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10:55 a.m. - 2010-04-26
Martian Child vs Earth Mom

My kid is sending me completely around the pipe right now, I mean like if I wouldn't get busted for it I'd box him up and send him to some far-flung location express delivery. Over this last week he morphed into a total honking butt-head, everything is about MEEEEEE! teenager. Plus his Aspie behavior has shot off the charts. Clueless, demanding, incapable of acknowledging anyone else's words, rights, property, privacy, train of thought, instructions, needs, or existence. Aspies take typical adolescent behavior and multiply it exponentially. A double whammy of aggravation. A trifecta, actually, because when Mick sees me get upset he jumps in and starts in on the kid. Which, while loyal and sweet in a dumb sort of way, does NOT help. Mick is an explode first- sort it out later guy and this behavior is self-defeating in the extreme when dealing with Aspies. A regular kid might be able to shake it off and understand the bark is way worse than the bite, but Aspies can't shake things off, or take them with a grain of salt, or think into the future at all like even 5 minutes into the future. Thinking A to B is beyond them. Wolf will only hear the yelling and the anger. He cannot understand that there will be calm and reason quite soon. Even if that same scenario plays out a hundred times, being able to anticipate how things will shake out is impossible for him. He can't see what comes next. Ever. Every interaction is a new horizon to cross.

A regular kid who flunked a quiz and now needs to have his test paper signed would think, "Okay, Dad's going to blow a gasket. He'll yell for 2 minutes. Then I'll get a lecture about applying myself and thinking about my future. Then he'll sign my test and that'll be the end of it."

An Aspie kid will think, "OH NO! I flunked a quiz! DOOM! I'll be KILLED!!! Or possibly I'll get pudding for dessert. I don't know which. Both are equally possible." Then having gotten that far if the Aspie still has the quiz in his hand he might return to the topic. Maybe. "What? What quiz? This one with the 'F'? It's all Jared's fault, he made me fail. He wore that striped shirt I hate on purpose. Wait! I don't know what comes next! Either it's pudding or Dad's going to scream at me!" Then the Aspie will wander off and forget about having the quiz signed all together or he'll crawl under his bed and throw up out of sheer terror. In any case, being able to apply any logic to the situation or make any assumptions based on past interactions is impossible.

When I first saw this in action I truly thought I was being scammed. The ex and his bizarre way of lurching through social interactions seemed to be too calculated for him to honestly be that fucking clueless. But he was. By the time Mike and I met he'd had 21 years of random experiences and had gotten as far as understanding some kind of response was required of him when greeted by someone. But he still had no idea what his response should be. Unable to discern a friendly, "Hey Mike!" from a hostile, "I'm gonna rip your head off and shit down your neck!" the ex would grab the first response that came to mind. We had biology class together on Mondays and Wednesdays. And I'd always say, "Hi Mike!" and then step back and wait for whatever weirdness he'd throw my way. He might growl. He might nod warily like I'd appeared out of a spaceship and he'd never seen anyone from Venus before. He might say, "According to Newton's third law if I put it down just right my backpack should float an inch from the floor."

I swear. He was truly like this. And idiot that I was I thought he was perfecting his rep as 'That Wacky Mike Who's So Hilariously Random'. Seriously. I thought it was all an act. Performance art. I mean, nobody could be that weird without working at it.

Honing his shtick, indeed. The man was completely unfit for this planet let alone for a relationship, but he was sooooo cute and I was sooooo stupid I went ahead and tried for 24 years to make a life with that dork. And then compounded the foolishness by birthing two boys just like their father.

Having gained insight into the way Aspies navigate through life and how their skewed mental and emotional wiring works helps give me the patience and consistency necessary for dealing with them. And providing the kindness and non-judgmental atmosphere any child needs to thrive, even the weird ones. But it is fricken exhausting. And I am human.

My kid is driving me bonkers and there's just so many times I can recite the Serenity Prayer before even that philosophical stalwart wears thin and I find myself grinding my teeth hard enough that the crunching noise makes the dog look over at me.

Coping (but not very well), ~LA

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