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Monday, 20 May 2013

Aspergers: battles over breakfast

We argue about the most ridiculous things.
This morning it was about what spoon Oliver, our three-year-old, should be eating his breakfast with.
I know I have a tendency to interfere/take over. And I probably should let more things go. But this morning we all needed to be out of the house by 08:30: Ethan to take the kids to school, and me to go to work. At 08.10, Oliver was still scooping 3 multi-grain shapes into his mouth at a time, balanced on a teaspoon.
I needed to hurry things up. He didn't want me to feed him. So I gave him a bigger spoon.
Ethan had a small but violent eruption: 'He was fine with the spoon he had. He'll never fit that spoon in his mouth,' (never mind that it's a child's spoon and Oliver uses it most mornings) 'Why do you always have to interfere?' This was followed by Ethan stomping out of the room muttering about me always having to be right.
He was right - about me always having to be right, and about me interfering - but not about the other things, which were the things that mattered most at that moment.
But, I've learnt not to take things to heart. And, if possible, I try not to verbally fight back. This time it wasn't possible...I was too wound up. I felt I just had to tell Ethan why he was wrong - that Oliver used that spoon all the time when I was in charge of breakfast. And that he was only getting a miniscule amount of cereal on the spoon that Ethan had given him (Ethan, of course, disagreed - although, if he works by logic, surely logic would tell him that a bigger spoon would mean more cereal in Oliver's mouth?!). I finished my speech by pointing out that, if I hadn't interfered, there was no way we'd all get out of the house by 08.30 (probably should have kept that last comment to myself - that was the one that caused Ethan to stomp out).
In the past, the bad feeling and resentment would have lingered all day. These days, I'm learning not to take these little spats too seriously. And not to dwell. And not to judge the validity of our entire relationship on a highly-strung, stressed-out, tired vent in a chaotic environment surrounded by demanding kids. Like children, Ethan and I have tantrums and, like children, we are best when we are distracted from our sulks.
By the time I got back from work today, everything was fine.
We're learning to live with each other. My next challenge is to stop interfering so much; to let Ethan do things his way - even if I think those ways are 'wrong'. I need to let him deal with the consequences of how he does things, cos that's how I've learnt. And I need to appreciate the fact that he tries. Perhaps, this morning, I should have thanked him for getting up before me on his day off, going downstairs and getting the boys started on their breakfast (and then swapped Oliver's spoon)!

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