Fifty Shades of Blue
I’m going to need your assistance with this post. I’d like to do a little role play. Are you ready? I am going to demonstrate how to find pleasure in a certain amount of pain. I need you to get the blindfold from your dresser. You know the one. It’s black and made of leather. The one with soft satin straps that gently wrap around your head just above the tip of your ears. Now put that thing down so you can read. You won’t be needing it. You will however need duct tape. For the rest of this post I want you to go along with what I’m asking you to do.
Start on the left side of your face. Take your index finger and slowly caress one end of the tape between your cheek bone and your jaw line. I need you to hold it there for a moment. Now gently roll the tape across your mouth to your right cheek bone, again just above your jaw line. With a firm grip on the roll tear the tape. Softly tuck your lips together. There ‘s a high number of nerve endings there so be careful. It would be foolish to harm something so beautiful. At this point take the index finger that’s on your left cheek and with great force zip it across your face to your right side.
With your mouth tightly sealed I am going to need you to speak as loudly and clearly as possible. I will ask ten simple questions to keep it easy.
1. How was your day?
2. What would you like for dinner tonight?
3. Would you like to take a walk in the park?
4. What’s your favorite color?
5. Beatles or Rolling Stones?
6. What’s your plans for the weekend?
7. Have you read an interesting blog lately? 🙂
8. Are you feeling well?
9 Does your head hurt?
10. Do you want to take the damn tape off your mouth now?
For many children and adults with autism this is their reality. It’s frustrating, stressful and down right painful. I am very fortunate and blessed that Cade is able to answer some of these questions. Many people with autism can not. However, it doesn’t mean they don’t know the answers. We always speak to Cade as if he understands what we’re saying even when there are doubts in our minds.
Things did not go as planned this morning. Cade stayed up late with his cousin. I have two nephews in their twenties that also live with us. I brought them here so that I can help them out and in return they have helped me out. They have helped by bringing laughter and joy to Cade and to my eccentric brother-in-law Brett. They are Cade and Brett’s closest friends and for that I love them even more. Because Cade stayed up late with his cousin he was later than usual getting up for school. He is always late waking up which created a major challenge for me trying to keep a nine to five job. I now run a fitness boot camp which starts at 12:30 p.m. and at 11:00 a.m. he was still laying in bed. At this point I needed Cade to get moving so that I can get to my class and so that he doesn’t miss another day of school. He missed the past two days and gets upset when he misses. He really enjoys attending school.
My buddy is not a morning person. He needs to start the day at his own pace. I attempted to move him quicker by bargaining with things that he loves. I explained all the wonderful things we could do if he gets up and gets dressed. I honestly had good intentions. However, all this did was cause him unnecessary anxiety. With one eye on the clock I observed Cade enter his room. He exited fully dressed wearing one of his favorite superhero t-shirts. “Wolverine, ahhhh” he blurted out with a smile as he walked to the bathroom. Then with a dollop of hair product (he prefers paste) he meticulously worked through his thick light brown hair to get it just so. He gripped his Iron Man tooth brush and with a brisk stroke gave his teeth a good cleaning. It all appeared to be clear sailing.
Suddenly a loud outburst echoed from the bathroom. “Cade, you need to be on time for school” he fussed at himself. “I am very disappointed in you.” There is no need for me to scold him. He does that on his own.
“No. Cade, you’re a good boy” I proclaimed to him. “I am very proud of you.” I retreated back to the living room to give him his space.
He calmed for a moment and then continued. “Shame on you Cade,” he speaks of himself in the third person. “You need to be on time for school.” He began banging his toothbrush against the mirror. Then with one final blow the mirror cracked and his toothbrush snapped in two. This made him even more upset with himself. “You don’t break things Cade!” he ranted. “How many times do I have to tell you?”
We talked it out and he managed to pull himself together. He picked up his Batman back pack and joined me as we proceeded out the house. The two of us strolled toward the car. The look in his eyes told me he wasn’t pleased with himself. He threw his back pack down and began stomping on the red brick sidewalk. He used all the force his two hundred fifty pound body could produce as he pounded with both feet.
“Would you like to stay home?” I asked.
“Go to school” he screamed as he ran to the car. The door slammed and he began a spitting rampage inside the vehicle. Spitting is a new thing he does when he is upset. Like many other phases he has gone through I remind myself that this too shall pass. In an attempt to once again calm him I opened the car door and asked “Would you like to go back inside for a little while?” I let him know we could go to school later. He forcefully pushed the door open so he could slam it shut again. This time my shin took one hell of a whack and I fell to the ground.
He saw me fall and what happened next was truly remarkable. The car door opened and with big tears he looked me in the eyes and said “Look what I did. I hurt you. I am sorry Daddy.” He spoke clearly and with great sympathy. My heart melted. It reminded me of a time when his elementary school teacher called to inform me that Cade dropped the F-bomb in class. I was excited to hear that he used it in proper context. I did inform her that I would let him know such language is inappropriate. But, man what a proud moment.
Lucky for me I was wearing jeans when the door hit me. I showed Cade my leg and let him know I was going to be all right. He was relieved but still mad at himself and the thunderstorm of spit continued in the car. I walked back to the house, grabbed my raincoat and drove merrily to school. By the time we arrived he was once again happy. The next time you see some one driving and smiling while wearing a rain coat in a car with a spit covered windshield remember this. There’s always a reason to smile.
No doubt my leg hurts. It’s quite bruised. However, hearing those words spoken so clearly was worth every bit of pain. You may rip the duct tape off your mouth now.
Kelly Jude Melerine