Sunday, February 10, 2013

When Cake meets Fist

Like I have mentioned in other posts, it was only this December that we had the official diagnosis that my 4 year old has Asperger's Syndrome, but for a lot longer we knew there was something just a little "off" with our son.  If someone asked me to describe my boys, one of adjectives I would always use for my older son is complicated.  I know that this is not the most benevolent adjective I could use, but it was truthful.  My son was/is complicated.  There were so many things that have happened that would make my husband and I look at each other with a, why in the heck did that just happen, look in our eyes.  Therefore, getting this diagnosis was somewhat of a relief because at least now we know why some of these things happen.  When an incident first occurs it's usually overwhelming and shocking, but when time passes sometimes they can become even a little humorous. 

One of those times was last year after Thanksgiving diner.  Every year, my aunt and uncle stop over after we have eaten to visit and have some pie.  Now my aspie loves my uncle.  My uncle does this thing with him, asking how many belly buttons he has and tickles his stomach.  My son loves it because belly buttons just happens to be one of his favorite things thanks to a bed time book we read (The Belly Button Book by Sandra Boyton.)  So when he sees my uncle he always runs to him laughing and giggling and wanting him to do their thing.  We never really noticed that he never noticed my aunt, who happens to be the sweetest, kindest person in this whole entire world.  That Thanksgiving, my aunt and uncle were sitting on the couch next to each other, and given that we had a number of guests, my son had to make his way threw people to get to my uncle.  On the way, he had to pass my aunt.  As he passed her, he stopped, took a double take and said to my uncle, "Hey who's this lady?" Every one who heard him asked the question laughed, because honestly, we see them all the time. I, thinking he just had a brain fart said, honey, that's your Aunt so and so and you see her practically every other week at gram's house.  Nothing.  Nada.  Not even a glimpse of familiarity.  A complete stranger she was to him. My uncle not missing a beat said, "come here, did you say you have three belly buttons," and scooped him up and made him laugh all the same.  My aunt was laughing at the whole situation, but I still felt so bad for her and my son.  Later on that evening after everyone had left, my husband was sitting in his throne, the recliner, and had our son on his lap.  He just started laughing and said as I walked into the room, "Hey buddy, whose that chick?"  My aspie giggled and said, "mommy silly."  Good, my husband replied, I was just checking to see if that coconut stilled worked. 

We still laugh today about the "hey who's this" comment, but now understand that it is quite common for kids with aspergers to have a hard time connecting faces with names, or identifying people all together.  Since social situations are tough, and most of the time there are many people together when we see my aunt and uncle, he gets sort of tunnel vision and only focuses on the ones he favors. Since he tends to favor the men in our family, I guess us women are out in the cold as far as my son is concerned.  I guess that means the baby will be a lady's man.

But nothing compares to the cake incident.  Let me set the scene.  My son was turning 4.  We had a pirate theme party wear kids were wearing pirate hats, had plastic swords, and were running around outside on a half an acre playing pretending to be taking over pirate ship.  We had a bonfire, roasted hot dogs, and had perfect weather.  My 81 year old grandmother made a beautiful cake that had a water side, a boat, pirates, and of course sand with a treasure chest.  She must of spent hours on it.  "Amazing", people were saying about the cake.  Time had come to blow out the candles.  I'm excited, my hubbie's excited, lets get the birthday boy.  We start singing Happy Birthday as my husband picks up our son to bring him over to the cake.  Instead of the excited boy we were expecting, he was clinging onto my husband with his hands, legs and teeth.  Buddy, they are singing to you he says, blow out your candles.  NO he screams.  It's okay honey, I say it's your birthday.  NO, he screams. And then it happens.  Now, let me break this down for you as I saw it, play by play.  Please picture slow mo, time lapse imagery for this description.  First, husband puts son down.  Son raises hand in motion to punch cake.  My father starts reaching out towards son's fist.  I open mouth to start saying No.  Son begins to lower fist towards cake.  Hubs starts to reach for son.  I step on my long maxi dress and stumble.  My father redirects his grab for me to stop my fall.  Son is inches from cake.  Husband's face is crimson in color as he just missed the back of son's shirt.  Gasps go up from people all around us.  And then splat.  It was done.  His fist meets the cake right in the awesome treasure chest my gram had made.  When time finally came back to true speed, the next thing I heard was a friend of ours saying, "That's awesome!"  Leaving everyone to laugh.  Needless to say, I was mortified, my husband was livid and my son was still mad at the world.  My gram, having a wonderful sense of humor, stated, "Who cares, it tastes the same no matter what it looks like!"  And so we cut the cake and went on with the party until we could get our son alone to chat. 

Stupid is as stupid does they say, and at that time we were stupid as to how badly our son fears people looking at him and had really no clue as to how badly he hates loud noises.  So basically, a birthday party where people are singing loudly directly at him is basically the worst possible thing we could do to him.  He responded at that time with the only thing he knew how to do; smash the cake.  So now we know.  Now, we are not stupid.  And when we attend parties, we stay far away from the cake.  

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