Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sometimes beauty, sometimes a punch in the face.

Some days there are beautiful moments where I am totally amazed and in awe of how my daughter perceives the world.  Like when she plays the piano and tells me that the song is purple with streaks of yellow and tastes like cherries.  (She has synesthesia a trait some aspies have.)  Sounds have color and also tastes.  I mean, can you imagine tasting your favorite song and having a color show to go along with?  It has to be incredible.
Then there are the moments where Aspergers punches me right in the face.  Tonight was one of those moments.  
It was bedtime, the routine is well known:
Brush Teeth ... wait, we didn't get there yet...back up

Brother is in the doorway, Sister wants to shut the door so that the cat doesn't eat the fish that are swimming merrily in the protection of the bedroom.  Sister shoves brother out of the way, maybe it was a gentle push, it doesn't matter.  Brother hits his back on the door frame and falls over crying.  Brother rarely cries, he is hypo-sensitive and doesn't feel pain like a typical kid.  He is hurting for sure.  Sister says sorry in a very brisk manner and head to the bathroom making funny sounds with her mouth as happy as a clam. 
This is not yet the part where I get punched in the face. 
Maybe she doesn't know he is hurt?  Maybe she didn't hear him crying? 

Me: "Your brother is crying."
Her: "I didn't mean to knock him over and I said I was sorry."
Meanwhile Brother is very upset and glaring at her, clearly feeling the lack of empathy.
Me: "Please look at your brother's face and say you are sorry and give him a hug."
Her: "sorry."  A quick flash of eye contact, a very plain, quick sorry, a fleeting hug with barely any closeness, followed by immediate whistling and back brushing her teeth.  After all, that is the next step of the routine.

Seeing my son hurting and bewildered by why she isn't rushing over and loving on him is the worst pain for me.  He is too young to understand why she does this. 

I can't fix it, I can train her like some sort of puppy to behave right but that instinct just isn't there and it kills me. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fairy takes the stage...

Recently our daughter was asked to be in a comedy skit with a couple college students for a Parent Night  at her school.  I was nervous for her but also excited as she had expressed interest in acting before.  It turns out that acting comes very naturally to her.  She was able to memorize, improv, and was totally hilarious.  Everyone had a fun night watching the show and my daughter totally lit up.  She is often a quite little mouse at school (so I am told by the staff,) but not on stage.  On stage she is bold, and strong, and joyful.  It was wonderful to see her this way and I knew we needed to make sure she had other opportunities for drama.
 As luck would have it, the place that she goes to for social group was having a play.  Not just any play, a Shakespeare play (one of her current special interests.)  We signed her up and the play isn't for months but she is LOVING it.  She was casts for two parts, one being a fairy.  Totally perfect for her.
It isn't just my daughter who makes a great actress.  As I have learned from Tony Attwood's book, and from talking to my husband that aspies act all the time.
 People with Aspergers often take the role of a person who they think would be most successful in the current social situation and "act" that character.   I was shocked when I realized that my husband did this, but it made sense.  He would go from being in a totally tired and solitary mood to being the most boisterous person in the room with a crowd of people around him.   He looks the part of a happy go lucky social butterfly when really he is deeply craving to go back into his solitude.  Not that he doesn't enjoy this time, but it tires him greatly.   He turns on an "act" of what people want in this situation and acting is tiring.  Not to mention constantly sizing up the mood of the crowd, am I too funny? not funny enough?  What does that face she is making mean?  All of this runs through the mind of an aspie while they are having a normal conversation.   It's no wonder that many of them choose acting as a career.  They have been practicing their entire lives for the role. 
I am glad my daughter has found something that makes her light up, something she is good at, and in the process I have discovered more about they people in my life that I love so dearly.