Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sleep Over

Having our children over a nineteen year span has been very interesting to say the least. Among the many changes including childrearing practices, technology advancements, schooling formats, and parental expectations, terminology of kid specific verbiage has been one of the most challenging for us.
When our oldest son was small, kids asked to have little Johnny come over to play. Our youngest son was expected to have his mother book a play date.
“Can he spend the night?” was a common question at the end of a day with eldest son. Youngest son asks to have a sleep over.
Twenty years ago Dad said, “Sit” and the kid did. Dad’s command was iron clad. Today’s Dad says, “Johnny, you’ve been on the go all day and you look tired and sweaty. Please come on in and sit with me for a bit. We can read your new Harry Potter for a while, okay?” Dad would be looking for consensus and companionship.
My dear Aspie husband can’t or won’t acknowledge this at all. He insists that he is the ‘Dad’ and his rule in our household is absolute. No questions asked, no debates. Decisions are final.

And that is his final answer. Period. End of story.
Whooh. I am sorry, dear eldest son and daughter. I wish we had do-overs. I would have stood up for you more had I realize that your Dad’s viewpoint was so hardened by Aspergers. I know now.
Yesterday was a long day. Kidlet had to be 35 miles away from home at baseball practice. Since he’s starting high school next year and wants to play football, a parent had to be at the mandatory football meeting. Steve was working overtime so eldest son came straight from work to take his ‘little’ six foot tall bro to practice while I went to the meeting.
I had made a big casserole that we all dug into on the fly, eating in the car. I sent Steve a text to let him know dinner was ready whenever he got home, help himself.
Around 9 pm hubby comes bursting in the door from work and stomped straight at Kidlet and I who were on the couch watching TV.

Hubster's full 6’4” frame looming above us.
“You CAN’T put garbage into TWO cans!” Steve roared at Kidlet.
My oh my. I knew that hubster had worked an extra four hours and was probably tired. I would also bet that he hadn’t eaten since lunch, but he was waaaaaay out of line. I jumped up, grabbed his hand and pulled him into the kitchen were I asked him to calm himself. I then asked him to explain what was wrong and why he was so upset.
Turns out that each of our two garbage cans was half full and Steve needed to “either empty one into another, or take two cans out and get an extra charge.”
I thought for a moment.

Why couldn’t he just take out one half full one and kidlet could finish filling the other for next week’s pickup? That stopped Steve dead in his tracks. What, more than one solution? Was that possible?
I explained that I wasn’t trying to challenge his authority, but trying to temper his communication. I explained that he wouldn’t talk to a co-worker that way, and he didn’t ‘love’ his co-workers. I encouraged him to eat, which he did, and that helped.

I went back to the living room and explained the ‘problem’ to Kidlet who said he’d make sure to fill one can fully before putting more into the second can. He then asked why Dad was so mad at him.
“He’s not mad, dear boy, just having an Aspie meltdown. Please be patient with him.”
Son shrugged. “No sweat, Mom. I’m good.”
Yes, thank you Lord, he is.

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