Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Double Naught Spy:

    All week David bugged me about what he wanted to do with his 'Game-Points'. Even on Monday he was already planning to get 5 good notes and already knew exactly what he wanted to do with them. (More on that later) He wanted me to 'Take him to CD Warehouse in Boardman to get the Paper Mario for the Nintendo Game Cube.' ..... Uh huh.
    Okay. Three different 'hiccups' present themselves here. Firstly:
     Pre-planning: I have a bit of a problem with the fact that he already knows that he was going to get 5 good notes. Which, to me, indicates some premeditated control over his actions when he wants to. It's the premeditated planning I have a problem with. It pretty much tells me that he could be good whenever he wanted to be and therefore implies a certain decision about being bad all those times he didn't get good notes. It's worthy of noting, however, that decision also keeps me from becoming completely destitute from buying metric tons of games every year. So I'm really torn about complaining too much about that one.
     CD Warehouse:  CD Warehouse is a company that buys used movies and games and then resells them at a modest mark-up. I love this idea. As a matter of fact, almost half of my extensive movie collection came from CD Warehouse or like businesses. The problem? That particular store is no longer a CD Warehouse. In fact, CD Warehouse no longer has a store in Boardman Ohio, or anywhere else in Ohio for that matter. My son, who can tell you how to get to any GameStop in the Tri-State Area hasn't adjusted to the fact that BuyBacks is the name that particular store has had for the last 4 years. 4 or so times a year we've gone into that building, and every time I've got to tell him that it's BuyBacks, not CD Warehouse. He can take correction on a mispronounced game title in a heartbeat, but Stores are forever. I really think that may just be a 'growing up in Pittsburgh' thing. I'm only now getting to the point that I know where 'stuff used to be' enough that I can take driving directions from the natives.
     Specific Game: This is a two-parter. Firstly I'm almost dead certain that Paper Mario didn't come out until well after the Game Cube was no longer a viable gaming system. I'm willing to admit my specific ignorance on the matter, but it seems to me that PM is a fairly recent game, mostly for the 3DS system and was never written for the Game Cube platform. Secondly, it's been a couple of months since the last time we were there. How the hell would he know that specific game is there at all? Was there a disturbance in the Mario Force? What sort of Game Jedi-mind-powers is my son actually employing? Does his brain get Game-Alerts the same way I get Penguins updates on my phone? Is there actually an App for that?
     Despite my misgivings and the 50 mile distance, when Saturday came away Dude and I went. Since it seems to be traditional, David was telling Raine that she should 'remain here' and 'You can find us at the CD Warehouse in Boardman' when she'd already said goodbye and closed the front door to go back to the couch.
     I have to admit that I left a part out when I told Dude of our trip. The part where we stopped on the way so that I could take some pictures of the completely frozen Buttermilk Falls. I had been up there the week before taking pictures when it was only mostly frozen, and I was curious about how it looked a week later. Dave is monumentally indifferent to Nature in all it's Wonder and Glory, and he's less than pleased whenever I come up with anything that gets in the way of his game conquest that doesn't involve cheese or Ranch dressing. He especially doesn't like when the camera gets involved, because he knows that whatever we're doing it's not only going to involve walking and probably nature, it's going to take quite some time. I'm pretty sure he's hidden my camera a couple of times. He was pretty good about it, at least at the beginning. We got out in the parking lot, with Dave only inviting one family to Vegas this summer, and made our way to the falls, stopping 3 times along the fairly short path to take pictures.
    Dave is kind of funny about some things. He's fairly good at picking out motivations, but absolutely terrible about understanding when I want him to bring me my sneaks. He'll bring me his boots, the wrong shoes or just stand there looking at our shoe rack and just not understand which ones my tennis shoes are. He can however, without anyone actually telling him, grasp the objective of just
about any trip, and pick up on just when we've reached that juncture. That's just when he inserts his own agenda. Now, if he would wait until the activity were complete, he would be golden, but such is not ever to be with Dude. Just as soon as we'd reached the falls, which were entirely encased in ice, he started pushing his own agenda, 'Now we can go to the GameStop in the Boardman and then get the lunch.' I just gave him the 'Dad Stare' (pat pend) That dead-eyed, one brow raised, 'you're kidding me' look that your mother gave you when you asked for desert before dinner was started. Again.
   Needless to say, the objections of the minor-partner in this endeavor were summarily ignored. Ice falls were pictured and Dude-photos were snapped as well. Of course, once I was done the only thing that kept him from galloping back to the car like a gazelle chased by a cheetah was the fact that the path was entirely covered in snow and ice. With several 'Woah! Careful! It's slippery here's and a couple of actual Ice-Capades moments we made it safely back to the car and were on our way.
     I've said it before, but Dave is actually a fairly good car-companion. He generally plugs himself in to his system and tunes out the world, but even when he doesn't he's pretty good in a car. So, half and hour and a sing-along 'Bad to the Bone' moment later and we were opening the doors of 'CDWarehouse'. (BuyBacks) This is where my son's Game-Jedi mind skills would be put to the test. He failed that test miserably. Not even close. Not only didn't BuyBacks have the game he was looking for, but neither BB or the GameStop next door had the game he wanted. As a matter of fact, neither place had any Game Cube games. None. Not one. I was beginning to doubt my son's Game-Jedi powers.
We wandered both places looking for a substitute game. Because there was no way I was going to drive that far and have to listen to Dude whining all the way home about not getting a game. Once we'd purchased the non-Paper Mario game, however the true nature of our trip became readily apparent. As soon as we'd started walking toward the door of the GameStop I heard, 'Now we can have luch at that Golden Corral and get the buffet and the Macaroni and Cheese.' Mystery solved. The fact that I didn't even know there was a mystery is only a tribute to the Puppet Master cunning of my opponent. I was played so well, I couldn't even complain that there were closer buffets to my house than the one in the neighboring state. He left me no where to go. He's just that good.
     Dave's obsession with all things cheesy is known far and wide throughout the land. A big part of this lactic OCD takes place in buffet style restaurants where the Mac and Cheese is, well... endless. He often asks/tells me to take him to a particular buffet, which I generally ignore because they're nowhere near where we are going. So my son, fueled no doubt by 007 villain's nefarious schemes, had completely and totally played me with the 'Paper Mario' scam. It was all just a ploy to get to the Golden Corral buffet's Mac and Cheesy goodness. And he got me, I admit it. I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. Like any unwitting hero in an adventure-comedy I stumbled through, unwitting and unknowing and ended up right where the Supervillain wanted me to be. In line to pay for 2 buffet lunches half a hundred miles away from home.

   One thing about taking David to a buffet. You're going to get your money's worth. He ate two generously loaded plates and then about a third of each of my, not quite so full, plates, given to him to keep him busy while I replenished his supplies. He also killed a pretty good sized helping of cottage cheese and ranch. Okay. Foodies, food-purists and those with squeamish stomachs should skip this part. I got Dave started on something he's decided he loves very much. For years I've been putting salad dressing on cottage cheese, so Dude started eating cottage cheese with dressing. Dave likes it because it tastes just like you're eating a big bowl of Ranch dressing. Which he approves of.
    So, we drove the 50 miles back home with the 'wrong' game. But I have the feeling that Dude got the thing he actually wanted on that trip.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Are you Here?:

     After more than a year and a half, my niece, Alexis is leaving us. I think the noise that is Dude
finally just ran her out. Not really, but whenever possible I try to blame stuff on Dude. He doesn't care, and who knows? Some of it could actually be his fault.... No, probably not.
   Anyway, Alex is leaving, a situation that Dude has no real concept of. To illustrate: Alexis is often leaving about the same time that Dave is waiting for, or Raine is putting him on the bus. This happens several times every week. Since she works quite some distance from the house, and she sometimes works a bit later than strictly necessary she often gets home well after the time Dude has already eaten and has lost himself in GameLand. He acts shocked almost every time he finally sees her. Often gushing over the fact that she's managed to find the house yet again, and hugging her like he only makes the reunions once every 20 years or so. I know she's not from here, but after the first time, I pretty much figured she had it down. Dave takes nothing for granted though, and is surprised every time.
     One of the few times we were out of the house when Alex got home, we walked in and by the time I got in the house Dave was already hugging her. Hanging all over her neck and saying, 'Alex! It's been so long since we've seen you!' She smiled. 'You made it! It's so good to see you again!' Alexis laughed and looked at me. I shrugged, 'It's almost like he didn't just see you 12 hours ago.' She laughed again, 'I know, right?' Of course, once it had been established that this was indeed his cousin and that she hadn't somehow been substituted by Pod People from the Planet Mars, or at least one of his other cousins, (pretty much the same thing) he completely ignored her for the rest of the night.
You see, Dave sometimes condenses his affection and worry and then gets it all out at once in a waterfall of emotion, and once it's used up... that's it. You're done. Next!
     Other times, it's as if he can't be bothered to check with his senses what's actually going on right at that moment. Most of the time when we leave the house it's just he and I, and he'll stop at the door, shoot out an open palm toward Raine, 'You stay here! We'll be right back.' Not that he's trying to confine her to the house... No one has to do that, she could be under house arrest and never know the difference. He forges ahead anyway, 'You can find us at the Game Store!'  She stares back at him in sweat pants, slippers and sleep shirt, obviously (to anyone but a Dude) not planning on going anywhere. She just raises an eyebrow and flatly states, 'Okay then... I'll just stay right here.' Of course by this time David's trying to shove his slow father into the car, so I'm not even sure if he hears her.
     And then there are times when he is exactly on point. When he's even more observant and in the moment than anyone around him. I'm not exactly setting any standards for observational awareness, but I can't count the times David has brought me up short. Once we went to a department store called Boscoff's at the mall. Now we've been to the mall and that store any number of times. I've been upstairs and downstairs and to every corner of both floors. It's a pretty good sized, but I was pretty
sure I'd been to every corner of the place at one time or another. I was not correct. As we were walking toward the store, Dude said, 'We'll go into the Boscoff's and take the elevator to the second floor!' 'Escalator' I said, automatically. 'He takes the Elevator.' He stated emphatically. 'Dave,' I explained patiently, 'There's no elevator in Boscoff's. We're taking the Escalator.' He looked at me earnestly and almost pleaded, 'It's only the elevators, around the corner... in the (something) Department.' 'Dave,' I said, flatly, concentrating on whatever silly crap I was there to pick up, 'we're taking the escalators and that's it.' Me? Stubborn? Nah!
      And so we went in and used the escalator. Damn it! Although he did seem to be a bit reluctant to follow me when we first entered the store, but we went upstairs and fruitlessly searched for whatever it was that I wanted, listening to him bitch about the elevator the whole time. 'It's just the elevators.' and, 'He uses the elevators for the Field Trip for the Beaver Valley Mall!' I looked at him darkly, still secure in my knowledge that there were no elevators in Boscoff's! We then wandered around the store for a minute or two and then when it was time to leave, and after 15 minutes or so of deranged rambling, I finally said, 'Okay, time to go. Lead us then to these elevators of which you speak so well.' (yes... I actually do speak like that occasionally. Dave's not the only Drama Dude) Dave shot through the length of the store, dragging his large parent with him, directly to the little 4 person elevator underneath a discrete, but quite large, lit up neon sign which read elevator Elevator in 1 foot high, bright blue letters. I mean, what were they trying to do? Hide it? If they wanted anyone to find it, why did they hide it under all that glowing neon? I mean, c'mon! What do they think we are? Bloodhounds? 
     Two weeks before Christmas Alexis moved to live with some friends in Cali. It's a week after Christmas and Dave still mentions that 'He has to wait for the Alex before he locks the door.' or 'When Alex gets home..... ' It's sometimes (always) hard to tell what he will and will not pay attention to... unless it has cheese on it. He always pays attention to cheese. Or Ranch Dressing... that'll get his attention. So I guess all I have to do is... no. That's just too silly to contemplate. There's no way I'm going to carry Ranch and Cheese wherever I go just to get his attention.