Repetition. With autism it comes in many forms such as hand-clapping, running back-and-forth and watching the same movies, movie segments, and even movie credits, for hours! So, of course that happened again this weekend.
However, just as when someone says something that gives you the opportunity to tease them (you know, the “you set yourself up for that one” line) the one in your care may give you an opening to release your stress. In some cases, you can laugh with the person that you are caring for. With my Dad, as he became thinner from illness, his nose looked larger. So, I made up a song called “Daddy has the biggest nose, it grows and grows and grows and grows.” I remember his belly-laughs and felt special because I was only 8 years old and I made him laugh when he was so sick.
Yesterday, I had another opportunity, but the laughs were all mine.
While the day was filled with the typical things such as having to be quiet for hours on end, listening for seizures or other signs of distress, the opportunity arose for me to simply treat him like a typical teenager and to triumph in a tiny way.
I “got even.” Ah- HA HA HA HA! After having cleaned and disinfected the bathroom floor and changed his sheets, after having been able to tune-out repeated phrases he was making, I was doing quite well. But then…
He found a song on the computer. He especially liked two lines of that song. He played them, and I counted, over 100 times. No reason for me to say “This is ridiculous.” It was a normal Sunday afternoon.
But something that is never normal is my singing. Here is what happened:
From the adjoining room, after his having played those lines for the ga-zillionth time, I started singing along every time he played them. He called out “I’m just kidding” and I called back “Yes! I’m just kidding!” (I wonder this would work on kids who constantly ask “Are we there yet?”). He played over and over, I sang over and over and I repeated his “I’m just kidding” phrases. Then…
He stopped playing the song. It wasn’t as good as getting him to aim toward the toilet better, or not wet his bed or even to be able to take him out when he felt like staying home, but it was good. The song stopped.
Please understand that I know him well-enough to know that he wouldn’t become upset. He was just another annoyed teenager and I was a triumphant Mom!
Guess ya had to be there. And guess ya had to have heard me sing.