The daily hum drum of Autism

JC isn’t at school today.  He isn’t really ALL that sick.  He is tired.  End of school term exhaustion.  

I got a phone call yesterday to say I had to collect JC from school as he had vomited.  I don’t believe JC is really ill.  JC is a dab hand at vomiting on demand.  It’s made easier by the fact that he has always had a dodgy stomach.  I have become hardened to the plight of the vomiting child.  I sigh.  I cut my lunch – which I haven’t had – short with my sister-in-law and head on back to the school.

I arrive at school and ask to see JC.  I walk in to the sick bay.  He is sitting on the bed, long legs dangling over the side, reading his iPod.  Of course he is.  I walk up to him and stroke his arm.  He looks at me and smiles.  Not an I’m-pleased-to-see-you smile, but a smile that says, Yep, I’m on my way home.  I swallow my frustration.  It is who he is and I have to accept that.

I take his bag from him and as I do so, I brush his hand.  He feels hot.  And now I look at him, he feels pale.  “Oh, I think you REALLY are sick.” I say.

“I told you this morning I was sick.”

“Yes, yes you did.”

“And you didn’t believe me.”

“That happens when you cry wolf so often, JC, we stop believing and then when you are really sick, we still don’t believe you.”

“I don’t cry wolf anymore.”

I can’t stop myself laughing.  “Oo, you big fibber.”

“No, seriously, I don’t, ever since Dad said he would buy me Assassins Creed at the end of the year.”

That still grates me.  The game is exceptionally violent.  I don’t like the idea of JC playing it, but Dee offered it to him out of desperation.  It was the one thing that we had that could make him go to school without question.  The one thing that would motivate him to overcome his fears and anxieties and enter that school ground.  Lord knows what will happen when we have to hand the game over.  What leverage will we have then?

“Oh, yes, Assassins Creed,” I say.

JC smiles.  “I’m going to make you play it with me.”

It is a long standing joke with JC and I.  I am a pacifist and he plays games that shoot other humans and beings to smithereens.  I hate those games.  He loves to threaten me with making me play them.  I protest with a smile.  It’s our thing.

We get home.  I quickly change his sheets.  He is hot and I think it would be nice to get into clean sheets.  I take his iPod before he gets into bed.  JC protests.  “Mum, I need that!”

“No, you need to rest.”

“Reading is resting.  I’ll be in bed.”

“JC, you stare at this tiny little screen all day, except for when you are at school.  From 6am until 10pm, you do nothing but read this tiny screen.  I am surprised you aren’t blind!  You are sick because your body needs to rest.  That means sleep.”

“But I can’t sleep during the day.”

“Tough, you can try.  When it is after school hours, and if you have had some rest, I’ll give it to you then.”

It works.  JC manages to rest for a good hour or so.  I give him his iPod and he goes back to what he feels most secure doing.

Last night I read about PDD NOS.  I fear for JC and how withdrawn he is.  He is so isolated.  He tells me he doesn’t care and whilst I can accept this, I know the world outside our house will not understand.  

I go to tickle his back.  Every night we have the same ritual.  Dee gets JC to shower (under great protest EVERY night), he then makes him hot chocolate.  A few minutes after his hot chocolate, he then comes into the lounge, picks up one of the dogs and returns to his room.  I follow him in, free the imprisoned dog, and begin to tickle his back with a backscratcher that Dee got as a christmas present.  I use this time to try to communicate with JC.  Normally, he won’t speak to me much, even going as far as to tell me that he is no longer listening to me, but at night whilst I am tickling his back, I can usually get more out of him.

Tonight, I have decided to try something different.  

“How about we play a game whilst I tickle your back?”

“What game?”

“I say the name of a feeling and you have to tell me about that feeling.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Okay, say I say the word Love.  What can you tell me about love?”

“It makes you want to have sex with someone.”

Typical 14 year old response, but not one an NT child would say to his mother.  I smile.  

“Well, yes, there is that kind of love, although I suspect you are talking more about lust there.  When you love someone that you want to have sex with, you respect them and want to protect them as well.  Like Dad and I.  What other kinds of love are there?”

“How I love Harold and Lulian?”  Harold stares at the door having just been set free from the clutches of JC.

“Yes, that’s one kind of love.  What about the love you have for me.”

“That’s gross mom, that’s incest. Is loving Harold and Lulian a form of beastiality?”

This is going to be harder than I thought. “No, JC, it isn’t a form of beastiality.  Where did you even learn about that?”

“A friend of mine told me about it, so I googled it.”  Of course you did. 

“Well, no, it isn’t.  Let’s get back to love.  So there is the love you have for your girlfriend, a different type of love for your parents, your sister, your best friend, your cousin – “

“Do you know it’s not incest if you have sex with your cousin.”

“JC! Enough, let’s just talk about the subject at hand.” and then, “actually, I think it is incest.”

“No, it isn’t.  I looked it up.  You are allowed to marry your cousin, but not anyone directly genetically tied to you like your parents, your sister, or grandparents.  But your cousin is okay.”

I make a mental note to check if that’s right.  “Well, I wouldn’t go around telling anyone that JC, people will start looking at you weird and wondering why you know that.”

I decide to finish the tickling and with it, the conversation.  “Well, that’s it for now.  Perhaps a different feeling for tomorrow night.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Well, good night my boy.  I love you.”  I kiss him on the head and rise to turn off the light.  “I love you,” I say again.

“Mm” is all I get.  JC announced a while ago he was no longer going to tell me he loves me.  Heaven knows why.

This morning JC was not well.  Well, not ill exactly, but tired.  I knew trying to get him to school was futile.  I let him sleep in.  I slept in.  I had weird dreams about the farm of my adolescence.  I dreamed about my mom.  I miss my mom.

I’m still in my pyjamas as I write this. It is 2pm and JC has not emerged from his room except for a late breakfast and to get his iPod.  I’m getting hungry so I better get showered and get us some lunch.

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