Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Eliminate the inevitable

As I approached the top of the stairs, I was hit with the familiar smell of shower gel.  In a fraction of a second, I knew what happened. No! Impossible!  I hurried the rest of the way, piecing together the information that my frayed senses gave: Jaedon giggling, the swish swish of his slippery hands passing over each other and over some surface, the even stronger smell of shower gel, the opened bottle of shower gel in his room, the light (not heavy) bottle of shower gel in his room.  I glanced around hurriedly.  Where was the shower gel?  I quick dash to the bathroom sorted everything out.  The entire 33.8 oz of shower gel was in the sink.  No! NO! No! We JUST got that yesterday! It was in the cupboard that had the child lock even I struggle with!  Amidst Jaedon’s giggling and soapy hands, I stood, aghast, staring.

 Now you may think, “Why is she so upset?  It’s just soap.”   You’re right.  It wasn’t even fancy shower gel.  The entire 33.8 oz probably cost $9.  We had other soap so it wasn’t that anyone would be deprived of a shower this evening.  Then what was it?

 It was autism.  It was a life of constant vigilance.  Jaedon is always watching, waiting, thinking, calculating.  He’s ready when the opportunity arises and he strikes.  Never give up is indeed his mantra.  Predators could take lessons from J.

 I stood, looking, frozen.  For maybe a half second.  Everything is moving in slow motion, or maybe it’s moving at high speed.  I start to think a million things. Soap on his hands that can be eaten, or worse, rubbed into eyes.  He’s headed into the bathroom to wash his hands, in the sink, the one with the 33.8 oz of shower gel.  The soap is on the floor, he’s running in it, he could fall... which thing to tackle first.  And, like a thousand puzzle pieces all coming together magically, I saw it.  I knew what to do.  

 As Jaedon giggled and ran past me to the bathroom, I grabbed his hands and we headed towards the sink.  Shower gel coated his hand like treacle.  I glanced around and saw my glass filled with water (who needed water to drink at a time like this??).  Quickly discarding the water, I used the glass to scrape the gel off his hand, wiping his hand with an available wash cloth.  Somewhere in there, I had the presence of mind to plug the sink.  The soapy treacle wasn’t moving very fast.  So, while Jaedon amused himself with the little soap in his room, I filled 2.5 glasses with shower gel and poured it back into the bottle.  I used a couple other wash cloths to wipe the extra soap out of the sink, while announcing to J that it was time for shower (duh?).  Actually, it was shower time for everyone.

 So, 5 minutes later, I had an almost full bottle of shower gel locked away in my bedroom, 3 soapy washcloths waiting to help 3 people become refreshingly clean and no soap on the floor or in the sink.  And, I had figured out how Jaedon got the 33.8 oz bottle out of the cupboard without opening  the child-lock.  His arms are skinny, the bottle can be squeezed in and, with effort the cupboard doors open about 3 inches, just enough for skinny arms and flexible bottles.

I called everyone for a shower and I had one too. 

I could say that I’m a gifted problem solver.  Or, maybe I know how to make lemonade from lemons.  But I don’t think so.  I’ve been faced with many moments like these  in our ASD household and I realize my response is usually ‘NO!  This WILL NOT go down this way.’  Once I have eliminated the inevitable, and pause (sometimes not very calmly), other solutions pop up.

I'm thinking about the other moments when the other solutions do not pop up, when I look at the inevitable and panic, or feel depressed and slink away.   What makes those moments different?  I'll tell you more next time.

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