Global Autism Community

Our guest blogger this week is Varda. Varda has twin boys, one of whom has autism. She lives in New York and blogs The Squashed Bologna: a slice of life in the sandwich generation.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Poopyhead

Anyone who says autistic kids have no sense of humor has clearly never met my son, Jacob.  That’s the danger in making generalizations about autism. As the old saying goes: if you've met one kid with autism... you’ve met one kid with autism.  

Jacob right now is in an awkward phase of wanting to relate all the time but having no sense whatever for what are appropriate and inappropriate ways to connect. He has no innate inner compass  to guide him, and taking lessons from his often highly inappropriate twin brother Ethan is, shall we say, problematic.  

A while back Ethan taught Jake to say "poopy-head" which is why when Ethan comes to me complaining that Jacob is sing-songing the phrase "Ethan is a poopy-head, we like you very muuuch" over and over, I tell him: "You're not getting much sympathy from me on this one, kid. You taught him that lovely term, so it's you own damn fault."  

And no, I don't actually say "damn" to my kid. I just think it very loudly. 

And then I tell Jake to stop it, that it's not OK to tease, that that is NOT a nice word to use.  So "poopy-head" goes underground for a while, but you never know when it's going to surface again.

Last night Jake got to bed late, even later than usual for a non-school night. We listened to the radio during his bath because Jacob has a great love of music and seems to not mind his mother's off-key crooning along.  There may have been some dancing mixed in with the drying off and the donning of the PJs, for, you see, great songs just kept on coming on every time I was about to turn it off. 

And I know it's hard to go from dancing right to bed, but when his eyes light up and he enjoins me with a "Dance with me Mommy, pleeeeease?" how can I resist?

How can I resist engaging in joy with my son, for whom so much of his day is lessons, lessons, lessons, and directives. Jacob hears all day long: "do this, do that, don't do that, stop, STOP!, for heaven's sake don't do THAT."  

So I said "Yes" and we danced away, bouncing, wriggling, stomping and wailing. "Stop in the name of love, before you break my heart..."

And then of course, a glance at the clock and: BED, NOW!  

Jacob has, historically, always been my easier son to put to bed. He climbs up into his top bunk, blue-bear is located and securely crooked underarm, we sing our two requisite songs; I tell him about the day that has been in the form of a story ("once upon a time there was a boy named Jacob...") and then let him know what's coming up ("And what's tomorrow, Mommy?") a kiss and he's gone. 

"Goodnight Mommy, tomorrow's another day."  

But lately his spunk has been rising, and the compliant, perhaps too compliant little boy is falling back a bit as Mr. Sass is starting to feel his oats.  And I know this is all for the good, that typical eight-year-olds are not nearly as sweet and obedient as Jacob has been, that he is veering toward normal as his feisty gently rears up.   

A large part of me is grateful, cheering him on even, while another part (the one that is already short on sleep) is groaning, bitching and moaning.  I know that for Jacob to grow into his own, the ways in which he is pliant and "easy" will have to fall by the wayside for a while.  I even wrote a post about how happy I was that he learned to "cuss" when frustrated.

But the teenage years?  I don't even want to think about that yet, though they loom, they loom.

So now, at bedtime, instead of meekly marching into his room when Mom says "Bed, Jake", I'm getting the "No", the "I hate bedtime", the "I don't want to go!"  

And then last night, in spite of being in the giggliest of moods, post dance-marathon, he starts sweetly singing our first bedtime song as he climbs up into his bunk, seemingly without too much protest.

"Twinkle, twinkle..."

"Oh, good" I think "relatively easy, tonight"


I'm already planning  my rapid escape.

...poopy-head!"  Raucous laughter ensues.

My son is da bomb. 

Global Autism Community will continue each Friday and feature a guest post from a blogger somewhere in the world. We are all connected by the bond of being parents to children with autism. Geography is a minor issue that will not prevent us sharing our thoughts, ideas and experiences! If anyone is interesting in submitting a post please email me. Jen.

*Photo credit google images.