Many parents are prone to moan about all the things that their autistic child will never do. I am exceptionally good at moaning myself, in fact, I have far more to moan about because we have double trouble around here.
Although autism is a spectrum disorder, often there are common themes. One common theme that we suffer around here, is an ability to enjoy nature’s wonders, or more specifically, natures wonder’s if they happen to be outside. For as long as I can remember both of them have been “allergic” to outside. I have used every tric……available therapy and strategy to desensitize them to this common garden phenomenon will little success. Short of staking them to the broad beans poles, I'm out of ideas, although duct tape might be a kinder option for the tactile defensive amongst us. I'm tempted to dip into a modern day Grimm's and lay a trail of M & M's up the garden path but we already have enough “ant” problems around here.
Although I find few activities as therapeutic, I am in the minority of one in this household. It peeves my environmental conscience that my spouse has insisted on installing a lawn, which Americans strangely call sod. The amount of water, energy, weeding and titivating that it requires to survive is out of all proportion to it's beneficial properties. Or so I thought.
I hear a clatter on the door and peek through the window to see my daughter chucking Poke Balls at the windows. She screams at her brothers from the garden, “hey guys, come on out here and play Pokemon in the long grass!” I march to the door to give her a piece of my mind regarding such vandalism but the boys slip out before me and hover on the step. “Look I got the grass types! Treeko, Tortera, Turtwig and Tropius!” The boys squeak with delight and thunder over towards their sister. I snatch the camera and sneak out on tippy toes.
They stand on the grass. My youngest stuffs both his hands in his mouth and breaths noisily. His brother takes a nose dive onto the grass, fingers searching out Pokemon figures, expertly hidden by his sister. I have no stop watch but the moments tick by. I slip into a garden chair under the pergola, in the shade, chameleon that I am. Thank goodness for sludge coloured clothing. I watch two lie on their tummies flattening knee high grass with another one close by, debating, weighing up the odds. “I got Chicorita too!” she adds, with a huge grin on her face. He squeaks and dives, sold to the littlest Pokemon fan in San Jose. I try not to giggle or gasp, as maturation is a beautiful thing. They roll around on the grass just like they roll around on the gravel in the front.
Hunger gets them in the end and they skitter back inside, but only after a considerable and unprecedented period of time. I skuttle in after them, way behind schedule with supper plans delayed. Everyone suffers from instant malnutrition as a crash around the kitchen trying to catch up. I can hardly wait to tell their dad, he'll never believe it! I'm sure that's why I take so many photographs, hard evidence for doubting Thomas types. I make pukey white pasta because it's quick, because it's a treat, a favourite, a celebration.
I sit at the table with my brood and beam at my dream team. My son whips off his T-shirt but I don't mind, everything is right with the world. My younger son rubs himself on the arm of the carver chair, the cage to keep him in place, but I don't care as everything is right with the world. The big one digs his caged fingernails into his neck! When the shrieking starts, I quickly realize that everything is not right with the world, what rash thoughts.
“I am be itch!”
“Me too aghhhhhhhh!”
Two new experiences in one day!
So is that reverse genetic engineering?
Mud pies to you my friend.