Some of you may have already come across this post. It’s one from the vault, but it happens to be one of my favorites. It’s actually one of Apsie’s favorites, too, as when we talk about the blog he always seems to mention the mixture of Fruity Pebbles and gin. I love the fact that he is so enthusiastic about it, and laughs hysterically when we talk about it. So, hopefully you will enjoy it as much as he does.
I. Love. Structure. So it’s very fitting that Gav thrives under it. Like most Aspies, he seems to have a much, much better day if we stick to a schedule. It helps even more if he knows the schedule well, or if he can see the schedule. Hope figured this out a while back, and made a white board with his day lined out for him to read about. It starts when he wakes up, has a scheduled time to get ready for school, a time for school, two blocks of free-time, a time for home-work and a shower, and bed time. I love it. I wish she would do that for me. I mean, if I knew that from 10:15-10:18 that I was going to be brushing my teeth, or that from 8:10-8:40 I would be knee-deep in free-time, I’d be a happy, happy man. Gav is a lot like me in this respect, so we try our best to stick to the schedule and make him a happy, happy mufkin.
There is a scheduled time for dinner, and it follows family time for a reason. We try to play games at family time and at dinner that encourage his interaction with others and help him learn to initiate conversation. These games are great, and I have learned so much about the people sitting around the table. They are so much fun, too, which is probably why they are so productive. They can be loud and spirited, which, in all honesty, would be how we ended up, regardless of the game. I’m pretty sure that we have the loudest Wii tournaments in the neighborhood. The kids and I played checkers outside of Cracker Barrel one day, and I soon noticed that we were being stink-eyed from every single Grandma and Grandpa that walked by, their sour faces frowning at our ever-increasing level of debauchery. Can’t help it, we’re a family of yellers. We holler when we get excited.
Last night, we are playing one of the games, and everyone is into it. Marley decides to act out her new ballet moves, but only from the waist up, and that gets Gav laughing so hard that he hasn’t said a word in minutes. If you have spent more than 5 minutes with the boy, you know that is something to talk about. Marley is really hamming it up, so we’re all laughing. I’m watching her twirl her hands over her head, fingers pointed oh-so-perfectly, while she has her eyes opened so wide that I can actually see the curvature of her eyeballs. Could be optical nerve I just saw, could be her dinner wiped on her head. All the while her hair is stuck to her forehead in a giant glob of ranch dressing, but that is nothing compared to the chunk of salmon on her cheek. It so big I can see the seasoning on it. Her mouth is puckered as if she is she is sucking on the thickest milkshake ever served, and she is making this really weird humming noise, like when you’ve vacuumed up something that was never meant to enter a vacuum.
I’m handling it well, but maybe just because I find myself mimicking her facial expressions and watching her hands as if she’s a Hawaiian hula dancer telling the story of her ancestors’ escape from the volcano. Hope is laughing so hard that she is making a sound much like Marley’s, but only when she inhales. It’s really high-pitched and sounds like that obnoxious bike horn Mammoo just bought Marley. You know, the one where you squeeze the horn and it squeaks for about 30 mind-numbing seconds. Dogs die from those sounds, you know. I’m really worried about her, because she’s turning colors, but I decide that if she passes out, she will start to breathe normally again and all will be right.
I still haven’t heard Gav for a while, so I check him out. He’s still laughing, though not as hard as Hope, but enough to tell me that he’s enjoying the puppet show. Then I notice that his thumb is missing. I see all 9 other fingers, but no thumb. It should be there, I mean, he hasn’t been working on any running lawn mowers or using a circular saw, so where is his left thumb. Oh, there it is, up his nose.
Personally, I like to use the pinky for excavating. It’s smaller than the others, so it can maneuver in tight spaces a little better. I’ve used a forefinger, too, and have even experienced some success with a middle finger. I usually only pull that one out when I’m trying to make a statement, but it’s always there if I need it. Never, ever, have I even THOUGHT about using my thumb. It’s just so big and awkward, there’s only one joint, and then you have to worry about what to do with all the other fingers while you’re employing ol’ chubs to do some mining. Do you straighten them all out, like you’re waving, or do you ball them up into a fist? Seems menacing.
Anyway, I felt the need to address this issue. “You know, I don’t think the thumb is the best digit to use for digging out crusties, buddy.” Yes, this was actually a conversation that we had at the dinner table. I then proceeded to explain that the pinky was prime, followed closely by the first finger. I explained why I thought the thumb should be used for other jobs and not jammed up a nostril, all while Gav just stared at me blankly, thumb still one joint deep in his gold mine. I repeated my first sentence, word for word. “I don’t think the thumb is the best digit to use for digging out crusties, buddy.”
What did my Aspie reply with? “It is if you lick it first, Daddy,”
I have a strong stomach. I’ve changed some diapers that looked like someone melted a small Nicaraguan child in them. I’ve cleaned up gifts brought by the stomach bug that resembled what would happen if you fed your cat Fruity Pebbles and gin, then shook it up really, really hard. This was nothing compared to what I had just witnessed. I gagged a little, which he thought was hilarious. I tried to draw attention away from it by announcing that I didn’t think it was possible for a thumb to fit in a nostril.
“Mine does, too, Daddy.” I look across the table to see Marley with not one, but two thumbs up her nose. Sitting next to her is her mother, soon to be a lawyer, who is so conscious of how she is perceived, so that it doesn’t hurt her chances when she takes the bar exam or applies to firms. What is she doing? That’s right, testing out the fit of her thumb in her nostril.
You know I gotta try mine out, too. Guess what? It fits.
I bet you’re trying yours, right now. I bet some of you already did a few paragraphs back. Shame on you. Please wash your hands before commenting on this post.