We Fart!

In my childhood visions of motherhood, I would come home to a clean house and happy children who would lovingly greet me with joyful hugs and kisses.  Yesterday, I came home and was greeted by Luke, who ran into the kitchen the moment I walked through the door and excitedly declared, “We FART!!”

Why yes, son, we do.  I am so happy that you have learned this exciting new concept.

This is just the latest in a string fun, new summertime discoveries:

After listening to his parents speak in church, he came to the sudden and quite vocal realization that, “We don’t pee in the freezer!”  (And, yes, he did try it.)

20170713_205600If he wants to get Mom’s attention, a sure fail method has always been to sample a variety of nonfood items.  This summer, however, Luke has kicked it up a notch above just rocks, dirt. and dried up manure.   Those are just so old school.  He knows that if you really want a reaction, you have to get creative!   Try some bird poop off the headstones during a visit to the cemetery on Memorial day.  A long, deep swig of teal acrylic paint (dumped into a cup for easier drinking) lacks creativity but sure generates a nice little Mommy tantrum.  Need a little protein?  How about a large, fresh, juicy slug from the raspberry patch? mmmmm!

I can honestly say that my childhood dream did not include having this conversation with my legitimately worried four-year-old daughter at bedtime:

“Are you sure about this, Mom?  Are you sure this toothbrush hasn’t been up Luke’s butt?”

“Yes, I’m sure, darling. I throw those toothbrushes away as soon as he brings them to me to smell.”

Ah, the real-life dreams of motherhood: dreams of those beautiful days when I am greeted only by the innocent and excited declaration that, “We fart!”




In Case You Ever Wondered . . .

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a bit of a Facebook junkie.  I love sharing bits of my life with family and friends I am unable to see or talk to regularly.  However, I have noticed that I often use Facebook as a vent for the frustrating days we have with Luke and seldom do I really share what a beautiful soul I have the honor to raise.  For example, Luke has developed a new attraction to cutting things up.  Here are a couple of pictures that I posted to Facebook:

Last week: my knitting cord cut and ripped out of the sweater I was working on, my earphones


Today’s casualties: my sweater, hours of work on a crochet project, charger cord, and his little brother’s prized Valentine box

I am so quick to share the aggravating moments, but often fail to share the sweet ones.  So, in an effort to counter all of my whining posts, I want to share this beautiful one.

Last Saturday was almost magical. Luke was a sheer delight to be with. He painted all the pieces to the wood tractor with very little support. He was so patient and even waited for one coat to dry before putting on a second coat. After all the pieces were painted, he used screws and a screwdriver to assemble it. All I did was start it through the hole. That project took a couple of hours and he was so attentive and excited about it.20170225_155444 After we finished, he found some pics of tractors we had printed out and spent the next few hours painting them. It was a beautiful and magical day – almost like a window opened to the sweet little boy trapped in a generally uncooperative body. 20170225_155332.jpgLest anyone ever think otherwise based on my frustrated posts, I adore my boy. I love him with all my heart and just yearn for more days like these!

Folks Who Get It

“Let go of my cart!  I said, LET GO!”  I heard the demand, but took several moments to register that it was aimed at my boy.  Luke sat in the back of my cart happily smashing her cart into ours as she vainly tried to pass us in the grocery store aisle.  I quickly moved his hand away, freeing her cart, as I registered the icy glare that said more than words ever could.

“I’m sorry; he’s autistic.  He doesn’t understand.” I offered up feebly.  The assaulted customer passed by like a cold wind.  My heart sank.

Behind her approached another shopper, momentarily distracted by jars of spaghetti sauce.  Luke saw his opportunity and lunged for her cart.  “You want my cart too, huh?” The second victim asked him playfully.  She squeezed my arm as she maneuvered past us.  “I have an autistic niece.  I get it.”

I have been the beneficiary of many simple acts of kindness from random strangers who “get it.”  Luke’s autism greatly affects his ability to control impulses and emotions, but these kind people see that Luke’s behavior is not an intentionally mean act directed at them, but the uncontrollable impulse of an autistic child.  They see that what looks like the nasty tantrum of a spoiled child is actually an autistic meltdown, and they know that once he is in a meltdown, no amount of parental discipline will change this behavior because this is not a behavior that he can control.

During what should have been a quick trip to Target for emergency diapers, Luke spotted an end cap of Oreo cookies, and we were done for.  Anxiety in the check-out line progressed to a full-on meltdown as we moved toward the door – minus the Oreos.  In the back of the red, plastic cart, Luke hit and kicked, screeched inconsolably, and banged his head over and over.  Considering both his safety and mine, I decided it would be best to let him cycle through the meltdown there in the cart rather than trying to remove his 90-pound flailing body.  Customers passing by shot sympathetic glances my way.  Several stopped to see if they could help.  An older cowboy suggested, “That boy could use a dose of good, old-fashioned discipline.”  Another gentleman walked by and slipped a Snickers bar into my hand.

“Thank you, but he can’t have candy.” I responded, thinking his intent was to bribe my boy out of his tantrum.

“You misunderstand,” he replied.  “This is for you.  It’s from another mom who just checked out.  She asked me to give it to you; thought you deserved it after going through this.”

Yes, some folks just get it.  They know that I am embarrassed and frustrated by my inability to control my son, but that I love him unconditionally.  They know that behind the mischief and misdeeds is a sweet, kind boy who wants to be loved and treated just like any other kid.  They know there is more to Luke than his autism shows.

Attack of the Luke Monster

“Um, Honey, you know he has a butcher knife to your neck right?”

I rolled my eyes in utter annoyance at my little monster’s new fascination with drawing blood then turned around and disarmed him of the extremely dull butcher knife he held across the back of my neck.

It was about 7:30 am, and already Luke had successfully drawn blood by stepping on the pile of glass shards he created by throwing my Pyrex bowls on the sidewalk.  After proudly showing me his bloody foot, he dragged me to the band-aid cupboard for a little doctor vs. patient wrestling match.  As I swept up the glass outside, he returned with a triumphant grin and a small trickle of blood running down his cheek from his eyelid.  He must have stashed a piece or two of glass for future blood draws.

I put on my very best, “your-not-gonna-get-a-reaction,” face and cleaned him up again.  No band-aid reward this time though.

I could almost see the words in Luke’s eyes, “Time for Round 2! That blood didn’t get Mom nearly excited enough.  Maybe a few toys in the fire on the stove top will do the trick.  That paper I caught on fire and ran through the kitchen with last night was a big hit; maybe I can repeat that one!”

Too bad; I got that look figured out last night.  My Ninja-Mommy reflexes kicked in just in time to save the plastic army tank from sure death by fire as it launched toward the pilot light.  Luke countered with a lunge to the flame, envelope in hand, determined to spark some sort of reaction.  This time he succeeded.  (That’s Mom:1, Luke:1, for those of you keeping score.)

Now it’s time to call in the big guns: DAD!  After a brief chase with the aforementioned knife, Dad quickly disarmed the pest, put him in timeout, put the weapon in the sink, and finished getting ready for work – entirely unimpressed with the attempted showdown.  Upon returning to the kitchen he observed the new attempt at Mom’s neck.

In the end, Mom got the better of him again.  It was all for naught as he just ended up in

Luke, on a more pleasantly entertaining morning, set up this bed in the wheelbarrow - complete with an extension cord from the house to his iPad.
Luke, on a more pleasantly entertaining morning, set up this bed in the wheelbarrow – complete with an extension cord from the house to his iPad.

timeout again, with Mom seated next to him to ensure that any attempt to escape would be futile.  Well, maybe he got his victory after all.  I think we’ll call it a draw.

After what I deem a hugely successful summer, Luke decided to throw some excitement into the mix for the last two weeks before school started.  A few adjustments to his medications and the manic side of him seems to have tamed again.  We have taken extra precautions to remove the nobs from the stove top whenever it is not in use.  He is now happily back in school and has more to occupy his brain than finding ways to excite mom, so life is returning to the typical state of Henderson-level normal.  Happy Days are here again!