Monthly Archives: February 2013

Reticence

Revisiting an old post…

April 21, 2011

 I have stated before that I am a bit of a recluse.  Reticent.  Reserved–well, in public at least.  I’m not the most social of animals its true.  Some asshat once compared me to an anemone and only people  willing to risk my sting could get in.  Although, this was in a bar, and I think he was just telling me this to rub up against me.  And  it turned out this anemone had a hidden barracuda, and kicked that clownfish to the curb.
Its just that…well…I don’t like people.  I find them annoying 90% of the time.  What with their jabbering on about nonsense like weather and traffic and the price of gas,  and  wanting to exchange small-talk, and half of them having no concept of personal space–physical or otherwise.  I don’t like ’em.  Me and Jonathan Swift–we’re like this *holds up crossed fingers*  Friggin Lilliputians.
So, you can imagine the whole “park scene” isn’t really mine.   I once discussed that scene here.  And in some ways, Ben’s Autism has served me in this.  He isn’t social, so I don’t’ really have to be.  Or when he is his version of social, the parents of his new squeeze toys usually DON’T want to talk to me.  Nor I them, honestly.
But yesterday, at this torture chamber of sand and swingsets, I found a woman wanting DESPERATELY to make eye-contact with me.  She had a cute little munchkin, just getting the whole walking thing down, and she hovered over him like an LAPD helicopter over our house on a Friday night.  (hope my lack of sleep meant you caught your man, AirPigs™ ) Having served my sentence at the swings, I pushed Ben toward the climbing/sliding/bone breaker so that I could sit down  and exhibit this neighborhood’s version of poor parenting.
Anywhoosers, My kid was coming down  the slide while the previously mentioned larval form was standing at the bottom of said slide, so I granted her 2 seconds of eye contact to give her the silent nod/head’s up you’re kid’s about to eat it signal so she could rescue him in time.  Which she did like any sober attentive parent.
And I went back to my taciturn indifference. (yeah–I’ve been watching Pride and Prejudice again.  Sue me)  So, I can still feel her eyes boring into to me, with the crunchy/hippie smile plastered on her face as if she wants to share the joys of parenting such a beautiful, intelligent, all-natural child with me.  You may, kind reader, already guess my feelings on this possible scenario.
However, my kid, at this point did something kinda cool for him–he looked at the small grub, smiled and actually LEANED OVER to LOOK HIM IN THE EYE and said “baby”.
HOW AWESOME IS THAT???!!!
So I gave him some verbal praise for making “good eye contact!”  and clapped for him and did my little mom sideline cheer.  After which my kid took off to try to break his leg on another apparatus.
And the need for eye contact from this yoga-pants model stopped.  All non-verbal requests for communion had ceased.  She grabbed her child and headed in the opposite direction, keeping one eye on Ben, lest he turn into a 7-headed hydra and try to defeat her little hercules.
(sorry to tell you lady, your kid looks like he’ll make a great red-shirt.  Just sayin’)
She, no doubt having done all her research while her pupae was still in its cocoon, knew the secret code words I had just uttered, and realized at that point that my child was not. like. her. child.
Lucky for me (and for her consciousness and facial structure)  a friend of hers arrived within the next few minutes and they proceeded to have a FASCINATING and just loud enough conversation about how horrible a parent her sister is while their little arthropods proceeded to eat sand.  No doubt she had been bursting earlier to tell SOMEONE about how her sister lets her kids eat too much sugar, and *shudder* WATCH TELEVISION.  FOR 30 MINUTES.  EACH. NIGHT!  Gods preserve us, it’s a wonder she didn’t call CPS right then and there.
I should say, I hadn’t strayed from my spot near this unfortunate and loud conversation until it looked like Ben was gonna attempt the climbing wall, and as I had no desire to visit the ER, I decided a ground rescue was in order.
And wouldn’t you know it, that conversation, which had been at a decibel that even the parking lot could hear previously, was suddenly hushed, and upon curious glance to see if they had been set upon by zombies, i found both sets of eyes were upon me.  Now, no doubt they were discussing their latest bikini wax, or the fact that her husband made a sexual request she just wasn’t comfortable with, and both had just HAPPENED to look up at my stellar gymnastics at removing my little lemur from an apparatus from which he did not know how to exit.
Because she would be a giant douchebag if she took that moment to talk to her friend about my kid.
And while I am a self-proclaimed misanthrope, I don’t ACTUALLY believe the worst of them.  I like to think that people will rise to their inner good naturally.
But perhaps you will not begrudge me my inner reluctance at befriending these asshats.  No, I prefer to be taciturn, and read great literature, and talk smack about people anonymously.
If you need me, I’ll be hanging out in my anemone…
Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

What We See…

Yesterday, as we left pick-up, one of Benji’s classmates came up to him and insisted on giving him a hug.  It was a sweet little boy who had informed me maybe  a week earlier when I had visited the class that he had declared himself Benji’s BFF, with all the duties that entails.  In fact a few children came up, asking if I was Benji’s mom and declaring their allegiance.  Or at least to report to me that Benji’s behavior color was still in good standing at the end of the day.

It was sweet and comforting. The one thing that would give me the sad was watching him interact on the playground in the morning at drop off.  He has found his routine of putting his backpack and lunchbox in their respective gulag, but then he would falter a little.  I watch him watch the other little boys and girls running about in no doubt a rousing game of zombie tag, and I can see it in his little face:  the excitement.  He wants to join in. He wants to feel the wind in his hair and the triumph of zombie defeat.

He just doesn’t know how.  And if breaks my heart every. damn. time.

They work on it in speech.  They work on it in ABA.  How to be a friend.  How to have a discussion.  How to share what may be the awesomest toy in the history of toymaking awesomeness.  And he kicks ASS in these skills.  With adults.  He can be friends with an adult in a city minute.

But kids are so damn exciting!

His eyes light up and he smiles and his little fingers come out with their “love guns” where he will poke you with “love”–he even says “love, love, love!” when he does it–and he starts to dance about in joy.  Gods DAMN he loves kids!

And everything he learned in the five million gajillion sessions of [insert therapy here] goes flying out the window, and he will poke and push and jump on someone–usually the ONE kid who does NOT want to rough house and has a habit of telling any and ALL adults in the vicinity about his victimization, and Benji is scolded and told he was wrong.

And it just breaks my fucking heart.

He cannot explain his excitement.  He cannot explain his fervor.  And he is new to every adult there.  He is the only kid with autism mainstreamed into kindergarten at the moment, and sometimes I feel like it’s a giant neon sign saying “watch out for this guy!  he’s got issues!”

What sets him apart isn’t the rough-housing or the excitement.  Every single kid in all 4 of the classes experiences this.  He just can’t explain himself, and doesn’t always understand the reprimand.  It’s communication that sets him apart.  Otherwise, he is like any other kid waiting to go down the slide, eating his snack at the picnic table,  and running around with the joy that modified freedom can bring.

And the other kids see that.  well, except for tattle-tale Irving, but he’s prolly got his issues too.  They see someone who doesn’t always answer their questions, or know how to “dialogue” during pretend play (but he’s getting better!) but for the most part knows the basics of tag and rasslin, and is usually playing with something pretty cool.  He’s a little screamy when he doesn’t get his way–but at 5 & 6, who isn’t?  Other than Irving.

But it isn’t the kids who send the notes home, and it isn’t the kids who have “concerns” and it isn’t the kids who see every.single.difference and comment upon it.  It isn’t the kids who switch on the neon sign every morning.

That little hug after school reminded me of that yesterday.  In the end, that hug meant more than a million hours of compliance.  And I’m grateful for it.

Categories: Autism, parenting | 11 Comments