Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wide-ish World of Sports:

    First of all, I want it stated for the record that David and I actually made it to the Special Olympics this year, on time. I would also like to note that this year Marilyn Yarosz actually witnessed this total break with tradition. Nearly the first time ever we made it early, except for last year, which doesn't count because she wasn't actually there to see it. What didn't break tradition was the weather. In 12 years of attending the SO in Beaver County there has only been one year where the weather actually cooperated with the event. Coincidentally, that was also the year that Marilyn missed, so I've had some very pointed questions to ask her about that. (She says she's been doing this for 3 times as long and can never remember having decent weather) (I rest my case) The day dawned close, gloomy and grey with wind bending the branches of the trees in the backyard. This put the final nail in the 'Dude and Dad Annual SO Bike Ride'. I don't particularly mind the weather, but there was no way I was riding 10 or so miles away in dicey weather with Dude still getting over his cold. Unfortunately this meant I had to wake up an hour and a half early to take Raine to work so we could have the car.
     So, that was my first minor disappointment of the morning. It wasn't to be the last. Dude is like me in several ways. One of them is that we really don't want to wake up to someone else's schedule, but once we do, we want to get on with getting done with whatever it is that woke us up in the first place. After we dropped Raine off at work we took our usual exit back to the house. Dude looked up from his game in momentary confusion. Then when we pulled into the drive he looked up again and said, 'Whaaaat?' Somehow making it sound like one of the Minions from Despicable Me. 'He has to get to the Western Beaver High School, to get to the Games to go to the State College!' This was not a new mantra. 'Later David. First we have to wait. It's way too early to go yet.' I stood up out of the car and started toward the front door. 'Yes! We go later and then, in the summer, he gets to go to the State College, and then we go to the Vegas!' This also was not a new mantra. Not wanting to add fuel to the Vegas fire and since we hadn't received any notice at all that he was going to be invited to State College this year, I just let that one slide by without comment.
   At a loss for anything else to do, and with a case of bed-hair that looked more like a swarm of string aliens had attacked my skull and were viciously opposed by the Warriors of Final Net, I decided that our spare time would be better spent in an Ancient Ritual of Dude Cleansing.... or showers, as they are now called. So we went into battle fairly clean and I looked a whole lot less like a 'before' picture in a hairspray add.
    Dave's teacher, Mrs. Yarosz ( yah-roe-s) had called me the night before to tell me that she had forgotten to send David's event card and maps and 'Find us in the morning and I'll give them to you.' Then there was a pause and I may have even heard a chuckle. 'Actually just wander around looking for us and we'll find you.' It seems that someone has finally caught on to my usual tactics. I mean, it's no secret how I find people at these things, right? I mean, I've written about it several times. And that's exactly what we did, I mean, what else were we going to do? Except our 'random' wandering took us mysteriously close to the snack bar, after I had brilliantly deduced that they had Orams Donuts, a Pittsburgh icon of yeasty sugary things to eat with coffee or milk. People from the area will understand the sarcasm of the 'brilliantly deduced' thing. It's not hard to spot 40 cinnamon rolls the size of your head, and even less difficult to figure out where they came
      And thereby was my second disappointment realized. Not only were they out of cinnamon rolls, but they were also out of change and I'd just hit an ATM and only had a 20. Dude didn't care. Donuts were offered and donuts must be delivered. 'He has to get the donuts to get the medals to go to the State College!' Great. You had to open your big mouth, didn't ya, dad? While I tried to figure out how to get dough and nut together without exact change I heard, 'Good! Glad to see you brought the camera. Hi David!' I whipped my head around only to see the after-image of blond hair, sunglasses and a teal coat quickly disappearing into the crowd. From the coat and the height of the hair I figured it was Ashley, but she was gone too quickly for either one of us to react, or even actually see her. 'Uh... hi?' I said, scaring the hell out of a group of teenage girls I was trying to wildly look over the top of. After being consigned to the realm of the old and weird I bought a couple of bands from the souvenir tent which gave me the change to get the 'nut' some 'dough'. Although I asked for two custard filled, we ended up with two jelly filled, but hey, they were doughnuts... who cares, right?
    Mrs. Yarosz, using her Dude tracking software, found us and gave me Dude's packet, and we were off to the events... unnoticed by me, Dave had a big dot of raspberry filling smeared on his forehead, like a wound in a bad action movie, but since I didn't have a 'blunt object' visible on my person, no one called the cops. Or, at least I think that's why no one called them.... It's entirely possible National Guard units were already on standby because of Dude's presence, so why bother with cops?
    Last year, after 12 years of the Same Thing Every Year, there was a change in Dave's events, the substitution of hurling the Huge Iron Sphere of Death (or at least possible ouchie) from The Soft Ball Toss. This upset my applecart a bit. Hey, I've got to stand in front of this guy to take pictures. This year they changed the rest. Taking out the 50 meter run and Standing Long Jump and replacing them with the 100 meter run and Running Long Jump. I was a bit worried about them upsetting Dude's autistic mojo, but he'd had several weeks to get used to the idea. I was the only one distressed about it, but, since I wasn't the one actually competing, we just trucked our butts over to the Shot Put area to get ready.
    Someone has been showing Dave pictures of classical Greek Olympic games. Either that, or he's been
watching Hercules again, because when it came time for him to throw the shot-put he struck a pose that I've only seen on pictures of Greek amphora: Shot stuck tight against the neck, under the ear and opposite hand thrust out flat, palm down, and pointed at the clouds. He held this 'Olympic Pose' for several seconds, then heaved with all his might with a manly grunt and a look of concentration on his face. Of course that look of concentration was completely destroyed once he noticed he was getting his picture taken. What a hambone, I really don't know where he gets it. (Shut up Raine! And stop laughing!!) Even with his Gong Show antics, Dude got a bronze medal, so maybe being a goof is actually an athletic achievement. If so, he ought to win Gold every time
    Since it was such a nice, sunny day.... oh, sorry. Wrong story. Since it was cold, windy and damp, and since Dave still had a cold, and we had almost an hour til his next event, we snuck back across the school grounds and over the highway to the car... or 'locker room' since we were at an athletic event. Unlike 2 years before I was well prepared for the hiatus, Dave had his 3DS and I had my Kindle so we had it covered. Sort of. As we were walking toward the highway Dude, already over the whole experience, I guess, asked, 'So, he gets the cheeseburgers and the Wendy's to go to State College to video the elevators!?' He looked up at me, with trust in his eyes, (the little manipulator) and continued, 'Then he goes to the Vegas and gets ALL THE ELEVATORS!!!' Caught only momentarily off guard I used the same phrase that's been getting parents out of jams throughout history: 'We'll see.' 'Yes!' He said, as if I'd just announced his winning ticket, 'Yes! He gets the good notes and goes to the Game Stop and gets Pokemon X Version!' Hey, it kind of worked the first time, so I tried it again, 'We'll see.' He stopped me with a hand on my arm, and looked me intensely in the eye, 'I've got the good notes, and Saturday we go to the Game Stop to get the Pokemon X Version!' My brow furrowed a bit, ready to quell the rebellion (Viva La Revolucion!). But at that moment, it was just Dude, with those pleading hazel eyes, working for a reward for being well behaved. (which is sooo against both our natures) and, wishing to maintain the discipline in the ranks, I gave him my best Gen. George S. Patton look and said, 'Boy! I am in command here! You will do as I say, and like it! Now march!'... Okay, I smiled softly and said, 'Yes, we're going to GS tomorrow to get a game.' and left it at that. (I am SUCH a wuss)
   After our electronic Olympic break Dude and I headed back to the field of battle to a brand new-ish event, the 100 meter run. He had battled (or cheated) his way to 2 or 3 straight gold medals in the 50, and also one at the State Olympics so I supposed adding another 50 was someone's way of rewarding that accomplishment. Either that, or the starter for the 50 meter at Beaver County got tired of his cheating butt, and kicked it out. Either way I kept my feelings to myself and just got Dude to race and left it at that.
   The weren't done with the under 18's yet. Oh Dave soooo loves waiting. That's either Dave, by the way. Once it was (finally) time to run the race I found my actual objection to doubling the length of his race. It also doubled the distance I had to race to get down to the finish line to take pictures. But soon we had the race Dude-bracketed and we were both waiting for the starter to give his command. Dave again had to start the event with the 'classic pose'. If by 'classic' you mean Mack Sennett, or Charlie Chaplin. All we needed for lunch sandwiches was some bread and Miracle Whip, we already had the ham.
     Dude has had some problems with his cavalier attitude about the rules of running a race. (although I'm pretty sure he doesn't consider them problems) You know, the starting after the word go, staying in your own lane.... then there's the rule about not arm-barring your closest opponent and pushing off him to win the race. You know... the little rules. Someone had evidently sent him in for a little 'indoctrination' somewhere, because even when the next kid over cut into his lane and made him come in last he never left his lane, never so much as touched the kid, and actually let the kid live once he found out he wasn't getting a medal. I was so shocked I almost stopped taking pictures... almost. But the world was still spinning, the sun was still converting hydrogen into energy and Hell hadn't actually frozen over yet. (as far as I know) So I still took pictures.
     Once again we had to wait a bit for the next event. Somewhere in our wandering around Ashley whizzed
by us, I think twice. Either that, or mosquitoes had taken to wearing blue coats because of the cold, because other than a quick impression of a teal blur and a buzzing sound that might have been her voice, we had no other indication that she had been there at all. While we were waiting Mrs. Yarosz tracked us down again, she's been really great with Dude, and she never misses an opportunity to teach him a little bit more. Despite this, David always seems genuinely glad to see her. My cynical side thinks this is because she's the arbiter of the computer time in school. Most of the time I don't listen to my cynical side, but this time I think it just might have a point. Actually she's pretty wonderful so maybe my cynical side needs to stuff it.
   The Running Long Jump is a completely new event for us. I think I annoyed David after about the 12th time I asked him if he knew how to do it. He said, 'yeah' the first 7 or 9 times I asked, and then on the 10th, just to wind me up, he said, 'No'. I stopped, gave him a bit of the stink-eye and then said, 'Okay, I'll stop asking, then.' When I finally walked to the other side of the pit to take pictures I was a little sad, thinking that one of my favorite things about the Standing version was his goofy Silent Movie Windups (without the silent part), and now, with the running approach I probably wouldn't be seeing any of that action. I completely underestimated my son. Between each run/jump there was a girl who was directing traffic. After the sand rakers raked, and the sweeper swept and the other two student helpers.... shifted around aimlessly,she would say, 'Go!' and the kid would, you know.... go. Dude took advantage of that hiatus to 'warm up'. (The less generous would say that he used that time to 'show off') by going through a series of poses and, well... things that looked kind of like stretches. Then when the girl asked if he was ready he started channeling Duke Kahanamoku, the surfer. Wide sideways stance, knees bent, both hands straight out at the shoulders, palms down. It was a perfect surfer pose. I almost started looking around for Annette Funicello. As soon as the girl said, 'Go!' he ran down the lane with a look of intense concentration and, without crossing the line, (something he can't seem to do in the SLJ) leaped into the air and had a fairly
credible jump. After two more versions of the 'Surfer Start' we walked up to the table and waited for his ribbon. Dude had already started, 'The Wendy's store is open for lunch, remember?' and didn't even seem to mind as much that he'd gotten two ribbons this year instead of the, now usual, 3 medals.
    We'd gotten home, cheeseburgers in hand, and consumed same, then I had just started to relax and settle into the comfort of the couch when the thought hit me between the eyes like a bullet and I sat up straight and exclaimed, 'Oh my GOD!! Next week is Prom!'