Friday, May 28, 2010
After yesterday's somewhat complicated post with a window into my sometimes fragile psyche I thought I'd wipe the tears away and tell a story today instead.... Today has been a much more positive day and I, for one am ready for a few laughs again.
I mentioned in yesterday's post that I'd been busy putting out fires around here and I hinted at telling of that literal adventure in an upcoming post. Well today is as good a day as any to fill you in on the fires always 10 seconds away from my turned back in this house of organised chaos.
For those who read along on this blog you already know life in my house is always an adventure with a child on the Autism Spectrum. I remember a line in that hokey Arnold Schwarzeneger film, Kindergarten Cop that warned the barely believable and terribly acted undercover cop to never every turn his back on his Kindergarten Class because it was like turning your back on the ocean. The consequences would be BAD!
I recently saw that film again (I'm a bit of a nightowl and quite often as I tap away on various projects, work and bits and pieces, I have the TV on and usually it is simply for white noise and the shows keeping me company are generally quite rubbish). I watched the scene where poor old Arnie did turn his back on his class and when he returned it was a disaster.
I sat there and laughed along and thought to myself, "Wow!!! That class of 30 kids has NOTHING on my two boys!"
Children with ASD sometimes have no sense of danger and most (well at least my two) are extremely impulsive. This impulsiveness and lack or awareness is related to their lack of executive functioning which is really well explained at a friend of mine's blog, (see here).
We live in a house full of locks, safety gates, barriers, alarms and various other safety measures so our kids can basically get through a day without injury (or worse). Think about all the things you had as safety measures when your children were little babies and then multiply it by about a thousand and you have an idea of the level of lock and key my house is under at all times. My kids have managed to work out most of my incredibly complicated security measures and have escaped the house in the past including a very scary incident when my Mum was looking after my oldest son. He managed to get out of the locked back door, over a specially constructed gate on our back balcony, and over our fence (which is chicken wired to avoid having easy climbing access with handy foot holes) leading him straight to a main road upon which buses and trucks power along around the blind spot just adjacent to our driveway. This was exactly where he was headed by the time my mother who has arthritic fingures and a recently replaced artifical hip had managed to unlock all the doors and gates J had somehow magically by passed Houdini style.
We stepped up the security again after that incident.
So you get the idea that a loo break around these here parts is a dangerous undertaking as you simply never know what will transpire whilst you are relieving yourself....
About a week ago I was doing my usual dinner time routine and had cut way too many peices of bread to make into toast for the boys who always eat toast with every meal as it is their chosen food fad.
The boys appeared to have finished and I left a peice of uncooked bread in the toaster (first mistake) thinking to myself that I would pop it down and cook it if, when I get back the boys want more. I dashed to the loo and no disasters that I could hear were going on so I thought, "Oh why not run the bath and grab the pyjamas whilst things are quiet?" (Mistake number two).
I think I'd been gone around five minutes when I trotted back down the hall feeling quite chuffed that the house was still intact and the boys had not even had a scuffle in my brief absence.
Interception..... My four year old hyper verbal and very literal little boy magically appears in my path (after jumping over the safety gate in the kitchen entrance Olympic hurdle style). "STOP Mummy!!! The toast is fired, the toast is fired, THE TOAST IS FIRED!!!"
I would love to say I calmly entered the kitchen from whence my paicked child came and quietly assessed the situation but I do believe I may have sworn and then also hurdled the safety gate (why oh why do we bother?? They keep no one out of the places they are not supposed to be and really only slow all of us down over the day).
The toast was indeed fired. The whole toaster was actually on fire. Again, I would like to say I calmly pulled our handy fire extinguisher from an easy to reach place and simply put that fire out but I did not. I swore some more and contemplated that I do not know the difference between electrical fires, chemical fires or any kind of fire and I had no freaking idea on how to put this baby out and we do not have a fire extinguisher (which in hindsight is totally daft when considering the potential for disaster in this house on a daily basis). In possibly the most stupid move of my life I ripped the burning electrical appliance from the wall it was plugged into and may have dropped another swear word as I flung it into the sink full of dishwater.
The fire went out and my heartrate returned to semi normal and I think I realised I was in some strange mother trance as I came out of it and heard my J yelling, "I'm so sorry I fired the toast Mummy! I'm so sorry I fired the toast Mummy" on repeat which went on for a good three minutes and no amount of consoling could stop. J has popped that piece of toast down whilst I was happily wandering about the house feeling so smug about a disaster free five minutes and he had then become distracted with an episode of Dora on TV.
The boys were reciting the episode verbatim as they do whilst I was in oblivious smugdom, each participating in their designated parts that they somehow agreed upon without discussion or arguments. J was doing the parts of Dora and Boots and H was doing Swiper the Fox.
Obviously the episode was interupted when Jackson discovered the toast being "fired" after it got stuck and failed to pop back up, hence flames and panic.
J was so distressed about his part in the fire that he had forgotten the Dora episode completely but H had quietly pulled a chair over to the kitchen safety gate amidst the chaos, flames and noise. He proudly stood upon it and bellowed from atop, "You'll never find your toaster NOW J Ha ha ha ha!" He then immediately fell out of Swiper character and said, "Mummy! Be careful, you're fired!"
I surveyed the fizzled out scene, turned the screeching smoke alarm off (which went of rather late in the proceedings I might add), started breathing again and burst out laughing (perhaps in post panic hysteria).
The kids had their bath, the safety gates are still up and stopping nobody from entering unsafe areas and I have yet to replace that "fired" toaster so I am inconveniently using the grill and swearing each time I do so.
We really were and for the most part ARE lucky.
My point? Oh I don't have one really. Maybe just that even when unexpected panic (or any unwanted emotion) enters your life and even in the face of fear and potential disaster life aint so bad for the most part and can be a bit of a laugh too. Focus on what's truly important.
Oh..... And make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your home with an emergency plan... Just in case.