Imagine what the world's largest checker's board would look like... That is what it is like to have a child with autism. If you don't think several moves ahead, you're going down, in the game of chess, you're facing a check mate. While this may seem simple to some folks, let me assure you, it is not easy to out think a child with autism. Their way of thinking is just 'different,' and therefore, so is our parenting of these 'think outside of the box' children.
Dayton's way of thinking pretty much goes along these lines: "There's nothing that can't be solved with a calm collected mind, an aluminum baseball bat, and a shiny pair of stainless steel nunchuks. I don't have OCD, I just want things done my way, 'cause it's soooooo much better. Follow the rules, or I'll call 911. I know you said no, but I really want it, so I'm gonna do it, no matter what the consequences are. Finder's keeper's is not the same is stealing. This is my routine, don't mess with the system. Are you talkin' to me? 'Cause if I don't like what'cha saying, I'll kick you (or call 911). There's no pinching in wrestling. Vancouver Canucks are the only hockey team that matter, don't you dare defy me on this. I only do school work for Mr. J, not you. I want to do my school work in the hallway, so I have to do something bad to get sent to the hallway. I always play on the swings at recess, get off, it's my swing - ALWAYS (going back to this is my routine, don't mess with the system). He started the fight, I must finish it, cause I can't move on until I'm done with him. If you don't listen to me the first time, I'll push you to get my point across, I'll only tell you once (and yet, I've got to tell him three times to pick up his socks). Even when I'm wrong, I'm right. If I am smiling at you, you should be worried." etc. etc. etc...
A lot of the time, Dayton gets so caught up in what he wants to do with the kids, and when they transition to another game, Dayton sometimes is not able to transition. Kids are screaming "stop it Dayton," (especially if they're transitioning from tag to playing ball or something lower paced), not understanding he's just not able to stop and move on to the next game they're planning. They view Dayton as a little puke who pays attention 2% of the time and not listening 98% of the time.
And so, every time he goes outside (the play ground is practically in my back yard, as is the swimming pool), I must accompany Dayton. I can not just sit on my patio and 'listen.' I sit out there at the play ground, on my camping chair and play referee, cleverly disguised as a responsible adult. I sit there and I am two seconds from being on Dayton like white on rice in a glass of milk on a paper plate in a snowstorm. Anything goes down, I'm there, pronto.
Along the way, we're guaranteed to meet a new kid, and I dread those days (see this is my routine, don't mess with the system). Ugh. If the new kid on the block is old enough, I can try to explain autism to them. Just about every time the kid will say "So you mean he's not normal..." and I say "ME? Dayton? Normal?? How can you insult us in this way!" I always smile and wink at the kid, so he knows I'm trying to have a little fun with him, but deep down, I'm not having fun... What I really want to do is smack the kid aside the head, but I'm pretending to be the adult here and must sit pretty and maintain my 'authority.'
And now... Our swimming pool is supposed to open this afternoon... Ugh. Is your body bikini ready yet? 'Cause mine sure ain't. Hasn't been since 2002. I tried going to the gym, I really, really did. The last time I went, I noticed something peculiar that I had managed to miss on my very first visit... I was the fattest chick in the place. I spun on my heel and walked straight to the nearest McDonald's (right across the street) and buried my sorrows in a McFlurry, thinking someone needs to open up a gym for fat chicks, ya know what I mean?
Anyhow... So no, I am not looking forward to the walk of shame to the swimming pool, in my bathing suit, where I will no doubt be the biggest girl again. I make sure to wear a sarong, so it's really only a few second that the sun sees my legs and rump. But hey, it's not like it's a long walk. It's not like I can sit by the pool with one of 'em drinks with a pretty little umbrella in it and watch Dayton swim... Nope, I gotta be in the pool with him, very far from relaxing when he keeps trying to drown me. He finds it funny when I gasp for air and turn blue in the face... Which saves me in a way, because once I'm in the water, no one can see the rest of my body, and I think I have a very pretty face. Yeah, my babe's got my back.
Wish me luck, and consider yourselves hugged!