Was reflecting, whilst Ava sat smiling and compliant as the hairdresser pulled and tugged and even straightened her hair (the shrieks and shouts would be audible halfway down the street if I tried to do the same thing at home!) about how great Ethan has been lately.
He's been the one defusing my irrational and emotionally-charged behaviour. He's come home from 8 hours of social demands at work and has, most of the time, kept up the effort at home with me and the kids. He's been out for lunch with other dads twice in one week and, amazingly, both meetings were instigated by him! And, in response to Ava's confiding in me that she wishes 'our dad' was fun and jolly like other dads and not grumpy and miserable, he's made a concerted effort to high-five the boys, play zombie tig on the trampoline and generally jolly himself up. Seeing him traipsing around the trampoline, eyes closed, arms out trying to catch the kids who were squealing with delight was a genuine pleasure.
It's not all laughs and loveliness though...yesterday his irritability levels instantly shot up when I mentioned that Sam's school shoes had been left somewhere, as yet undiscovered, at school. He instinctively barked out obvious, unhelpful and angry statements such as 'well they've got to be found' - a comment which I read as a telling off for me for not having found them yet (which, of course, I reacted to - I'm not quite at the point where I can put aggressively-charged comments like that down to his Aspergers and let them go). He went on to argue that the shoes needed to be found not just for Sam but also so that the (clapped-out, scuffed-up, ground-down) shoes could be passed onto Oliver in two years time.
That made me mad too.
He expects us all to scrimp and save and make-do but thinks nothing of spending £280 on wood for 'work' surfaces in his shed, £400 for a newer, bigger, better, louder amp to replace the fairly new, good, loud amp he already has, and buying a £300 ipad that, one week earlier when it was brought up in discussion I'd absolutely voiced my disapproval and disagreement with-given that we already own 2x laptops, a PC, a DS and an iPod.
It's that old self-absorption rearing it's head again: expensive purchases for him are fine. Any kind of
purchases for anyone else are not.
Still, at least in two years time when Oliver resembles a street urchin at school in Sam's threadbare hand-me-down trousers and worn-away shoes, he'll have a jolly dad at home who likes to play zombie-tig, along with a plethora of electronic items to lose himself in.