I have moved over to WhittereronAutism.com. Please follow the link to find me there. Hope to see you after the jump! :)

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Bribery and Corruption method of bringing up a child

Now I know what you’re thinking, so don’t just start in on me, as to be honest, I really don’t have a leg to stand on. The thing is, you have to work with what you’ve got, and at the moment, all I have to work with is chocolate.

I mean, when did you last go down on bended knee to your child, beg, plead and implore to them, to just take a little nibble of chocolate ……..and then they can get down from the table? Not recently I would venture to suggest.
Rather you had whip your hand back quickly before they bit your fingers off. Me? I have to restrain mine in his chair to prevent escape. Actually, three of my other ones would be the latter category too. We only have one true deviant about these parts. Well maybe two, but leave me out of the equation.

The fact that he eats chocolate at all, is something that I relish, because in theory it opens the door to a myriad of possibilities. Did you know that they make such a thing as chocolate covered pretzels? Unlikely I know, but it’s perfectly true. There are other more obvious choices, such as chocolate covered peanuts and raisins. Then there are lots of different varieties of chocolate itself. I have a big pool to draw upon here. Thus far, our success rate is a big fat zero. As noted in previous posts, the issue of texture is always our downfall. There again, appearances can be deceptive. Merely changing the shape of the 'food' in question is enough to upset the applecart.

He eats pretzels, ergo he should be able to eat chocolate covered pretzels, ditto chocolate covered raisins, but unfortunately these happy combinations have evaded him. We’ll gloss of the chocolate covered poison packs for obvious reasons. [translation = peanuts are in their own sub category of poisonous foodstuffs, even though I’m fairly confident that technically speaking, he is not allergic to them]

The idea in principal, is to pick a desirable food, such as broccoli, where the ratio of chocolate covering to vegetable matter would be beneficial and then get him to eat it. That is what we’re aiming at. I know that goal is a long way off, but it is better to travel hopefully than to……….. something or other, I forget.

I think, realistically, that since he eats chips [translation = fries] that a chocolate covered potato might be a good starting point. However, that might be a biased Irish gene providing undue weight in the decision making process. Spouse, another non vegetable eater, pointed out that we might be better fixing our sites a little lower. He was wise to avoid mentioning chocolate infused pasta and expose his own gene pool bias. Hence, as always, heeding to his superior grasp of the situation, I managed to hunt down a variety of different shaped chocolates as a stage one. Remember if a food changes shape from cube to stick, or quarters to halves, it effectively changes category too. It becomes 'new food' as a result. Stage two would be to try different types of chocolate such as Ghiradelli’s or Hershey’s.

Thus far the prospects are not propitious, but we’ll keep you posted. I will be the one in the kitchen trying to make chocolate trapezoids as a dodecahedron is way beyond my skill set.


I cut off bite sized chunks of my anchovy and tomato sandwich as I contemplate. Junior contents himself with a book, “Alphabet Mystery.” Part of the trouble with the label ‘non-verbal’ is that in many instances, it isn’t what it seems to be. By non-verbal, one assumes that the person in question, does not communicate with words, or alternatively, communicating with words is not their first choice. The latter definition, vague though it may be, would be a better description of the kind of speech delay that my boys have. Senior’s speech is more halting or sporadic, interspersed with long periods of silence. Fortunately those periods of silence are much shorter that a few years back.

Back then, a day or two might pass without a word being uttered.

He’d communicate by gesture or mime. It did worry me, [very much] because when he did ‘chose’ to speak, he used long words, way beyond what might expect from a child so young. You doubt me? I do too to be frank, and obviously I can’t recall his lines verbatim, but this would be a rough quote;
‘I like Tyrannosaurus Rexes but I prefer [yes, ‘prefer’ not ‘like better’] Lambiosaurus because they are herbivores, but you can call them plant eaters if you like.’

The echolalia was a different issue. [translation = simply put, an ability to repeat long sentences exactly like an echo]

This is why I take such an unnatural amount of pleasure when they do choose to speak. [translation = in between the times that I’m begging for them all to be quiet, of course.] It’s also part of the reason that I have become so sneaky and underhand, as I tip toe about trying to ear wig. Generally speaking, if you hear some unusual speech pattern emerging, or rather ’being voiced’ it’s handy to have a quick check list available so that you don’t get your hopes up too high too fast. Firstly you should run a scan over all media input that they have been exposed to in the last six months, as it is highly likely that they’re just repeating some fascinating line that they’ve picked up and are now perseverating upon. [translation = probably the most annoying of annoying new phrases] So when you hear your child ‘talking’ get as close as you can without being visible and then run through the following options.
The rules of the ‘non’ verbal
- talk to an imaginary friend or person but not in a pretend manner [highly unlikely]
- talk to somebody, a real person [possible and probable in some instances]
- talk to a ‘thing’ / ‘something,’ that is technically inadequate, but not in a pretend manner [ more likely]
- don’t talk at all [ most likely]

I would hope that this tick sheet would save you a lot of disappointment.
Meanwhile, in conclusion we can say that speech delays, when coupled with autism, make a heady mix for the unwary and na├»ve, such as myself. Speech therapy and professional teachers, make no end of headway with both my boys. It may well be true, that the subtle nuances of the English language will always escape them………......................…excuse me, someone is poking me in the ribs…………….
“Don’t do that dear it hurts!”
“Sorree, but I am needing your hand.” I give him my hand, but he starts scribbling on it with a felt pen. [translation = marker]
“Don’t do that you big mucker.”
“I not ‘mucker’ I ‘writer.’”
“What is it that you’re trying to write and why do you want to write it on my hand?”
“I am wanting to write ‘x’s because you smell too badly to have kisses.”

A new partner every night – in flagrante delicto SATURDAY

It's pitch black when he steps near the bed and snaps on the light to find us.
"Don't say a word!" I command, "it's not my fault," I plead.
“No! I’m not complaining! I was just going to comment, that’s all.”
“Well if you were home a bit sooner it wouldn’t have to be this way!”
“Can I help it if we’re in ‘tape-out’?”
“You know your business dear, but all work and no play can lead to some rather alarming developments!”
"So I work whilst you play."
"Depends upon your definition of 'play?'"
“But when you work for a ‘start-up’ company, you know that the hours are going to be long.”
“There’s ‘long’ and there’s ‘never released for time served!”
“Even so!”
“Well what’s a woman supposed to do? Going to bed alone every night.”
“I know, but it’s not as if you’re lonely. Or are you?”
“Me! Lonely! Perish the thought. I long to be lonely..”
“Yet, every night when I get home, when I get to bed, there they are, another one, another someone in your,….. sorry ‘our’ bed. We need to discuss this?”
“There’s nothing wrong, you’re just not here. When you’re not here, there’s an empty place in the bed. Nature abhors a vacuum!”
“Well, it’s all very disconcerting this business, I never know what to expect. It can affect a man you know. Several nights running now.”
“I know. What can I say in my defense? I am weak willed.” With a touch of pneumonia to boot.
“Is this some kind of Catholic sin of the flesh that I don’t know about? Too many years in a convent?”
“Atheism can protect you from a lot of things!”
“Does he have a pull- up on?”
“He does.”
“I’ll park him back in his own bed then shall I?”
“It’s probably for the best.”
“I’ll check on the others whilst I’m at it, afterall it’s not 2 a.m yet.”
“True. Only 1:15 a.m. Quite early really!’

Pneumonia – the end and the beginning

I stagger back from the doctor’s office where spouse is holding the fort. “So do you think we should explain to them why you’re malfunctioning?”
“Malfunctioning! I’m just ill, that’s all. I’ll be as right as rain once the anti-biotics kick in.”
“That wouldn’t be a very helpful explanation to them though, would it? You’d get yourself in no end of trouble explaining it like that, you’ll need to re-phrase it.”
“Yes, you’re right. Keep it simple. Any ideas?”
“You’re always better at explaining than I am.”
“Oh, I don’t know.”
Spouse gathers the troops so that I can preserve oxygen. I explain with a big smile on my face. I await questions, hoping that there won’t be any......................

“Why it is new? Why it not old?” sparks the literal one.
“Not ‘new’ dear, it’s pneu – here let me write it down for you.”
“Pneu! That is the stoopid one. Silent ‘n’s are in ‘gnat’ and ‘gnaw’ and oh! That’s right! You are not the bad one afterall. ‘Pneu’ is in ‘pneumatic’ too. You are not the big fat lying one! I am forgiving your stoopids.”
In confirmation he darts behind me, lifts my shirt to plant a kiss of compensation in the small of my back.

“You are ill? You are dead?” queries the anxious one.
“No, I’m not dead dear, just ill.”
“Not dead?”
“No. Not dead.”
“When you are dead den?”
His sister intervenes as I become short of breath,
“Remember, nobody dies until they’re at least 90 and that’s ages away.” What can I say? Ninety seemed like a good compromise at the time.
“19! 19? 19! iz not a big number. 19 is a small number. I hate it, it’s bad, I don won you to be deaded.”
“Not 19, 90 you stewpid head, why don’t you ever listen properly,” she bellows because this conversation seems to be upsetting for everyone.
I put one arm around her and pull her in close even though I should probably correct her.

“Now listen! Do you remember the blue tape?” I point the kitchen cabinet where handy reference photographs accumulate. It depicts the conclusion to this same debate six months ago when we experienced difficulties with 'time and death.'
Since it is a recurring theme, I thought it best to keep handy.
It shows blue masking tape running from the kitchen to the stairs,
marked with numerals from 0 to 99.
It is a magic visual cure for this particular anxiety,
or at least it is for now.

Sometimes you just wish you’d never
started in the first place.
Maybe I should have avoided this whole
quagmire and stuck with ‘malfunctioning.'

AddThis Social Bookmark Button