Modelling Chores


Bookmark and Share

Follow my lead or maybe hers?

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I'd be lying if I said it doesn't annoy me, but other people's habits are just as ingrained as my own.

I don't know how you get along with your mother in law but there are some fairly standard stereotypes associated with this relationship. Personally, I am greatly in favour of RDI. Not the RDI of autism but rather the RDI of Relative:Divorce Index, for those of us in the know. It's just another one of those challenges that we have to tackle.

Part of my weekly routine is to dead head the roses on a Sunday morning, before it's too hot and before we go 'out.' What with “one” thing and “another,” my routine is off and petals brown on the bushes. It happens annually around this time of year, when the house is “full” and we slip into “holiday time.”

During holiday time, it is Nonna's routine to wander the garden in the early morning dew, during the breakfast mayhem indoors. As she walks, she snaps off the dead heads with her bare hands and drops them on the ground.

Inside we tackle each tortuous stage of our morning routine but out of the corner of my eye, I see those thorny dead heads amass, all ready to snare the unwary. The garden and “outside” generally, is already, and always has been, a challenge for the boys. The de-sensitization campaign is “ongoing.” Currently his list of deadly weapons includes not only all things that could be termed 'sharp' but also a very wide range of rough textures. I know that later I shall have to test my own visual acuity to hunt down each and every one of those prickly spars, if I ever hope to have dinner outside.

I have no time to hunt as every minute of the day is already accounted for.


Once breakfast is over, I combine clear up with supper preparation. I know that consumption of stuffed tomatoes is overly optimistic, but the food campaign is relentless. I leave them on the counter to come up to room temperature, ready to top, de-seed and assemble. Whatever happened to ‘life is too short to peel a grape’ or is it ‘stuff an olive’?

In the heat of the season this doesn't take long and all cooking must be completed prior to my own “meltdown.”

The loose summer routine of summer days ticks forward. In between whiles I zip into the garden to scatter slug pellets with one hand and gather thorny twigs with the other. The plan is to zip for a few minutes in every one hour. 10 hours, ten handfuls and lots of “hand washing” until dinner.

We spend a considerable amount of time in the pool to decompress, cool off, therapize and fun. Lucky, lucky us.

As usual, I find that all of them are infinitely more coherent thereafter, calm, happy and on full beam.

“Hey Mom!”
“Yes dear,” I reply, not looking as I rub down his big brother with a huge sun crisped towel.
“Hey Mom!” he persists good naturedly. I look up. He stands next to the arbor in an 'I'm a little tea pot' pose. At the end of his spout is a perfect pincer grip, poised mid air. Across his face is a perfect cherubic grin. He reaches in towards the branch as I watch captivated, takes careful hold and snaps off a huge, woody thorn. I cannot read my own facial expression but it's enough to send him scampering towards me with one outstretched rigid arm. He brakes in front of me as I'm kneeling. He lifts it to my nose for closer examination. I see his eye balls cross in concentration with his hot breath wafting over my face, a thorn between two buds. “You my son are the very bravest one!” I beam and break the spell.

He skips off with his prize as I hobble inside with his brother and his jelly legs wrapped up burrito style. I park him on the hardwood floor, vertical, feet end down as he wobbles to gain his balance. I lean on the kitchen counter and wait. His gyro kicks in and the towel is kicked off as he escapes. As I look down I notice a tomatoe is missing. I look across to the table, to Nonna enjoying a diabetic snack, “they're very good these, did you know?”

I pout.

I think.

Maybe, if I am very lucky I will be granted the chance to visit my own married son, in the future. Perhaps in a foreign land. I might have brief glimpses of him during his very busy life. I will remain at home all day, every day with my daughter in law for two months solid.

I hope she’s not a pouty little Madam? That would be so annoying.

Bookmark and Share


We sit at the table on the last spot of homework, a cross-word for the first grader. Rather than written clues, it has pictures. The last slot is blank. The icon depicts a bowl filled with some kind of liquid and a spoon. It begins with s and ends in p. It is a foodstuff that junior has never consumed. [nor likely to in the near future] I think that he is being awkward.

You would think after all this time, I would be more ‘with it,’ in the autism department. My learning curve in other areas of my life, is advancing, as evidenced by my ability to understand the humor in “my pal’s posting.” This is fun, this is progress. In theory it is evidence that despite my advancing years, you can teach an old dog new tricks. At the same time, when it comes to autism, I always feel that I am several step, if not leagues, behind.

His aversion to food [“neophobia”] often leads to difficulties. A long time back, when he was first evaluated, whenever a food item came up in the pictures, he refused to answer, would not say the word aloud. Due to his tactile defensiveness, he also refused to point to the correct answer because then his fingertip would come into contact with paper. It took a wee while to get over that particularly difficulty, until we rephrased the question from 'which one of these do you eat?' to 'which one of these would your sister eat?'

I think we are experiencing the same issue with the homework.

For myself, following jaw surgery, I am so heartily sick of Cock-a-Leekie, Mullagatawny, split pea, puree etc., that I find my sense of humor is under strain.
“Lets think about it shall we? What did I have earlier today for a snack?”
“Er, you are having dah chocolate milk,” he drools in a breathy tone.
“Yes, but not that snack, that is a snack that you drink, this is a snack that you eat.”
“Can you think of anything else perhaps? What did I have later, the thing that smelt bad?”
“Everyfink dat you eat is smelling bad except dah chocolate milk!” I seem to have mislaid my 'thinking out of the box' skills, and a small sigh escapes.
“How about I show you a tin of it?”
“You have some in a tin?”
“I do. I have lots of tins of it!” I nip out to the garage and return with an armful of tins to park in front of him on the table. “There you go. What are these?”
“Dey are cans. Cans is beginning wiv dah 'c' and is ending in dah 's'. Dat is bad. Dat is not dah right answer. I am a bad student. Mrs. Ko will be giving me dah bad grades because my brain is too tiny today!” He weeps and his head drops to his arms on the table. It's frightening how quickly he can spiral down into despair. They are real tears.
“Not at all, you are very clever and a great student. Now how about we read the words on the can? Look!” He raises his heavy head and dewy eye lashes, “it is saying ‘soup,’ I already am knowing dat but it dah wrong answer.”
“No! It's not, it's the right answer, you knew it all the time, how clever you are.”
“What! What? What! 'Soup' is being dah right answer?”
“Yes dear! You're right!”
He spits and stutters, bristles and sputters, “but, but, but ….you said it wuz for dah eating kind of food! You are dah idiot! Soup is dah liquid, so you are drinking it not eating!”

Bookmark and Share

The Joys of Autism – progress for all

You think I'm joking, but I'm not. Enough of this depressing moaning and groaning about the tragedy of autism. For us at least, it has been a good kick up the backside. [translation = but{t}?] Whilst I would not have chosen to have autistic children, now they're actually here, they sort of grow on me after a while.

Just the other day, I heard on the radio that for most of us, our characters have been formed and set in concrete, from our early thirties. This is a little surprising as I'm sure that it wasn't until the mid 40's that the dye was truly set. [translation = cast] Short of a life changing tragedy, such as a near death experience, most of us are unlikely to change more than about 10%, at best. I believe this to be true and it certainly was for me, or at least it was, until we had two autistic boys, following two typical girls.

At first it seemed like the worst kind of career change that I could have possibly chosen. I was unqualified for such a responsibility, [translation = terrified newbie] without the slightest clue about what I should do or how? It was made more confusing by the fact that although they had the same diagnoses, their ‘symptoms’ were almost opposite. I think that's why they call it a 'spectrum disorder.' Any parenting principles that I’d picked up over the years, were quite frankly, irrelevant. [translation = bad news] I had to start again from first principles, unlearn and re-learn everything. It was daunting. I had been reasonably confident of my competence in at least this one realm of my life. Then I found that due to a couple of dodgy genes, I was now a complete ignoramus. I think I might have preferred to have had autistic boys when I was younger, when I had more energy, when my brain was still flexible enough to adapt. [translation = a sponge not an icicle] I wouldn't have fretted over every little decision, because the young don't generally.

On the other hand, age and crumbliness may sometimes allow for a more patient approach, after all I've nothing better to do with my life now. And what could be more gratifying than learning to see the world from a whole new perspective, in fact, a couple of new perspectives, at my time of life. Maybe a case of rose tinted spectacles. [translation = Double vision or bifocals, I know which I prefer.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Bookmark and Share