Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Friday, October 10, 2014

It's Not Worry... It's Love:

Recently Dude and I went to a Burger King to pick us up some fish sandwiches and stuff on our way home. While we were waiting on ONE of us to make up his mind (yes... that would be me) about what he wanted for dinner Dave started babbling (no! Really?) and in the middle of a bunch of stuff I didn't really understand he admonished the small man behind the counter, 'He needs to get the systems all packed up to go to the Vegas! And soon!' The guy looked a bit startled (a common reaction) and then just a bit uncomfortable (also, fairly common) I was just ready to file him in the 'Ignorant-But vaguely useful' category when Dude switched gears and ordered a Mountain Dew! 'Dude,' I said dryly, 'You are the second to the last person in the world who would ever need a Mountain Dew, and the LAST one that I would ever buy one for!' David grumped (not too much) away a bit and I turned to choose the food that I would actually take home with us, which did NOT include any over-caffeinated citrus sodas.
     When Dave gets going I have to nearly continuously calm him down and bring him back over next to me. Which, in this case, was taking the 'Fast' straight out of the whole 'Fast Food' thing. Jerry, or
whatever the heck his name was, behind the counter was very patient, which got him upgraded to the 'Ignorant, but useful' category. So, things were looking up for Jerry. He didn't seem impressed with the promotion though. Just as I was about to begin the ordering process again Dude broke in with, 'He's going to Vegas!' Maybe-Jerry once again looked a bit startled, and started to say something when Dave proved that he wasn't done yet (20 years and still going strong, take THAT Energizer Bunny!), 'You wanna go to the Vegas and see the Casinos?' I could tell that Jerry was caught in the  'being nice to the customer and saying something rude' quandary, so I tried to bail him out. 'He's obsessed with Vegas for some reason. He invites about 20 people a day to go with him.' Once again there was a loud noise emanating from just over my shoulder, 'Yes! He gets to go with us to the Vegas! And take videos of ALL the elevators!' And then he wandered over to the fountain drink dispenser, probably to check out supplies for the trip. 'Vegas is the BEST!'
     Jerry was studying Dude thoughtfully. I tried to reassure him, 'I don't think he actually expects
everyone he invites to actually go.' Jerry looked at me, 'I hope not. Vegas sucks.... I grew up there.' I started laughing. 'Yeah, I've been there a couple of times, I can imagine that stuff gets old pretty quick.' I was pretty sure that David hadn't heard this exchange when he appeared at my shoulder again (I liked it better when he was shorter and couldn't speak directly into my ear) 'It's only the Casinos!' Which is what he says when someone seems to be less than thrilled with being included into the whole 'Sin City Casino Elevator Excursion' crowd. Jerry was definitely looking less than thrilled.
      Despite our wanna-be travel agent, Jerry and I eventually worked together to get our immediate supply problems worked out and, with bags in hand, David and I started for the exit. I did my usual, 'Take care.' valediction and Dude started a new, but already traditional farewell, 'See you in Vegas in 2015!' I just kept walking through the first set of doors, shaking my head. I was surprised when I reached the second door, as there was no skinny, loud doorman to shove me peremptorily out of his way to open the door ahead of me. He had turned back to stick his head back into the dining/ordering area to shout out, 'Okay! See you later! You have to get the Game Disks all packed and ready to go!' 'David, let's go.' Because, you know, we already had a 10 minute drive to let the food get cold, and there was no need to add to it. Dave took one step in my direction, then realized he'd forgotten to give
Jerry an instruction and whipped around and opened the door again. 'He has to get the systems in the boxes, to get to the Vegas!' Jerry, fully indoctrinated by this point, just laughed and waved as Dude followed me outside (finally)
  As we were walking across the parking lot to the car Dave, obviously excited to have added another member to his growing 'Vegas Posse' called out, 'He's going to go with us to the Vegas in the 2015! He's a winner, already!' I just shook my head, doubting that Jerry would be going to his hometown, with or without us (especially with), and said, 'I guess he is, Dude.'
   Keeping with the food theme, I'm the main cook in our house. I learned to cook from my mother when I was a teenager and I'm well aware that the student is nowhere near to surpassing the teacher, but I want it stated for the record that no one has yet died from eating my cooking. At least officially. David's idea of 'haute cuisine' is virtually anything that comes with sauce, cheese or ranch dressing but he does sometimes let me know when I've done it 'right'. Normally on something I've cooked him seven thousand times before. With Dave it's never, 'Oh! I was just thinking about this, what a coincidence!' But I do get, 'Excellent dinner choice, Dad!' Which amounts to pretty much the same thing.
     There's one dish that I serve semi-regularly that I basically stole from my mother. It's a hamburger-green bean casserole, and since it has mashed potatoes and it's topped with melted cheese Dave pretty much will eat as much of it as anyone will give him. (I tell him frequently that he's lucky I learned from a woman who was cooking for 7 people) Raine also loves this stuff, but she also chose me, so take that as you will. Anyway, I was on Facebook the other day when I saw something that my sister, Patricia posted. It was a casserole with almost the exact same ingredients, save one. Hers used tater tots instead of mashed taters, and inverted the potatoes and the cheese so that you didn't have to spread the cheese on top of a lava-hot dish and then stuff it back in the oven. I thought, hey... I can do that. And so it was to be.
     After consulting with my sister for some of the finer details I made the stuff for dinner one evening. After a comment about tater tots in his dinner and two very generous portions of casserole  Dave went about his business without much further indication that he enjoyed it any more than any other meal that he liked. Alexis sometimes gets home later than we eat, so she was just heating her dinner when Dude came back down for something to drink. I was told later that he was distressed that the leftovers hadn't made their way into the refrigerator. 'He has to put the dinner in the bowl in the refrigerator, so he can have it for the lunch!' Despite the fact that he doesn't take lunches to school. Hearing this, however, I decided to break one of my long-standing, but arbitrary rules about serving the same meal two days in a row. (this only counts for leftovers) So, the next night David was pleased to see all of the remaining Enhanced Hamburger Casserole on his plate for his evening meal. As he was munching merrily away Raine and I were talking in the kitchen when I mentioned that he had been worried about the state of the leftovers the night before when, from out of the dining room there came a soft (for once) voice that said, 'No. It wasn't worry. It was LOVE!' Raine and I looked at each other in shock, then put on our impressed faces, nodded to each other and whispered portentously, 'It was looooooove!' And then totally blew the whole, 'reserved parent' thing and broke out laughing.
     Well, I guess, since it's looooooooove I'll have to add it to the regular menu.....

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