Monday, December 7, 2015

Asperger Teen vs. Mom

I love my son. I do. Really. But sometimes I wish I had a Star trek Translator so I could understand how he thinks.

He has Aspergers. It's high on the autism spectrum, and that means he's able to find a new way to do Trigonometry, but can't wash a dish properly to save his life.

Let's just say that living with him is both a tremendous blessing, and might cause me to have psychotherapy very, very soon.

Let me explain what living with an out-of-the-box thinker is like:

At three years old, he loved his 'big boy' underwear so much that he wore it for at least two days. I told him that morning to put on a clean pair, to which he replied, "Okay mom!" Later that evening, I was getting him ready for a bath and noticed that he had on two pair of underwear- the old ones underneath, with the clean ones on top. You see, I never told him to take the old ones off!

When he was ten, his younger sister became afraid of graveyards. Every time we drove by one, she would try to hide. During one episode, he put his arm around her and said in a soothing tone "Don't worry- it's just a bunch of leftover people."

My daughter was tickling him behind his knee, and wouldn't stop. Finally, he yelled, "Would you stop tickling my leg pits?!?"

And now he's a teenager. 

The game has changed to one of strategy, cunning, and trickery. I swear, the kid could be a lawyer, he finds so many loopholes! So now I have to watch everything I say, how I say it, and in what order I say it. For example:

We had a really messy kitchen. Dishes, pots and pans everywhere because my husband (the chef of the family) can't cook with less than one hundred culinary tools. I told my son to wash the dishes. He washed them. The ones in the sink. He didn't seem to notice the ones on the counters next to the sink, the stove, the get the idea.
Yet whenever I tell him to wash the dishes step-by-step (please wash the ones on the counters, stove, etc.) I get an eye roll and "I know Mom...I know! You told me a hunnerd times...I know what to do!"- and then he still doesn't do them. This might be partly the fault of being a teen, but I know the Aspergers has something to do with it too. If there's no interest, it doesn't get done.

Now if the dishes were all Star Wars related, they'd be shiny clean and displayed all over the kitchen. But they're not, so they remain in the sink, slowly becoming my daughter's next science experiment.

He will also argue with me until he thinks I'll give in. I'll admit he's good at arguing- the boy can argue the paint off a door- but when I want something done, I want it done, period. He's taller than me so I threaten to climb a ladder to swat him upside the head if he doesn't listen; then he grins and does at least one of the things I told him to.
And then off he goes, up to his room, before I notice he:

Didn't do it,
Didn't finish it, or
Did it wrong.


Dishes with either so much soap they're greasy, or so greasy I know he didn't use soap. Crud never scrubbed off (because it's too hard, Mom!) or dishes soaking for three years for the same reason. The stovetop looking like a Zombie Apocalypse because he forgot to wipe it down when everything was still liquidish. Dishes on the drainer for three days so God can dry them, or stacked in the cabinet wet, so the cabinets warp.

And this is just doing the dishes. Can you imagine the chaos when I had him on laundry duty? Three loads of moldy laundry got him off that chore list quick!

But maybe that's his plan.......

I love my son. I do. Really. So I'll put up with the arguments and the dish fiascoes and the Star Wars paraphernalia all over the house. But when he get's his own place, I am not going over there for dinner- unless he's getting take-out! 


Deborah said...

My 6' tall 14 y-o wondered what I was chuckling with when I read your post. I shared with him your pithy 'didn't do it, didn't finish it, did it wrong' and the arguing the paint off the door part. Thank you!!!

thea williams said...

I have two non-Aspergers kids and the same problems! Guess it's genetic (come to think of it, maybe it's just those terrible teens). Gotta love 'em...

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