Went to Legoland Discovery last Saturday.
With a 7, 4 and 2 year old, an open-plan free-for-all of exciting looking rides, activities, pods and corridors, a crowd of thousands, a constant roar of noise and a dad with Aspergers, it was never going to be a relaxing day...
But, the kids were having great fun. We were enduring. And we were together as a family, and all getting on. Things were looking good. But then Ethan lost Oliver.
When I asked what he was doing to allow Oliver to escape he, quite surprisingly (because he doesn't like to admit mistakes), said he was 'just staring'. But quickly followed this up with 'Ava was supposed to be looking after him. Ava - why didn't you stay with him?' Which makes my blood boil. Heaping the responsibility and blame onto a 7-year-old rather than take responsibility himself.
This is where I really struggle with Ethan's Asperger's. Keeping the kids safe is quite important. Me being able to trust Ethan to meet his responsibilities as a dad and watch his son for a few minutes without zoning out is quite important. Because I can't be responsible for all three of them all the time while he 'just stares'.
And, I know, some people would say that, in that environment of noise, chaos, people, activities - basically sensory overload, that telling someone with Asperger's to focus on one thing and be on the ball is like telling someone in a wheelchair to run after a toddler. But, from my perspective, I need Ethan to be able to do those basic things that other dads naturally do. I don't want to always be the one that's engaged - socially and practically, to keep our kids safe and happy. I need to switch off from time to time too, even just for a few minutes.
Because isn't marriage supposed to be about partnership. Being a team. Bringing kids up together....
We found Oliver after a few minutes. Actually, Ethan found him. And Ethan also found our older son, Sam, when I failed to (hypocritically, I'd let Sam go off and play in the soft play area and failed to keep track of where he was - but mainly because I was trying to keep up with Oliver). And Ethan tried really hard to stay focused and engaged after that. But it took an outburst from me, and stares from the people around us, to get to that point.
It kind of takes the romance and zest out of a relationship when you're having to tell your husband off all the time and feeling frustrated so often.
On the other hand, he can be the sweetest, most considerate, most supportive, most dedicated, most loyal person ever. And I know I'm not the easiest person to have a relationship with either. Being often highly strung, far too critical and easily grumpy. And Ethan's really handy for jobs like sorting out the insurance on the car and playing with the hamster with the kids (I still don't completely trust those long yellow teeth of his - the hamster's, not Ethan's!)
I love him. He's just massively frustrating. We'll keep muddling through, I guess.