Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Gospel According to Steven

Aspies often seem to live in their own world and operate by their own set of rules. Due to their inborn rigidity, it is very difficult for them to deviate from those ‘rules’.
Turn off the lights when you leave the room. (Even if someone is sitting in that very same room reading.)
Do your chores as soon as you get home. (Even if the rest of the family is just sitting down to dinner.)

Don’t swallow your gum. (uh huh)
“Much has been made in the literature about the rigidity of the Aspie. A good example of this is their ‘resistance to change’. Often the observed behavior isn't a resistance to change, but a binding to a particular rule or rule set.

The aspie is, to a certain extent, controlled by rules. The impact of these invisible rules on their behavior should not be underestimated. It is often a source of conflict and can also be the source of aspie depression.”
My husband has his own set of rules in his head that are often impossible to change. Raising kids was challenging because of Steve’s inflexibility. When the kids were little, their abilities and needs changed constantly. As they became teenagers, his expectations of them were skewed. He would become enraged thinking that their ordinary teenage self-mindedness was defiance.
When his mind was ‘set’ he couldn’t or wouldn’t listen to me. We’ve had some times that I’d have to whisk a kiddo off to an ‘emergency’ trip to the store for ‘supplies’ to escape Dad's wrath.
“Sorry Sweetie, I have to get kidlet to the store now. We’ll be back in a bit.” By the time we got back, he usually had calmed down and was distracted by something else.
I remember a time when youngest kidlet was a toddler. Steve had asked me if he could let kidlet ‘help’ with the vacuuming by using my DustBuster.
“Of course!” answered I. “Get him started young!”
A few weeks later I came home from my office to find a sharp, burning-plastic smell permeating the house. I ran into our dining room where our woodstove was. There was kidlet in his tee shirt and diaper, woodstove door open, DustBuster in hand with smoke pouring out of it. He was vacuuming out live coals.
I ripped the mini vac out of his hands and hurled it out the sliding glass door. Luckily it didn’t catch our woods on fire. I yelled for my husband. He was over a football field away in his shop, radio blaring and power tools going.
I snatched kidlet up and ran out.
“What is going on?” I screamed. I explained what had happened.
“But you said it was okay for him to use the DustBuster!” protested hubby.
“AGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH! With supervision! And you never let him near the woodstove! He'll get burnt!”
My fault. I didn’t make the ‘rule’ clear enough. It seems I never do. *sigh*

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