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Saturday, 9 February 2013

Aspergers and (not) home-made chicken

Argh, I hadn't anticipated how tricky it would be to write a daily blog post over a weekend!
Have just ushered my daughter off to dancing (why does the thought of doing anything requiring effort reduce a child into a whinging, whining mess, despite them always enjoying it when they get there?). The boys are watching TV (thank the Lord for Scooby Doo), Ethan (my husband) is cleaning the windows (now there's a benefit of having a husband with Aspergers - he likes things ordered and as they should be, which means he'll do something about the greasy child-sized hand prints on the windows). And I'm grabbing 10 minutes to write this blog.
That was a bit of a messy introduction (with the use of far too many brackets), but then that's probably quite an accurate reflection of life: messy and full of asides. Particularly when you're part of a chaotic family of 5 with a dad with Aspergers at the helm!
Last night was good. Ethan and I talked - for the first time for days (I mean, talking beyond 'Can you pick the kids up from school?' and 'What shall we have for tea?'). Once we'd got the griping and niggling at each other out of the way (a week's worth of little irritations that needed airing) we had quite a nice time. Although I found myself telling Ethan off more than once for sticking his arms up the opposite sides of his jumper sleeves and biting the sides of his nails. Just a few hours earlier I'd been telling our son off for biting his coat sleeves and picking his nails. The difference being that Sam is 4 years old. Anyway, I know I should be able to look past these quirky little traits of a 40-year-old man but, increasingly, I just can't. The scratching and biting and putting arms up sleeves really annoy me - and perhaps, I realise, it's because I'm looking out for them more. However, amongst a bit of  bickering and telling off, we enjoyed each other's company. I told Ethan about this blog - he's supportive but feels it's probably better he doesn't read it. I couldn't agree more! And then we used our 'dinner party ice breaker' cards to spark conversation. I discovered that Ethan used to collect key rings and that if he could run a shop that sold anything, he'd sell gadgets (no surprises there).
All in all a pretty good evening. Even if Ethan did say, on finishing the dinner that I'd lovingly prepared for us 'That was really nice, the chicken tasted home-made.'
Some of you may be wondering what the problem is with that statement, and maybe you could help me out here - because maybe I do over-react sometimes and maybe I should let more things go. But I took it as a subtle but definite criticism. The chicken was the one bleedin' part of the dinner that I hadn't made myself (thank you, Mr Waitrose). So Ethan had chosen to mention the one part of the dinner that he knew I hadn't made and make a comment about the fact that it wasn't home-made. Is it just me? Or would any other women out there feel a bit annoyed with that comment? He could have chosen to mention the honey-roasted carrots or the perfectly crispy home-made potato wedges (not meaning to blow my own trumpet here!) But he didn't. He made a comment about the chicken not being home-made.
He struggled to see why his comment was a problem. I struggled not to give up on the planned evening of conversation and read my book instead!
Maybe I need to accept the fact that he'll often say the wrong thing and just learn not to take it personally. I just struggle with the fact that he consciously chooses to say the wrong thing rather than any of the positive things he could say.
Anyway, time up. Scooby Doo has finished and the boys have started killing each other. True to form, Ethan is oblivious to it all in the kitchen. Probably deeply absorbed in a job, or his Iphone.

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