There are times - the whole of yesterday being one of them - when I realise that, in equal measure (perhaps more so) Ethan could be writing a blog about how hard it is to live with me!
Yesterday we had a family day out. I spent most of the day jabbing verbally at Ethan. On the car journey there I had a go at him for getting overly irritated with a bad driver - hooting his horn and gesticulating rudely (one of the few times he does employ body language!). When we were there I had a go at him for being 'selfish' for not being willing to go in the haunted house with Sam for a second time (it was a bit - the point wasn't really whether he wanted to or not but the fact that Sam wanted him to, a point that seemed lost on him). When he gave the cone bit of his ice-cream to Oliver I told him he was lazy for not taking it to the bin. And when he got concerned about where Ava was, I criticised him for fussing.
I may have had a point on some of these things (his attitude towards other drivers over tiny things when he himself drives with absolutely no courtesy for anyone else at all really makes me mad) but, over the course of the day, I had done many things that could have warranted criticism or being called selfish. I'd been bossy and controlling, I'd been irritable, I'd stressed over things that didn't really matter. Through all of it, Ethan kept quiet.
Right at the end of the day, Oliver wanted his long-sleeved top on to go on a twisty, turny 'hang on for dear life' kind of a ride with me. On searching for the top, we realised that Ethan had taken it back to the car already. I had a go at Ethan (of course) and then looked for the car keys. I couldn't find them and blamed Ethan for losing them, stating that he had gone to the car last. I was convinced he had and proceeded to tell him, step-by-step, why I was right. He was convinced that I was the last one to have the keys and tried to explain to me calmly but firmly why he was right. I very quickly got really annoyed and louder and angrier, the kids backed away, other people at the place stared at us. I just went on and on about why I was right and why he was so annoying. I was horrible.
In the end, he walked away (we'd found the keys), went to the car and got the top for Oliver. When he got back, Oliver excitedly grabbed the top and pulled eagerly at my arm, pleading with me to come on the ride. Ignoring him, I picked up where I'd left off and continued ranting at Ethan about how wrong and annoying and infuriating he was. He told me how horrible I was to spend time with and Oliver gave up and went on the twisty, turny thing by himself. Ethan walked away. Seething, I cornered Oliver on the ride and asked him whether he'd gone to the car with daddy before or after the ice-cream (this was the crucial point in the argument about whether Ethan or I had gone to the car last). "We had an ice-cream after we came back from the car, mummy," said Oliver simply and innocently. Just the facts. And, in that instant, I realised that he - and Ethan - were right. I'd been the last one to go to the car. Which meant that, the whole time I'd been shouting at Ethan about him being wrong and unwilling to accept what I was saying, I'd been wrong and unwilling to accept what Ethan was saying.
I said sorry and Ethan was nice. He didn't give me a hard time or dwell on it or repeatedly bring it up. He accepted my apology and we moved on. That was it.
I can't help but think, if the boot was on the other foot, I'd be writing a blog entry about him right now - about how awful and impossible it is to live with a husband with Aspergers, how thoughtlessly he behaves in front of the kids and how long-suffering I am.
Some of the posts on the different-together facebook page lately are about Aspies being 'right' and I do recognise these traits in Ethan. The difference between him and me is that generally, he only insists he's right about something when he knows he is (so they tend to be practical or scientific issues) and he explains calmly (and persistently) why. I, on the other hand, insist I'm right often and impulsively (when quite often I'm not) and go about it passionately, emotionally and intensely.
We're not always the easier breed to live with!