This is a horrifically bad picture of me. Its being used to illustrate frustration, which is felt at this house on occasion. I won't sugar coat our family dynamic. Sometimes I want to sell Nathan to the Gypsies. I would never do that, of course. But there are days...
About two weeks ago, Nathan was in his room, getting dressed. Or so I thought. I knocked on his door to check on him and he's only in his underwear. This was a good sign, which means he'd started the process. I asked him if he needed more time to change and he said yes. I told him he had 5 more minutes.
I checked him again and he had pants on, but he looked like he's about to cry. I asked him, "What's the matter, honey?"
"The pants." he said.
I questioned him about the pants. He couldn't really say. I checked them. They weren't dirty or wrinkled. They didn't have a difficult button or zipper. I couldn't figure out what's wrong.
"Nate, what's wrong with the pants?"
"Mom, they're uncomfortable."
Okay, we're getting somewhere. I was glad I gotten that out of him. But, it's was 7:45 AM. I hadn't showered and I felt like I stunk like a wedge of Stilton. We needed to leave by 8:05. I had a feeling we wouldn't make that time frame.
I said, "Okay, pal. That's fine. You want to wear another pair of pants?"
He said, "Yeah, pajama pants."
I normally don't let him wear pajama pants to school, as they look like, well, pajama pants. But this pair had a camouflage print on them. Completely acceptable in my book. I told him he could put them on and he could finish getting dressed.
"But Mom," he whined, "everyone will know..."
"Know what?" I pressed.
"That they're pajama pants."
I got close to selling him on Ebay at that point.
"Honey," I insisted, "who knows they're pajama pants?"
"Me & you" he said.
"Right, so we're the only ones who know. Nobody has to know except us."
"But what if someone asks me?"
Ask him if he's wearing pajama pants? Please, half the kids in school don't change their clothes before going to school. But Nathan is a clothes horse and frequently asks me if his clothes make him look fat. I couldn't wrap my head around this. His Asperger's was being too crafty for me. It was 7:55, Nathan was crying and half naked and I was on the verge of having an audition reel for "Jersey Shore" with all the f-bombs I was holding back.
"Honey, nobody has to know they're pajama pants.
You can wear them if you want."
"I'll wear the other pants that make me itchy."
"Nate, you don't have to wear the itchy pants."
"But everyone will know about the pajama pants."
"Nate, you'd rather be uncomfortable and wear the itchy pants?"
I was befuddled, confused and yes, frustrated. There were some raised voices, by me. There was lots of crying by Nate. I was like, "Why is he torturing himself? Why can't he just put on some darn clothes? Doesn't he know I smell like an 8th grade science experiment?" Nathan was just miserable, in my lap, screeching into my shoulder. Then, like a direct line from the Asperger Gods to me, I had a thought.
"Nate, do you want to wear a different pair of pants?"
"A different pair?"
"Yeah, like a pair of pants that are comfortable and are not pajama pants?"
He looked at me like I had told him he could swim in ice cream for a week. He smiled a little and wiped his face and said, "Yes. I would like that." I figured he needed another option. In his brain, he had only two options. There was never any consideration of a third choice in his mind, so I put it there.
I held him in my lap and rocked him for a while. He's 73 lbs now, so it's not so easy to keep him there, but he still crawls up into my arms like a monkey when he's sad. I know he needs love when he does that and I am happy to give it to him.
So, to sum up, Nathan wore jeans that day. I did not have a shower before I took Nathan to school, but did as soon as I got home. We also donated the offending trousers to charity. Asperger's may attack without warning. It is best to be as prepared as you can, and try to think outside of the proverbial box. :)
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