Two food obsessions of my aspergers husband collided this morning:
1) his obsession with the kids having enough milk-namely drinking all the milk in their cereal bowls.
2) his obsession with their bowls/plates having to be absolutely scraped clean of food before they can officially be declared 'finished'.
Ava, in particular, struggles against Ethan's regime - partly because of her age and the need to assert her own choices and partly because she isn't keen on milk. This morning, Ethan was in charge of breakfast. It took about three minutes for the whinging, shouting and all-out wailing to start. Ava didn't like the cereal Ethan had given her, then she didn't want to drink the milk (I'm with her-the slightly sweetened, mushy milk left in your bowl when you've finished your cereal is pretty unpleasant). Ethan, of course, was laying down the law and, when Ava stepped out of the kitchen to pop to the loo, he poured more milk into her bowl. Understandably she was incensed at the injustice of it all - hence the shouting and wailing. Which had the effect of Ethan telling her she'd lost her advent calendar for today. She came upstairs a sobbing, snotty mess to seek solace in me.
I've been trying really hard lately not to criticise Ethan in front of the kids - in fact, to lay off the criticism generally, but I couldn't keep quiet on this one. What made me extra infuriated was that Ethan missed out the bit about pouring extra milk in Ava's bowl in his account of what happened. I discovered this later from Ava. Apart from his obsession with the kids having enough milk (& they have plenty) Ethan's incredibly high requirement for bowls/plates to be spotless, meant that he considered Ava to be lying when she said she'd had her milk and there was still a trickle left in her bowl. His response to this and to the fact he didn't consider her to have had enough milk in the first place was to pour more in.
Having to step into tussles such as this one and sort out expectations, arguments and frustrations between the kids is one thing, but when my husband is part of the problem and has to receive the same treatment as the kids (being cross with him, explaining to him why what he's done has caused upset) it chips away at the husband/wife relationship we have. It's hard to feel attraction and respect for a man you've just had to tell off and whose actions dumbfound you at best, massively disappoint or anger you at worst.
There are times when he can be so lovely and so considerate but it does seem like these times are becoming more fleeting while the indulgences in his eccentricities and flares of anger and irritation are increasing in line with the kids growing older and pulling against us. Doesn't bode well for the next ten years...