Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Wake up, Suzi:

 As some of you may know, Dude and I have managed to con.. uh... coerce.... uh... Blackmail is such an ugly word, we prefer extortion. Or, Long Distance Hypnotism. Anyway, somehow or another Suzi has come into our lives. She quickly became Dave's buddy and he looks forward to the days that Dad has to go to work. They have a (sort-of) routine when I'm gone, and it all starts with the wake-up.
   When he was much younger (and the Games were in my room) David would often climb into bed with me early in the morning. This was pretty much self defense, (mine) as there was no way in hell that I was going to get out of bed at 7:30 in the am on a weekend. As he got older this practice was pretty much discontinued and a moratorium was placed on most Dude traffic in Dad's room. You see, Dad likes to stay up late, but David has a firm bedtime, and 9 hours or so later he's going to be awake at some ungodly cow-milking hour, whether or not any cows actually need milking. His dad does not care if the cows ever get milked. As a matter of fact, his dad would sell or shoot the cows and buy his milk at the store at 1:00 in the morning.
     When this happens when Dad is home, Dave will stay (mostly quietly) up in his room except to come down for his pad, or to get a drink. I think this is a defense mechanism similar to the small animals that sometimes share the cave of a hibernating bear. Yeah sure he's warm, and nobody is going to come after you in the cave of a sleeping bear, but it's probably not a good idea to play Metallica turned up to 11 either. So we'll just be quiet and let that grumpy old bear sleep. When the grumpy old bear works, however, this is an entirely different story.
     On the evenings before I work, (I have an odd schedule) Dude will, after his before-bed drink, stop and say either, 'Dad will go to work tomorrow', or 'Suzi will be home tomorrow.' I've come to understand that these are not questions. He's actually ordering me out of the house for 13 hours. When we agree he'll happily exclaim, 'Then we get the Ipad time tomorrow?' and won't take another step up the stairs until Suzi agrees. Which she does, every time.
      Suzi, like me, is an habitual night owl. When given the opportunity either one of us will stay up into the wee hours. And, also like me and most other half-vampires, she doesn't particularly care to see the fresh sun peeping in the windows at that proverbial ungodly cow milking hour of the morning. David has no respect for those who would burn the daylight and often comes into the room before 8 o'clock and sits or lays down in the bed peering at the coma victim on the other side.
     Occasionally he takes a couple of running steps into the room, leaps into the air, and lands on the bed in the classic Joe Namath panty hose add pose. 'Suzi, are you awake yet?' he chirps brightly. 'Is it time for the Ipad time yet?' Why she hasn't killed him I have no idea. I mean. The kid doesn't even bring coffee, or a pastry, and he's bright and cheery? He'd better be glad he doesn't do this to me, because I'd start throwing things at him, and some of those things would be large and weighty. Pillows, books... cats... convertables. You know, whatever is handy. Suzi, on the other hand, doesn't even get upset. Weird. After an initial squinty eyed look in his vague direction, she often just smiles and gets out of bed! I mean... what? Oh sure, sometimes she tells Dave that it's too early to get up, and then he goes in the kitchen to make himself a 'grilled' cheese sandwich and juice. The breakfast sandwich is his own invention. It's cheese, on bread, microwaved for 15 seconds, so no actual stoves are harmed in the making of breakfast. But other times they get up and go into the front room for 'Ipad Time'.
     This has become a really big thing for David. Once the French has been Pressed, and the Elixir consumed, they sit in the front room with their pads (neither made by Apple) and... just each do their own thing. Dave has his YouTube videos that he searches and watches, and Suzi has her stuff that she does, including a Singing Monsters game/app that is pretty cute, but completely incomprehensible to me. Sometimes Dave leans over her chair to watch what the monsters are doing, and other times he shows Suzi the cool vids he's found. It's cute and cheery and homey and just between the two of them. No Dads Allowed. I can't even be jealous, because Dave's normally glad to see me when I get home, and, if you substitute a book for YouTube, that's pretty much the same thing that Suzi and I do. There's usually an hour or so every evening when we just relax in each others company quietly with our Pads.
     I got Dude his Pad a couple of years ago for Christmas. I've had to open it up several times because he's dropped it and disconnected the battery, but other than that it's worked pretty well for that whole time. The big reason for that is, I don't let him have a charger. Now, before y'all get the wrong idea, there's actually a couple of good reasons for this. A: Battery powered devices always draw power from the battery, even if it's plugged in. And the way Dude uses it, that would seriously cut down on battery life. And B: If he wasn't limited by the life of the battery, he just wouldn't do anything else. No other games, or playing on his keyboard, or coming downstairs. None of it would happen.
   Recently, as sometimes happens, we've had a rash of Micro-USB cable meltdowns. We are death to interfacing technology. In fact, Dave and I were down to two, and then I bought two more and then both of the older ones fritzed. (see what I mean?) So we were back down to two cables and 3-4 devices to be charged. So what would happen usually is that Dave would plug in his pad when he went to bed and I would unplug it and steal the cable to recharge my pad and phone overnight and then plug his back in when I left for work in the morning. I just don't have the capacity in the morning to remember to take it into the other room.  Of course, this left his pad in my room, which, since he was in there waking Suzi up in the morning, wasn't out of his way to get.
     Until the fateful day when Dude was (cue Dramatic Music) banned from Dad's room again.
Actually, he was just told to get out of my room when he started looking for something in the closet. Don't ask me what, I have no idea. At any rate, David was banned from the bedroom for the evening, although he took that to mean for-ev-er. Or at least until Dad forgot that he was banned from the room. Which amounts to the same thing, in Dude-time.
     So... now you see the quandary. That Which Must Be Had at Any Cost was now locked away in the tower of Don't Go In There or Dad will Kick Your Butt, along with his Ipad buddy, The Suzi. Something needed to be done. And Dude was just the dude to do it.
    Being Dude, the first thing he did was try to sneak his prize out of the room. Suzi woke up the next morning to see the butt of the Least Stealthy Being in the Universe bob slowly around the corner of my side of the bed and make its way out the door. I'm sure she wondered for, oh well... a pico-second (one trillionth of a second) who that wandering posterior could belong to. Suzi laughed as Dude crawled out the door, apparently unaware that his Ninja skills needed a bit of brushing up. Even though Dude thought he was breaking a Dad-rule and could have gotten busted, it was no big deal. What was kind of a deal was that he'd snatched the cable and taken it with him up to his room. A strict no-no. Of course, if he hadn't absent-mindedly forgotten to put the cable back (or at least downstairs) until after I'd gotten home, it would have just been another silly Dude-story. As it was, I had to talk to him about taking the cord up to his room. During this discussion, I may or may not (no recording exists) have said the words, 'Just wait for Suzi to wake up to give you your pad'. It could have happened. Like I said, there's no actual evidence that it did.
     If such a conversation had taken place, that might explain what happened the next morning.
     Suzi was snoozing mightily, early (very early) the next morning when her slumber was interrupted by a persistent repetitive sound. She knew the sound, but in her befuddled state, couldn't quite figure out what it was. After more than a few repetitions of the semi-recognizable electronic noise, she cracked a bleary eye open and scanned the room to see what was up. Of course, what was up, was Dude.  David was just barely outside of the bedroom door. Nothing strange there. He can be very patient... sometimes. What made the situation strange (to me when I heard it later) was the fact that he had Suzi's electronic kitchen timer in his hand. Brows furrowed in confusion, she just stared at him for a few seconds. 'Thank goodness it worked!' He exclaimed, shutting the damned thing off. 'Suzi, are you awake now?' I would have killed him quickly at this point. I'm serious. I would have quickly fashioned a prison-shank out of a pillow, or pulled the pin on a cat-grenade and pitched it at him so I could get back to sleep, but Suzi just smiled and said, 'What do you want, Dude?' The Pope will call any day now about her ascension to Sainthood.
   'He needs the Ipad, to watch the videos!' Suzi looked at the clock's dismally small numbers and even without the aid of caffeine still managed to smile while she said, 'It's a little too early, David. Why don't you go back to bed, and we'll play with the pad later?' And you know what? He didn't even gripe! He just said, 'Okay, we'll get the Ipad time later.' and went back to bed.
     I'm sure I was no help. When she told me the story later that day I admit that I probably missed the point. 'Wait. You mean that he figured out how to program the kitchen timer?' Probably wasn't the first thing she expected to hear. She took the whole thing in stride as one of the hazards
of Dudeworld. I, on the other hand, had another talk with my youngest offspring on the hazards of rogue kitchen-timer usage. Really. Those things are not toys, you know.

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