Out of the mouths of babes. Awesome verbal spew comes flying out of their tiny angelic little pieholes, especially when they’re mad. And when they’re autistic. When they’re autistic AND mad, just go ahead and give up. Of course, if you’re the spouse of the person the autistic, angry child is mad at, get your pencil ready because it’s going to be epic.
My husband and my daughter had done the “you can’t have that”/”why can’t I?” dance for about ten minutes and both of them were a little short on patience. Right up until my daughter ended it once and for all: “I can eat that later and you’re bald.” We had to make her repeat herself just to be sure that’s what we heard.
You know how when your child says something she shouldn’t say, the worst thing you can do is laugh? Because that just teaches them the behavior was acceptable? No one ever said I couldn’t give her a fist bump behind my bald husband’s back.
Well, that sealed his fate. Every time the man walks through the room, whether she’s angry or not, she feels compelled to point out his lack of hair. Before you get mad at me, I have to say: the man is actually bald. It’s not receding, he’s not thinning on top. He’s been bald since college and he even shaves what little hair he has left. So technically, she’s just practicing her language skills by stating things she observes around her. We’re supposed to be encouraging her experimentation with language, right? RIGHT?
The problem is this: she’s also not stupid. She’s not pointing it out because she’s trying to make a new sentence, she calling him Bald Guy because it bugs him. And because she can hold a grudge for weeks if you don’t let her have a BlowPop before dinner.
Things got ugly when she came home from school holding the new stapled-together book she had written and illustrated for reading class. It was called, “Baldilocks and the Three Hairs.” The teacher wants a conference with us. (By the way, I’ve read the book and given it five stars on GoodReads.com. Excellent plot development, although the characters don’t really give explanations for their actions.)
We all learned a valuable lesson from these recent events. My husband learned that, despite the autism, she really is just as pissed off as the next kid when you won’t let them eat candy. He also learned he should probably sleep with one eye open. My daughter learned the very fine art of muckraking, of solving your problems by writing ugly things about people and publishing them. I learned that I’d better not piss her off unless I want to be called Old School for my gray hair.