Yes, ladies and gentlemen, last night I decided to take a rather quick, bumpy trip down the precipitous heights of the stairs to the basement to the…well…basement. I’m fine…sore, but fine. Nothing broken or bruised other than my pride, and the one thing I’m mourning (aside from the graceless loss of balance) is the loss of two cups of uncooked rice I was transporting in a bowl held in my left hand. Two cups of uncooked rice on shag carpeting of a slightly darker shade of blah are not easy to pick up with a dinky vacuum cleaner bought on clearance for less than thirteen dollars…
This story gets more pathetic by the second, doesn’t it?
The size of my rump broke a great deal of the fall and I have so significant repercussions from it other than, as I said, I’m moving a little more slowly than usual this morning. I managed to fall down into a rather controlled heap in the middle of the staircase, and my scream of horror (because I was heading in J’s direction and achieving this unexpected feat of Olympic diving in his line of sight) came out as “aye…aye…aaayeee” in more of a subdued tone than would be expected from such circumstances. He saw me, went “EEEE AAAA” and upon seeing that I was trying to look like I’d been rehearsing the fall all day, took a step back and said “IS OK.” My husband, also well-versed in the art of not panicking J, assessed my status with horror in his face and sweetness in his voice “Did you break anything? Can you move?” I smiled broadly, looked directly at J and said “Oh, yes! I am fine!!!”
After unfolding myself from the crumple I’d fallen into, I got us as swiftly and happily as I could and demonstrated for J that I was still alive and well. The trip upstairs, thankfully, took place away from J’s line of vision so I could mouth curse words, limp, and do a bit of silent crying. If the silent film industry gets a legitimately sustainable boost from The Artist, I’m going to audition for roles, I swear.
I am not telling you this story so you will worry about my physical well-being. I am sore enough that my plans to attempt a Cirque du Soleil routine this afternoon have been scratched from the schedule, but I’m sure with some liniment and judicious stretching of my sore muscles, I’ll be back to my usual self by tomorrow. I am telling you this story because it properly illustrates some of the strangeness that is involved in reacting to life when you have a child with Autism.
Yes, kids definitely pick up on their parents moods, tone, emotions…kids with Autism do it in HD. I little bit of hypocrisy is built into our everyday life when J is around. We have to act calm when we’re not, happy when sad, unfazed when angry, rational when on the brink of madness. It’s not that we don’t want to be honest about our feelings, but we do have to consider how those displays of emotion will affect the person in the household who is not able to process them with the same ease as we.
It’s not that we’re teaching him not to curse either. I have a rather florid vocabulary. If I am using a hammer and I bang my thumb with it, I will not say “gee wiz!” If I am changing a flat tire and the screws are too tight, I’m most assuredly not going to say “my oh my!” I’ll say something bigger, bulkier…with more bite to it. I will not, however, use those words against another person just for the heck of using them. So if J drops something on the floor and it makes a mess, he will say the appropriate word for the situation, and it usually starts with “S.” If he’s trying to get one of those impossible plastic packages that hold something very small in a tight hug that resembles the depths of Fort Knox (like a pedometer that costs $6 but is protected as if its value exceeded $50), he will say something starting with “F” before asking for help. Because he is non-verbal, to us this is tantamount to “progress” so excuse our lax attitude.
We joke that we are a family of Marcel Marceaus and Isadora Duncans because a lot of our emoting is outwardly all-too-happy to be construed as legitimate. Gene Kelly could have choreographed and performed some of our reactions to really upsetting things. When my husband and I try to go out on a lunch date, leaving J under the supervision of his older brother, we look like a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers dance routine with the sound turned off. Ok…we’re not THAT graceful…it’s more like Donald O’Connor’s “Make ‘Em Laugh” routine with the sound turned off…and not even THAT graceful either!
My fall down the stairs last night was one of those things where you tell yourself “oh, I’m falling. I’m hitting myself against the wall, the steps…crap, the rice spilled…am I too close to that opening towards the bookshelves that line the basement wall? It would suck if I broke a leg…this house has three levels. THAT hurt! That’s a lot more rice than it seemed. Why did I carry this downstairs, again? Oh, I think I’m stopping now. Phew!!!! Ow. OW!” and all that comes out of your mouth is “HEY! I’m FINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” How did I fall? I’ve analyzed this and can’t tell you. I always put my whole foot down when I go up and down the stairs so I’m thinking I twitched and disaster struck. Either that or I’m getting older and it’s part and parcel of the whole “crap, I’m old” gig. I can’t be sure.
The largeness of my rump was a blessing last night. God, in his wisdom, gave me a big ass to fall on (not that this hasn’t prevented me from fracturing my coccyx in the past.) I was grateful for this last night as I drifted to sleep: “Thank you, God, for your blessings…big, fat, round ass included.”
At 5 a.m. the phone rang; it’s a snow day! Yes, somehow we managed to get a significant amount of snow overnight and I am home with J all day…and moving slowly…very slowly.
I TOLD you God has a sense of humor… 😀