Friday, January 18, 2013

Stop Breakin' My Crayons, Dude

Hint: don't search for "chastity belts" on
the Internet without your parent safety
filter on. Just sayin'. (shudder)
Paisley, Conor's in-home aid, laughed at me yesterday while we were in the kitchen getting Conor's after-school snack together.

"You need a chastity belt, Alisa," she teased.

"I don't need a chastity belt, Paisley," I chuckled as I jabbed at the numbers on the microwave. "I need a chastity shield."

Or maybe an iron corset?  I don't know what is going on with my soon-to-be 14 year-old son lately, but he is all over me like a bad first date. I mean, I was groped less at fraternity parties in the early '90s.  And I wore eye make-up and pants without elastic waistbands back then!

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, puberty.  I get it. We've had this issue for years, though, and I just can't get it through his brain that it's gross. Your mom, dude. Uggy. Blech. Barf. Gag. Gnarly.

I'm just at my wits' end. It is so hard to get him to change his behavior. Any behavior, really, but this one seems so entrenched.

For awhile, it seemed like he got the message.  I could wrap him up in a big bear hug and squeeze the mess out of him without his hands going all over the place. Or he'd want to touch me, but in a rather odd way, not in an icky way.

But the inappropriate touching has come back, and it's really breakin' my crayons. For all his challenges, Conor is extremely huggable, and it's tough for a mom to not hug her little snuggle bunny. He's hard to resist sometimes, with those blue eyes and chubby cheeks.

Aw, what cute widdle bunnies.
Hint: don't search for "snuggle bunny" on the Internet
without your parent safety filter on.  Just sayin'. (Oh, the humanity.)

Some individuals with autism shy away from physical contact. Conor, quite the opposite, has always been affectionate. He craves physical human contact, like a smoker craves his next cigarette. And he's just the right height to attempt to kiss my neck each time we go for a hug. Ew ew ew.

I have to say, it's not all about puberty.  Sometimes, he legitimately wants to be playful. He'll jam his fingers into my armpit and wiggle them around, looking expectantly at my face for a smile while he "tickles" me.

(You know, you just can't hold your arm tightly enough to your side to stop those sneaky fingers from getting in there.  Try it, it's hard! And, it goes without saying but I'm saying it, really gross at the end of a hot July afternoon in Charm City.)

"Want to touch Mommy's back fat!" he'll yell gleefully, a big grin on his face.

"Mommy does NOT have any back fat, thank you very much," I reply as I glare at him. I still have to bat his hand away, even after I say no thanks.

(I don't, really, I don't have back fat. Not much, anyway. Look, see for yourself.)

See? Ok, I could workout more but who couldn't?
Hint: Don't search for Angelina Jolie on the Internet without
your parent safety filter on. Just sayin'. (My word.)

In any case, after some extensive searching on the Web, I stumbled upon the perfect chastity shield.  I think that this shield will not only thwart my son's attempts to grab, tickle, touch, or squeeze any inappropriate part of my body, it will also protect me during one of his tantrums.  As a bonus, I could defeat perpetrators of evil around the world while still getting dinner cooked for the family.

I'll take one in black.  It's slimming.

Sorry, Conor, but you'll have to save your lovin', touchin', squeezin' for your girlfriend, LOL.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Top Chef

Tonight Conor expects to whip up a batch of what looks to be a yummy pasta dish.  This is problematic for me, as I strive to be gluten-free for my own sake, being somewhat dyspeptic.

I tell you what, though.  I am determined, determined, to teach this boy a vocational skill that will help him be independent. (Well, as independent as he can be, all things considered.)

I mean, what's seven days of a little bloating, intestinal pain, and diarrhea compared to preparing my son for a measure of independence?

You take out a student loan for college, I get diarrhea. We all make sacrifices for our kids' future, don't we?

(Yes, I know there's gluten-free pasta.  Kids with autism can be a little rigid about certain things [ya think?], and I don't anticipate my little chef wanting to substitute the penne pasta in the recipe with the gluten-free rotini I found.)

In any case, enough about me.  Conor went to the library with his dad and, without any prompting or direction, chose a Rachel Ray recipe book to bring home, called Look + Cook.

How easy can that be? You just look at it, and it practically cooks itself! My kind of cooking.

Of course, the recipe also calls for a food processor, so, naturally, I went online and ordered myself a nice little Cuisinart. (Man, I tell you, I can spend my husband's money like nobody's business. It's a talent, really. Plus, it's easy when it's all in the name of Conor becoming more independent.)

Check out this bad boy.

I didn't go for top-of-the-line, though.
My husband talks of this thing called a "budget".
What's this thing of which he speaks? I know not this word.

Conor has loved to help us cook for years.  Of course, "helping" often means grabbing a wooden spoon and stirring whatever we're cooking while simultaneously putting his little button nose right down into the pot.  A few weeks ago, he actually burned the tip of it while grilling steaks with his dad.

Poor kid.
That'll teach ya to not sniff the steaks while they're still on the grill, though. We hope.
I'm a little scared to give him a sharp knife, as you can imagine. But someday we'll have to take that plunge as well. Clearly, it is an area of interest for him, as he has always been quick to join us in baking, sautéing, simmering, grilling, and mashing.

In any case, Conor is quickly nearing his 14th birthday. (I know, 14 years old. I'm not old enough to have a 14 year-old. I was a child bride, entirely too young to get married. Quite scandalous, really.

Ok, I was 27 and begged my husband to marry me already. Sad, when I think about it.)

Ok, focus, Alisa, focus.

As Conor grows older, I worry about what he will do to earn income, maintain a measure of independence (however small), and to fill his days.  A Conor with a lot of time on his hands is usually a Conor that gets into trouble.

So this is part of my master plan. Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he sits and drinks beer all day. Wait, no, that sounds wrong.

Oh, right, other people can drink beer still.  That's why I stick with my red wine. It's gluten-free, not to mention delicious.

So... my goal is as follows: Teach Conor to fish and Alisa can drink wine all day.  Cheers!

Friday, January 04, 2013

(Warning) Explicit Language

Conor learned a new word over the break, and I swear, it wasn't from me. I know you have reason to doubt me since I've taught my typical kid a novel word or two in the past, but I swear, it wasn't me.


No, no, I'm serious, that's the word, he's learned the f-bomb. And I swear, Mom, it wasn't from me. Honest, cross my heart.

Conor gets an allowance each week and he lives to shop. Years ago, he discovered you can find anything and everything you want on So when he's got a hankerin' for a new coffee mug (he's obsessed with coffee mugs), he cruises on My kid's got that search function down cold, let me tell you.

Me, I'm comfortably snuggled down into Conor's big belly a few weeks ago, blissfully unaware of what he's searching for as he messes around on his iPad. I mean, how many clocks, calculators and 9-globe bronze chandeliers does one mom have to look at? We're cuddling on the couch--me watching tv and him content with his iPad, happy and quiet.

Quiet?  Hmmmm, too quiet. I glance over at the screen beyond his belly, and I see it.  The mug.

"Um, Conor, you're not getting that so go ahead and move on to another thing," I say a little too quickly. I sit up.

Bad move. I've called attention to the mug. Now he knows that it's something he's not supposed to see. Dammit.

"What does fuck mean?" he asks me.

Oh shit Now I've done it. I mumble something about inappropriate language (a hot topic for him recently, but not because of curse words) and hope he'll forget it.

You know, I have no problem with curse words. Eight years of Catholic school left me with a fear of kelly green, a loathing of anything plaid, and a vocabulary of curse words that a trucker would envy. With my typical kid, I simply tell him what the word means, that it offends some people, and that he shouldn't say it around adults. (To be honest, Aidan's a bit of a goody-goody about it. It's annoying.)

With Conor, I don't quite know what to do. He doesn't know what it means, I don't want to explain it to him (I'm avoiding the sex topic forever for now), and I don't want him yelling it during one of his public tantrums.

Problem is, he thinks it is hilarious.  It goes like this--(giggle giggle) What the fuck? (giggle guffaw snort) What the fuck? (uproarious laughter) What the fuck? (peals of laughter).

And my current strategy of yelling "just shut the fuck up!" at him doesn't seem to be working.

I kid you, I kid.  I try to redirect him, but it's tough. Of course, on the Amtrak train to visit my husband's family over the holidays, I emailed his behaviorist to let her know of his most recent vocabulary word. She said to ignore it.

Hmmmmm, I thought to myself.  I'll be sure to tell my 81 year-old Irish Catholic mother-in-law that behavioral technique when he says it in front of her. Sigh.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

One More Day. Sort of.

No school for the past eleven and 1/2 days for my son with autism. (No school for 14 days for my typical kid, but then again, who's counting?)

Four of those days spent traveling to see extended family--shooo-wee, ain't that going to be a future blog post or two.

He goes to school tomorrow, but it's an early dismissal day.  Then a neurology appointment in the afternoon. Finally, on Thursday, my typical kid goes back to his school and Conor has a full day as well. (Until 2:30pm, so a full school day but not a full day, if you catch my drift, if you feel me, as it were.)

So, on Thursday, I will have moved from my spot in the bedroom corner where I have been quietly whimpering and picking at my cuticles to under the snowy white down comforter on my bed, where I will sleep and sleep and sleep.  Only to get up and walk the dog.  Then sleep some more.

That's the plan anyway.