Saturday, November 2, 2013

How to Survive When Autism Kicks Your Butt

1. Brazenly decide to administer the advanced unit test to your autistic homeschooled son and use the test as a test of his test-taking ability.

2. Sail fabulosuly through the part where he gets to answer verbally without having to write anything down.

3. Listen as he reminds you that the portion he must complete by using a pencil is beneath him. Translate his cranky statement as follows: "Writing is hard for me."

4. Forget to encourage him and be on his team about the writing. Instead, be incessantly chipper and unaffirming as you attempt to get him to finish the entire test before your other son gets home from school.

5. Decide the advanced unit test is not advanced enough and add a 28-word spelling test, a 24-word vocabulary test, and a math unit test to what you've cloyingly coined Testing Day.

6. Watch your son become more and more agitated as Testing Day proceeds.

7. Forge ahead.

8. Be too lazy to create an age-appropriate, Asperger-friendly, sensible vocabulary test, and decide your son probably knows all the vocabulary words off the top of his head anyway and will be able to recall them to mind in a college-level manner.

9. Realize your mistake when your son crumples up his test paper, lobs it unceremoniously across the room, and begins to express himself autistically.

10. Have an adrenaline rush. Sit perfectly still. Count to ten. A lot of times. In your head. Remember to breathe.

11. After you start breathing again, remind your son to breathe.

12. Once everyone is breathing normally, try to convince your son to stop where you are for the day and finish up later. Watch him shake his head vehemently and insist on finishing the remaining three questions on the vocabulary test because to leave it unfinished is "not in his code."

13. Finish the last three questions, end Testing Day, and give yourself a D-.

14. Decide a bath would make everything better.

15. Decide candles would enhance the bath ambiance.

16. Decide a bubble bath would have the ultimate calming effect.

17. Look high and low for bubble bath. Find none.

18. Look high and low for candles. Find tea light candles and decide they'll look cool floating in your bathwater.

19. Fill the tub with hot water and tea light candles, unlit.

20. Climb in, splashing water all over the tea light candles.

21. Don't realize that wet tea light candles are more difficult to light.

22. With wet hands, remove wooden matches from their cardboard box. Try to strike the wooden matches, now damp, against the side of their cardboard box, now moist and losing its shape.

23. Get a match lit. Try to use the lit match to ignite one tea light candle.

24. Watch the bathwater surrounding the tea light candle snuff out the damp wooden match.

25. Try again with a new match, hoping maybe the flame from the match will burn up all the water.

26. Through trial and error, in increasingly tepid bathwater, learn that water puts out fire, not the other way around.

27. Eventually, realize that you need to pour all the water out of the tea light candles. Do so.

28. Get every candle lit by some miracle.

29. With all the candles lit, sit back to relax in the tub.

30. Try to sit back as slowly as you can, but splash too much anyway and put out half of the candles.

31. Give up and put all the candles on the side of the tub.

32. Try to light them again. Watch the water in the candles snuff out the matches. Again.

33. Dump the water out of the candles again.

34. Get them all lit again.

35. Look down on the floor and realize you have amassed quite a large collection of useless wet matches.

36. Wonder whether a bath was a good idea after all.

37. Wonder if maybe prayer would have helped more than a bath.

38. Duh.

39. Listen as God puts your new favorite song back in your head again. Sing along, enjoying the bathroom acoustics.

40. Be still and know that He is God.