My son, Joshua, will be 15 in a few days and it made me think about how much he's grown in the past few years in spite of his Autism. There have been a lot of severe behaviors that we have had to overcome and he's had to learn everything from scratch. Where most children learn from observing others, he had to be taught. But out all the things we've survived, there is still one little behavior that sends me to the edge of my insanity--the simple conversation.
Here is a typical conversation with Joshua, who thinks he needs a chocolate chip cookie.
Joshua - "Mom, can I have a cookie?"
Mom - "Maybe after dinner."
Joshua - "Can I have a bunch?"
Mom - "No, you may have one or two."
Joshua - "Can I have more after that?"
Mom - "No, you may have one or two cookies after dinner."
Joshua - "But I want a bunch."
Mom - "Joshua, after you eat dinner, you may have two cookies, no more."
Joshua - "Can I have a bunch now?"
Mom - "No, after dinner."
Joshua - "So I can have a bunch after dinner?"
Mom - "No, that's not what I meant. I mean you can have two after dinner."
Joshua - "But not a bunch now?"
Mom - "No."
Joshua - "When's dinner?"
Mom - "In about an hour."
Joshua - "But I don't want to wait that long. Can't I have a bunch of cookies now and then have two after and then maybe a bunch after that?"
Mom - (getting as close as I can and making him look into my eyes) "NO, two cookies, after dinner."
Joshua - "So I can have two cookies after dinner, then."
Mom - (finally) "Yes."
Joshua - "Can I have them as soon as dinner is over."
Mom - "YES"
Joshua - "But I can definitely have them?"
Mom - "YES!!!"
Joshua - "As soon as dinner is over?"
Mom - (pulling hair out) "YES!!!!!!"
Joshua - (seems satisfied and walks out of room, then turns back and comes back in) "So you said I can have two cookies, right mom, that's what you said, right? Is that right?"
Mom - (AAAH! 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10) "Yes, sweetie."
Joshua - "Okay." (walks out of room)
Mom - (scrambles to hide before he comes back in the room...LOL)
You don't even want to know what the conversation sounds like if I tell him NO. UGH.