Thursday, May 28, 2009

Who needs spoons anyway?

Being a good Mom, you happily oblige when your autistic four-year-old brings an empty bowl over to the counter where you are preparing food and looks hopefully at the rice. You place a few scoops in the bowl, put in a spoon, and escort him to the table with his booty.

He doesn't want to sit, but you want him to eat, so you allow him to stand. He takes the spoon and puts it on the table. You put the spoon in his hand. He puts it back on the table. You put it in his bowl, and he waits. You don't put it back in his hand, because he has had a rough day and needs at least a few calories before bed. After a few moments, the food on the stove is in dire need of attention, so you resume the stirring and sauteeing. You are interrupted by a series of unhappy yells that you can only assume are your autistic child's version of cussing. He has rice on his hand and is yelling because he wants it off. You quickly get a rag, but he is really upset. The rice on the floor is now on the bottom of his sock, and he is frettingly trying to scrap it off, but now that rice is also sticking to his hands. Wailing, wailing.

You pick him up, take off his socks and wipe his hand on your shirt. He still wants the rice. You hand him the bowl, and he tries to run. He stops when he steps in the rice, so you seize the opportunity to pick him up and sit on the floor with him in your lap before he screams again. After a few tries, you let him back up. Now you are sitting on the floor, and he is in the corner of the kitchen trying to get past you--and take his bowl with him.

He puts the bowl down next to you but paces in his corner of the kitchen, making very unhappy sounds all the while. You smile, and in your most convincing and friendly voice, you say to him, "Help you" over and over while making the ASL sign for "help." Smile, sign, speak, repeat. Smile, sign, speak, repeat.

Finally, he walks over and sits in your lap. You get him to eat one bite with the spoon, which he then takes out of your hand and flings accross the kitchen. But he remains in your lap. He plunges his hand in the bowl, and eats the rice while you tell him he's a good boy and run your hand over his hair, kissing his head and rocking, ever so slightly.

After he has finished, you take the bowl to the sink and whisk him to a tub full of bubbles and boats. He is happy.

I hate spoons.

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