I’ve lived with autism for 16 years. I have yet to understand it. Take Andre. High school student who is also taking college classes and getting A’s and B’s. Smart, right? Then why can’t he change his underwear?
Seems to me that he is on some sort of record-breaking quest because recently I have noticed a pattern which I am sure Guinness World Records would love to have a stake in.
Record Breaking Attempt #1.
Number of Days Between Showers….SIX
Yes, six stinky days. Believe me, it’s not that we are willing participants in these record-breaking attempts. It’s just that life gets in the way. Often we take notice after Andre walks by smelling like road kill and the following conversation ensues:
“Honey, when was the last time Andre took a shower?”
“I don’t know. I thought it was your month to remember all his idiosyncracies.”
“No, my month was last month. This is your month.”
“No, last month I caught him hiding cookies in the downstairs bathroom so he could have a snack when he was on the toilet. It is definitely your month this month.”
And then all is revealed when little sister pipes up with:
“Well this week is my week to clean the bathroom and he hasn’t been in there once!”
AGGGGGG…epic parental fail.
Record Attempt #2.
Number Of Days Without Changing Underwear…..SIX
Yes, I am at fault here. I forget that an almost 6 foot tall person may need reminders to change his underwear EVERY SINGLE DAY. The lazy mother in me is tempted to teach him to turn his skivvies inside out in order to get a few more days use out of them but butt skid marks on the outside just look worse than skid marks on the inside so I am going to let this one ride.
Record Attempt #3.
Number Of Days Gone By Without Brushing Teeth……FIVE
I know this to be true because we just returned from a holiday where I put his toothbrush in his bathroom. On the last day I asked him to go get his toothbrush so I could pack it.
“Toothbrush? You brought my toothbrush with us on vacation? Why would you bother…its our vacation.”
At home I have signs up as reminders to brush his teeth. I have placed multiple toothbrushes in multiple locations. Even at the kitchen sink. And I think that is the problem. There are so many around that, just like dust bunnies, pretty soon they just begin to blend into the scenery. Sadly, little sister who brushes her teeth numerous times a day has cavities galore. Andre…not one. Ever. He is the Anti-Christ of the American Dental Association.
Record Attempt #4.
Number Of Times Per Day “I DON’T Wanna” is said. 1,440 x2=1880. That is about every 30 seconds.
“Time to go.”
“I don’t wanna.”
“Did you brush your teeth?”
“I don’t wanna.”
“I think you better start on your homework.”
“I don’t wanna.”
Clean your room. I don’t wanna. Take out the trash. I don’t wanna. Take a shower. I don’t wanna. Come eat breakfast. I don’t wanna. Find your shoes. I don’t wanna.
And so it goes.
I admit, that these things, while annoying, are definitely not life-threatening. YET. But that is exactly the point. Because one day we will no longer be on this earth to monitor (even half-assed) Andre’s idiosyncracies and our fear is that one day his mummified body with rotten teeth laying nearby, will be found in year-old underwear, crushed under piles of pizza boxes and food wrappers that he refused to clean up. And like global warming; we don’t know how to stop this slide toward disaster.
The one positive thing about all this record-breaking talk is that it has spurred me on to try to break one myself.
Record Attempt #1.
Number Of Days I Remain Consistently Sane
I’m going for….