Many children, and some autistic ones, suffer a great deal of anxiety. Anxiety is often caused by predictable and understandable concerns. With youngsters, many of their anxieties come from a lack of understanding. Simple explanations can help to reduce their concerns and provide guidance as to how to interpret different things. One of my sons is overly concerned with tools that are sharp or made of metal. Knives, scissors and many other ordinary household items cause him grave concern. With my boys a great many of their concerns are unpredictable. They lurk ready to pounce when I least expect it.
Prior to our holiday, I have two pressing tasks to perform – pluck my eyebrows and trim the Passionflower. I start on the latter, secateurs in hand. Two boys play inside behind the glass doors with their father and sister. [translation = still allergic to outside] They don't watch me, but they check up on me every few minutes. [translation = any attention given to a parent's doings, that does not have any direct benefit to the child, is to be applauded. I have spent far too many years being completely invisible] Inbetween whiles, I yell instructions at them, every now and then. Frequently, I have my back to them and shout over my shoulder. “Don't put it in the sink!” “Try and share with him.” “I'll get you a snack in a minute.” I know that they are miffed by this, that I appear to have x-ray vision. [translation = as all mother's have] Two wheelbarrowfuls later, the vine is trim. [translation = two weeks of California growth is akin to an attack by Triffids] I nip back inside and check that all is well.
All is well.
Broadly speaking, I attend to matters of personal hygiene either very early in the morning or very late at night when I am child free. Today however, I am out of time. I must attend to my eye brows and attempt to make my eyes visible by trimming the thatch above. I have approximately three minutes to complete this feat.
I nip upstairs stealthily. I put my nose to the mirror and try not to breathe. [translation = short sighted] With the tweezers in hand I attempt to remove as much hair in the general area of my brow as is possible. [translation = speed plucking is an unacknowledged skill.] Not for the first time, I consider whether a razor might be more effective. [translation = quicker] I achieve near baldness on the right side when I am rugby tackled by a screaming Banshee. “No, no, no, don't do dat! Dat is bad! I love your wonky bad old eyes. I love dat they are old and mold.” I remove the tweezers from my right ear. [translation = stabbed] I look to my ankles where my youngest son is entwined, face down, eyes shielded by my moth eaten socks. I can't bend down to him because I am hobbled by his vice like grip. His older brother leans against the door jam to survey the scene. I try to explain the concepts of 'beauty treatments,' to two clear skinned, perfectly formed male youths. It is an uphill battle.
“But why?” seems to be the primary refrain to any further and better particulars that I provide to them, by way of an explanation. There secondary concern, oddly enough, is pain thresholds, not theirs but mine. [translation = “theory of mind be damned”]
We give cursory attention to the OCD issues of personal injury, death, visits to the ER and other sundry related matters. I pop my glances back on and peer in the mirror. I calculate when another three minutes might be available to me, to tackle the other eye brow? After further discussion and reassurance, we make our way back downstairs. The boys walk in front of me, exhausted by yet another test of mental gymnastics. He puts a brotherly arm around the little one. “You know it's o.k little buddy……she is always having dah other one you know.”
“What?” he snaps back. It always sounds like an accusation. [translation = lack or regulation and modulation]
“Dah udder eye in dah back of her head.”