meet me at the door with a 'Hi, Dad! How're you doing?'. (Politeness should have tipped me off right away, but like I said, I was busy) But with his headphones on he couldn't hear the gentle 'clomp-clomp' of my feet as I made my way up the stairs. Let's face it, with his headphones on he probably wouldn't have heard the Crack of Doom. So having made my way upstairs with Ninja-like stealth (with steel-toed boots on), and being the autocratic barbarian that I am, I immediately tried walking straight through Dave's door. As my skull rebounded off the suddenly impenetrable barrier I was immediately and forcefully reminded of an earlier incident where my son had humorously (?) locked a door that I thought was open. This time however, the brain damage didn't seem as bad, or at least the amnesia didn't set in as quickly as last time, because Dave and I immediately had a talk (I talked, he listened... mostly) about free access of the lease holder to any and all non-rent paying areas of the household. I'm not sure whether or not he actually listened to me, but I now have untrammeled access to my son's room. Which comes in particularly handy when I've got to hunt him down for bath-times.  None of the 15 interior doors in the house is safe from being closed (sometimes forcefully), and probably never will be, but at least I don't have to poke them with a stick before I sling them open.

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