That Was Awkward

I spent some time working on the new site today.  I don’t have a launch date yet, but I did get some advisors who will help keep it focused and positive.  I’m so delighted that they agreed.  I also got help on some wording I was struggling with.  I’m learning a lot about respectful ways of addressing people, varying views on issues of importance to me, and different varieties of sexual, and gender identity.  It’s good for lowering my anxiety when interacting with people.  As my confidence in these skills go up, my anxiety about putting my foot in my mouth or hurting someone by accident goes down.

I had an unexpected visitor earlier today, but it was one that doesn’t frazzle me.  It was the son of a woman I met at the VA.  He’s autistic too, and they used to spend time at my apartment, mostly playing video games.  He’s 12 now, and ran away from home.  He told me he wants to live with me instead of his mom.  I told him to relax, and that I’d play Skylanders with him after I finished something.  He sat down and started lining up my huge collection of Skylanders. He’s really good at setting it all up.  I texted his mom and told her where he was.  She was angry.

That’s why we don’t hang out anymore.  She yells at her kid and is angry most of the time.  The last time we hung out, she yelled at me.  That was the last straw.  I told her I don’t want to be her friend anymore.  She got angry and left.  I hadn’t seen her kid in a while, and I missed him.  We get along well.  He makes me laugh a lot.  He likes to do pranks.  Like when they came over to go swimming, he’d race us back to my apartment, and then lock us out.  It was funny, and it wasn’t as if he was doing something dangerous.  Just being silly and having fun.  But his mom would get so angry.  He would let us in, and I could tell he was disappointed that she didn’t play along even a little bit.

When he and I would play Lego Star Wars, and my character would get stuck, or if I got distracted, he would get frustrated because it meant his character had to stop and wait for me. The first time this happened, he had a cow over it.  But I just watched him lose it, and then I held up five fingers on one hand, and one finger on the other.  Then I told him he started out strong, but lost his steam about halfway through, and since he didn’t shed a single tear, I had to deduct two more points.  He stared at me for a second, then we both burst out laughing.  After that, anytime I frustrated him, he would tell me to hurry up before he had a level 9 or 10 tantrum, then we’d laugh.

It wasn’t a big deal.  I understand frustration, and how much more intense it is when you’re a child.  His behavior didn’t make me angry.  I don’t think he was used to an adult who didn’t yell at him for every little thing.  At one point, they were spending the night, and we were watching all the Alien movies.  I kept talking and pointing out funny stuff in the movie because I can’t handle scary movies.  I always notice mistakes like if they are wearing a white shirt in the beginning of a scene, and then suddenly it’s green, or something.  So I would talk to the TV, much to Miles’ amusement, telling them we know what they did, and they can’t pull a fast one with us, etc.  Just being silly.

Miles laughed for a while at my antics, and then I could tell that he was getting too excited, because I was too.  He started laughing loudly and slapping the floor.  The loud noise it made rattled me, so I covered my ears and started rocking.  I was doing self care, and everything was cool.  Miles was super happy, and having a good time.  Yes, he was loud, but he wasn’t hurting anyone or anything.  He would have naturally settled down when he expended some of his over-excitement.  Every kid I’ve met does this, and when I was a kid, I did this.  It’s one of the many ways kids show joy.  It’s awesome.  But his mom saw me covering my ears, and took it as her cue to start yelling at Miles.

At first, she told him to stop, and he did.  But it was like her anger was growing, and she just kept telling him that he needed to settle down, and stop being so loud, and how if his behavior continued this way he wouldn’t be allowed to spend time at my place anymore, etc.  She just kept going and going.  Miles had already stopped.  There was no logical reason for her to keep yelling at him.  So I started laughing, because it was just so ridiculous.  Then I told her she’s like the Energizer Bunny.  She just keeps going and going and going.  Naturally, Miles joined me, and we said going and going together for a while.  It was fun, and funny.

In my view, we were diffusing a situation where his mom was overreacting.  In her view, I was encouraging Miles to act out.  We settled down after that and finished the movie.  Then I went to sleep in my bedroom, and they crashed on my sofa and on a blow up mattress in my living room. When I lay down in my bed, I was thinking it would be better if she would drop off Miles to hang out for a while, then pick him up and not talk to me.  I didn’t and still don’t understand why she was so angry with him all the time.  She clearly had no idea how a naughty 10-year-old behaves. Had she known some of the things me and my brother, Steve, did at that age, her head probably would have exploded.  Miles was and is a good kid.

His behavior is mild and typical for a child, especially one on the autism spectrum.  Children are loud, excitable, joyful, funny, and creative.  When you allow them some room to be a kid, they are so fun to be around.  But when you make them anxious and frustrated by yelling at them constantly, they let it build up until they can’t take it anymore.  And sometimes they demonstrate their exasperation by running away.  I told him I texted his mom so she wouldn’t worry about him. He didn’t respond.  I know he felt betrayed, but reality.

After a bit, he asked if he could come over after school next week.  I told him he’s welcome here, but only with his mom’s permission.  I told him if he came here without her permission I couldn’t hang out with him.  He asked why not, and threw my Xbox 360 controller.  But the way he threw it was funny.  He held it up, paused, looked for an acceptable place to throw it, then threw it.  It took everything I had not to laugh.  It landed on my sofa, and was undamaged.  Further proof that he’s a good kid.  I told him it’s the law, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  He said okay.

His mom came and buzzed my phone.  Miles answered and asked her to come upstairs.  Inside, I was thinking, “Nooooo”.  But I didn’t say anything.  Miles started putting all my Skylanders back where they belong, and turned off the console and TV.  He knows all the rules for my apartment. He feels comfortable here, which I think is good.  His mom knocked on the door, and I let her in. They sat on the sofa and talked for a bit.  I went to put a load of laundry into the dryer.  Then she said something about it was good to see me, I wasn’t listening.  I already told her I don’t like her, so I don’t know why was she talking to me.

She asked me if I wanted to go to IHOP.  I said no, thanks.  Then they left.  It was nice to see Miles.  My cat came out of hiding, and I went about working on the site.  It’s probably a good thing I’m not a mom.  I’m pretty sure I’m clueless about parenthood.