Originally uploaded by CleverIndie
We are so used to Alex taking everything so extremely literal, or having a rather drawn out reaction (he’s a worrier) to things that are even slightly out of place that we really do what most folks would call “overthink” when it comes to daily activities, gifts, even clothes.
I’m guessing that most parents with kids with ASD or Asperger’s or anything under the PDD header go through this as well. I hear complaints about it and how it’s “abnormal” from my mother (her word not mine) but really, we don’t have much of a choice. It’s not that we spoil him so he always gets his way. We do take preventative measures with some things- we brief him before we do anything new.
I’m sure any parents of non-ASD kids make sure they have batteries for the toy they are giving their child as a gift, or else there could be some serious fallout (especially on Christmas morning, or if there is a sizable quantity of sugar involved).
We are that prepared for everything. It’s getting easier, as we have been working our behinds off with Alex, trying to improve his flexibility, self-soothing skills, and creative problem solving. He has come so very far- we can now crack the occasional joke and he will laugh or even if its not funny (joke delivery is not one of my well developed skills, I confess) he won’t break down into a full on freak out that takes over an hour to calm him.
Recently, he became the proud owner of an Easy Bake Oven (for use only with us, of course) -the image clearly shows a digital clock on the box- so I read every mm of that box for the words “simulated digital clock” or something similar. When we got home and unpacked it we found out it is a simulated clock, we braced ourselves, but Alex announced he could use my little kitchen timer instead. Phew. Big sign of relief. This is a kid who has been carrying around my old, broken cell phone for 2 years and until recently would not play telephone with it, but would follow me around trying to calmly explain that all it needed was to be charged up and as the grownup it was my job to plug it in, in complete denial that it was completely busted, and then would have a meltdown when we took it off the charger and it still didn’t work. Recently though he started clipping it to his pants and paces around talking to various people on it. He is pretending, this is huge. He’s really into it- to the point where he’ll say “shhh, I’m on the phone” with his hand over the mouth piece, if we are repeat offenders we get nasty looks and occasionally the suggestion that we will get a time out if this interrupting continues. I’m so proud of how far he has come….
Just when I was thinking that we are out of the woods on maybe one little thing, we had another literal interpretation incident though that really drove home the recognition of what a strange place the world is, as a sum of all of it’s parts -particularly those with marketing and advertising people behind them.
From the bathroom I hear (Alex is an announcer. He narrates every moment of every day, repeating much of it a few times until someone acknowledges what he said by repeating it to him, at which point he will correct them or act angry as though we can no longer discuss the topic at hand.)
“I’m using the water to make the bubbles go away, but it keeps making more in my mouth”
Then he comes around the corner and he’s wiping out the inside of his mouth with a hand towel.
He announces “Oatmeal and Butter, I didn’t taste the butter, I don’t think there was butter in there. Is there butter in there?”
Our child, who approaches even edibles with great suspicion, apparently saw the new soap pump next to the basin and his brain interpreted the soap to also be a snack- one of “oatmeal & butter” which are two things that he really likes, so he squirted a bunch of the “oatmeal & shea butter liquid hand soap” in his mouth.
Yes, I realize we are very lucky that it wasn’t something toxic. He has been making great strides in reading and he is very rules based and a very cautious guy. We have had other tasty sounding soaps (milk & honey, almond, grapefruit, etc) that he never would have thought of tasting, so what made this one different? On the bottle it has a photo of a bowl of shea butter (all whipped up, could easily be seen as regular culinary butter) with a pile of dry oatmeal sprinkled around it. The other soaps we have had, that had culinary inspired fragrances, only had the names not the images- Alex reads very well, but as a kid who usually needs a visual reinforcement, the snacktime liquid soap from today really had him thinking he was in for a tasty treat that he could not resists (other household cleaning products don’t interest him at all- never had, they are locked away, of course… He has his own small spray bottle of water, vinegar, and lavender oil that he cleans his desk, snack tray thing, and step stools with).
By the way he said the soap didn’t taste so bad. Good to know.
From now on we will be using a refillable dispenser, and when shopping I now know to avoid anything non-edible with an image of foodstuffs! Oddly enough, when I was very little I was threatened with having my mouth washed out with soap around the same time I learned the term “acquired taste”, so I would eat Ivory soap (and occasionally dove, depending on where I was in the house) a little fingernail sliver at a time. I think I assumed that if my parents swore so much that I would someday speak like that as well, and I wanted to be prepared. Imagine the horror on my mother’s face when she said she was actually going to wash my mouth out with soap and my response was to grab the bar and take a large bite out of it without flinching.
Anyway, hugs all around!
There are a few new pieces in my Etsy shop… Still on my crazy medical journey…And still getting the new blog just right so I can have a good and proper blog-warming!