Friday, May 18, 2012

Just Keep Swimming

I’ve finally figured out that my dog has Aspergers. She is not supposed to be on my living room couch. She knows that because sometimes when I come through the front door she makes a beeline to the basement with her tail tucked. I can go over to the couch, put my hand on it, and sure enough find a warm spot. She doesn’t shed much, but I still don’t want her on my living room furniture. She knows it, but she keeps on doing it even though she knows it’s wrong.
This leads me to the thought that perhaps my Aspie husband is also part dog. He doesn’t talk much, he is good at ignoring people he doesn’t like, and he keeps doing things that he knows are wrong, hoping my reaction to them will be different. He loves a structured life, and wants the same old same old. Just like our dog.
On the Asperger’s Assoc. of New England website, they discuss how we can help our Aspies in dealing with their environment:
  • Physical and emotional comfort are essential to people with AS
  • Heightened sensory sensitivities may make particular environments unpleasant or intolerable. (Change lighting, decrease noise, wear comfortable clothing)
  • A slower-paced environment will likely be more tolerable and allow for a greater sense of comfort and competence
  • Advocate for environmental changes at work or home; if you are more comfortable, the people around you will be as well

My former career was anything but structured. Depending on my client load, I could be done with work in the early afternoon or late in the evening.
Raising children has required constant changes and flexibility. Neither traits are include in Asperger descriptions. Expectations by Steve about our kids behaviors are often unrealistic. I remember him yelling at our oldest son one time out at the shop.
“What were you thinking?” Steve raged.
Duh, Sweetie! He’s seventeen! His head is a vacuum for another three to five years!
Yet when I find out that Steve’s once again forgotten his lunchbox at work, or put his socks away in the towel drawer, he just looks at me sheepishly, tucks his tail and heads for the basement.
I am working hard to keep our home comfortable and as stable as possible for Steve. I handle all the kid related stuff, all the household finances and upkeep, and juggle our social lives. I am comfortable ‘living on my own’ within our marriage. I can calmly suggest activities for Steve to do with our kids so that he isn’t totally out of their lives. I rarely have people nowadays say, “Oh, you’re married?” when I appear somewhere with my hubby.
Now that I am retired I can work on keeping a slower pace in our lives. I attended a school district function last night, and was shocked to realize how little direct daily contact I have anymore with other grownups. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone. Maybe I should schedule myself some play dates.
Hopefully Steve will be learning to tuck tail and run less.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. Enough said.

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