Ethan is one of those kids on the autism spectrum with very high intellect, but who struggles intensely with social and emotional skills. You got it…no filter. I spend a lot of time apologizing for his non-responsiveness, or rude responses. We are working on it, and have made great strides, thank goodness. But sometimes, it’s just funny. You simply cannot ask him the questions you might ask any “normal” eight-year-old. If he responds at all, it is likely to be either an eyeball roll, or a “duh” look. And sometimes, that just makes me giggle – on the inside of course. He typically only responds to questions he deems worthy of his mental abilities. If he actually uses words to respond, I tend to laugh because what he says is what any of us would think but know not to say. And it’s usually extremely sarcastic or witty.
He is one smart little cookie. We’ve been working on getting him to sleep in his own bed all night. A couple of weeks ago, we told him he would get a quarter for every full night he stays in his room. That hasn’t been too effective. More nights than not, he’s in our bed. Yes, we should have nipped this years ago, but there are only so many battles I can fight at one time. He is not a sound sleeper. He dreams vividly, and usually yells, kicks, screams, punches, and flails his way through the night. Definition: Michael and I don’t get much sleep when Ethan is in our bed.
Last night, we reminded E he would get a quarter if he stayed in his bed all night. And then I added he would owe us a dollar if he came in our bed. He processed, and said, “So, I have to pay a dollar to sleep in your bed?” Yep, a dollar to sleep in our bed. Or stay in your bed for four nights in a row, then get a free pass to sleep in our bed. He promised he would try to sleep in his bed.
Michael and I watched a couple hours of TV after the kids went up to bed. When we went up, there was Ethan, sound asleep in the middle of our bed. I went to put my book down on my nightstand, and there sat four quarters. I couldn’t help it – I totally started laughing. He had a peaceful smile on his face knowing his night in our bed was covered.
There are so many challenges in raising a kid with an ASD. You take your light where you can get it. While he can frustrate us to no living end, he can also make us laugh. Sometimes, it’s just that funny.