Friday, March 25, 2011

The Twilight Zone

Recently, our younger son had a friend over. He doesn't have many friends. He would love to, but he doesn't know how to act around people. He doesn't understand that most kids don't like to talk about the Titanic or have one-way conversations about severe weather. Before entering a group of people, I have to remind him that most people don't enjoy crazy, and they REALLY dislike crazy when it is delivered from a package that licks, spits, growls and screams. I think he thinks crazy=funny=popular.

The particular friend coming over that day was different from which we are accustomed. This child is NORMAL. We don't usually attract normal people. What's worse, this house is just not fit for polite company! Truly, how am I expected to dress my windows when I spend all day dressing little boys who won't keep on their clothes? I once tried to change the decor in our older son's room, and he protested by urinating on his new carpet every day until I finally relented. New carpet out. Old carpet returned.

Our son was really excited about having his friend over to play, so I cleaned the house like mad...for a kindergartener...and embraced the opportunity. The boy's mom dropped him off. Was it obvious that I met her in the driveway when I saw them arrive? I just looked excited, right? I didn't look like I was trying to hide the piles of laundry in the living room that were taller than her son. Surely it didn't! Our son immediately ran around screaming like a warrior when we entered the door, and, out of habit, I closed the door, reached up and pushed in a lock located by the door's top edge. I don't think twice about these locks, that is, until the little boy's gaze followed my hand and looked up at the lock inquisitively.

All of our doors have these locks. Let's put it all out on the table right now: all of our windows have locks as well. Some windows have plexiglass covering them. Some doors are permanently nailed shut. You see, our older son is a bolter. He has tunnel vision focusing on his interests only, and if he wants to run out the door barefoot to the mall ten miles away on a busy street, darn it, he's going to try it. That gazebo down the street? He'll climb out any window to get to it. His bedroom is on the second floor of our house, and our home is located on a busy street. With such an inability to detect danger, he requires a home that is as secure as Fort Knox. We may not be completely there; however, to the little boy visiting our home that day, we were. For, once his gaze met with the first lock, it quickly scanned to many of the others in the room. And, in a brief moment of panic, I was afraid he'd pound on the door screaming that we were abducting him and holding him captive.

"Aren't these locks the coolest things EVER?" I asked, thinking as quickly as I could. "If a pack of super ninjas invaded our city, this would be the most secure zone for sure!"

"Psshhh! Yeah!" he said before running out of the room with my screaming son. Crisis averted, that is, until the child ran past our "dining room."

We do not entertain. Heck, my children can't really SIT long enough for civilized dining. Why have a formal room? I want it. I yearn for it. However, in this life, that room is wasted space. And, what this house truly needed was a vacuum room. I think every house should have a vacuum room. After all, where else are you to store your 20+ cleaners? Where is the toy chest with the 30+ toy vacs to be placed if not in a vacuum room?

It seems obvious to me.

"Oh, those are just my brother's vacuums," says my younger son to his friend. I guess it seems obvious to our son as well.

Not too long after, our older son arrived home from school. I think he was a bit much for the friend to handle. I prompted son to say hello to the friend, which he did, But, of course, the articulation is off. The look on the friend's face showed an element of fear, and my heart went out to him. Explaining how our older son is a person just like we are but that he is having trouble making the muscles move in and around his mouth, I then pulled out his dynavox, a mini voice output computer that our son uses to help him speak. A few whoops of joy, and crisis again averted.

The playdate was starting to feel a bit long to me. What happened to just throwing kids in an environment and letting the play unfold? Outside. We must all go outside. So, I herded the children out, and it wasn't two minutes before our older son had an accident (darned this med trial!!!). Poor guy! I thought I could quietly handle the situation but then I hear, "Hey, look! My brother peed and pooped his pants!!!" Both younger boys started running our way, the friend's eyes wide with shock. That's it. No recovering from this one. This child will never come back, but I've got bigger fish to fry.

I shot my younger son disapproving looks, but they were completely lost on him. He has absolutely no radar screen for such things. So, I ordered him to turn the other way while I soothed my older son that accidents happen all the time.

Where is a gal's Mom Cave when she needs it?

I didn't even tell the little boy's mom all that happened when she came to pick him up. I did explain the fear I saw in his face upon the encounter with our older son because I wasn't sure how he would process it later. Hopefully, he'll learn that people with special needs have their differences but aren't so scary when you take the time to understand them. I would have loved to have been in that car on their ride home. Who knows what stories he told his family about us! Everything? Nothing? You never know!

Certainly, I will invite him to play at our house again soon. I just need a break first before I issue the offer.

I wonder if he will accept?


  1. Would love to hear what the friend said. Kids can vary so much, from not being surprised by something highly unusual, to being astonished and freaked out by the fact that you have different bread to theirs at home, or a yellow rug. Well done you though for hosting, still makes me nervous every time we do it. (Ali)

  2. I'm obviously nervous...and a bundle of insecurities, too! Really, that child's mouth hung open in shock more often than it was closed during his time here. I should have handled it better. I should have been up front with his mother. I guess I just wanted to offer our son a slice of normalcy, so I said nothing and rolled the dice that we could pull it off. Note to self: we can NOT pull off normal!

  3. If this is the child I think it is, I think he will be okay. And if you want some help in "translating" anything for him, I can do that. He may be surprised, but he is actually quite inquisitive and understanding. :-D

  4. It likely is. You don't know what children will question after the fact. If he mentions something, I'd appreciate your fielding that for me. If he returns, I'll definitely do a better job of prepping with his mother and walking him through things. At the same time, he's still a kid. His filter may not be as sensitive as mine on the matter...