|Routine FTW [Image Description:|
Close up of young man with beige skin
& curly short brown hair, looking pensive.]
On our very first day, moments after this happy yellow shirt shot was taken, Leo tripped over a bump in the path. It was an accident, no one's fault. But Leo scraped his knee, elbow, and especially his palm -- the latter badly.
He was upset. And that, my friends, is a mild understatement. There was blood everywhere, and no matter how many times I cleaned his palm (I carry wipes and foaming wound cleanser everywhere, who doesn't), the blood kept coming for a good eternal five minutes. And kept covering his shirt as he kept wiping it off. And then covering my shirt as I tried to comfort him. We were halfway to the coffee shop.
And this is where I did my best to consider the matter from his perspective: He did not want to go back home, he wanted his damn scone. He did not want to change his shirt; he was so upset by his wounds that any additional stressors such as a clothing change (which I also always carry with us) were more than he could handle. Routine is routine, and disrupting routines is bad. So, once he felt able to continue on, we did. Bloody garb and all.
At the cafe, the (always kind and accepting) staff asked us if we needed anything besides caffeine and scones. We said we didn't, and they took us at our word, and we had a very pleasant breakfast. Then we walked home.
When we arrived back, my husband asked me how the walk was. I said it was rough, because it was. Leo and I were both sobbing, at the height of it.
|Image description: Young man with beige skin and curly |
brown hair, wearing a blue rashie shirt, sitting on the
beach and being enveloped by a crashing wave, happily.
We spent that afternoon at the beach. Leo found the waves an excellent distraction from his injuries, though he did ask for kisses from time to time. And a friendly young sea lion paid us a visit, coming right out of the waves onto the beach as though to say "My dudes! How's it going?" The kids were delighted.
|Image description: A young dark-brown|
sea lion on a beach, next to brown rocks
and facing low ocean waves.
|Image description: A white bowl of long silvery-blue grunion |
(fish), next to a white ramekin of yellow olive oil and a
green silicone basting brush.
But we do occasionally get comments on Thinking Person's Guide to Autism Facebook (which, honestly, is where I spend most of my online time these days, moderating the forum and posting curated material) accusing the moderators of making autism seem like it's all sunshine and lollipops. This is bullshit, of course. Autistic people would never claim their lives are without challenges, so I can't say that for Leo either. But even when times are rough, there are choices parents can make -- based on doing our best to understand what our autistic kids needs, as opposed to what we ourselves prefer -- that lead to much happier outcomes for everyone. And that's why I'm bothering telling you so.
And, since BlogHer 14 and its 10x10 project are coming up, I think it's important to note how I would have written about this incident ten years ago. I would have been sad for my poor sweet dude, but would also have hauled his little butt home, despite his protests, and forced him to change his clothes. And then I would have blogged about how hard it all was for me.
Learn from me, don't be me. At least, not 10-years-ago-me.