Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Conditional love?

My boys have a deep seeded, innate love for their pappies.  It's been that way since birth and has only grown with each passing day.  I can tell you that I know just how lucky we are to have two wonderful fathers that are so involved with their grandsons.  I can also tell you how lucky we are that our boys allow this to happen.  Well conditionally at least.  

I have mentioned before that autism is a social and emotional disorder.  In fact, the word autism comes from the Greek word "autos" which translated means "self."  It is actually quite a misunderstanding that autism in itself is a "new" disorder.  In truth, doctors have been using the term "autism" for over 100 years to describe children and individuals who are withdrawn from society and from social interactions and hence drawn within their "self"--autistic.  In the 1940's, when Hans Asperger and Leo Kanner were publishing their work the diagnosis, autistic or autism, rose slightly in popularity, but was still a rarity.  It wasn't until the 1980's and 90's with attention deficit disorder (ADD) becoming a household term, that scientist begin researching and developing the works of their predecessors, and the medical diagnosis of autism grew in popularity and support.  Although arguments can be made about different aspects of diagnostic conditions, the base and core of autism is the fact that people with the disorder if allowed would be completely unsocial, withdrawn and in many instances unemotional.

Therefore, by definition and in reality, my boys struggle with relationships and interactions.  For an example,  my oldest is in first grade at a wonderful school that has an autistic support classroom and he is integrated for math and specials (music, art, computers) for some of the day with the help of a one-on-one aid.  Now, it might not be surprising that my son does not know any names of the kids in his "normal" class, which he calls it.  But here's a shocker:  he does not know the name of his one-on-one!!  This lady (who is absolutely amazing) is with him everyday, all day!  Helps with food, bathroom, classes.  They are joined at the hip and for the life of him he cannot remember her name.  We practice.  We rehearse. We preach.  But alas it does not stick.  He calls her "my lady."  And that's all he needs to know.  She is "his lady" in school.  That is her purpose and hence it is quite practical to call her 'my lady."  Black and white.  

And so, the fact that they desire to see their paps; they fact they want to interact with them is more than I could ever hope for, but it comes with no lack of umm, lets say awkwardness.  I'm not sure if it is like this with every child with autism, but when my boys get attached to someone, like their pappies, then they are literally 'attached" to them.  Wherever the pappies are, my boys are right with them.  There is no separation.  No breaks.  They are little magnets and of course the paps never ever complain.  But sometimes it causes some unexpected situations, and in the event below lead to a new "contingency" that has been set in place by my youngest.

My little one, in a very uncharacteristic fashion, spent the night (THE WHOLE NIGHT) at my dad's house.  Being a little early bird, he woke up and he and gram were up to the normal morning activities.  Apparently, my dad woke up sometime later and slipped into the bathroom to take a shower.  My lil one, hearing pap-pap stir, went running into the bathroom to see his man.  (The boys do not understand privacy in the throne room.  No matter the repercussions, they can not understand why the bathroom cannot be a communal hangout as well.)  So, busting in, he went straight to the shower and whipped open the shower curtain.

"Whatcha doin' pap-pap"
"Taking a shower buddy."
"Pap-pap guess what?"
"I DO NOT like seeing you naked."  
"Umm, then close the curtain buddy...."

And there you have it.  My little one declared his condition that has now been set forth for pap-pap.  He has now informed me that he wants to go to pap-paps but only if he has showered first.  Not that he will stay out of the bathroom.  Not that he will not open the shower curtain, but that pap must shower first prior to his arrival.  Black and white.

I guess he has decided that showering is an "autos" function for pap: to be done by his "self."

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