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Thursday, 2 January 2014

Aspergers and sweating the little things

Argh. It was all going so well. Ethan has been dragged from social event to social event over Christmas and the new year. And, when he wasn't in other people's houses, he was in our house with our three loud, chaotic, over-excited kids. And he's been a delight.
Until five minutes ago. Ethan can deal with big calamities such as the house being burgled or me crashing the car. But should an app on his iphone not work or the Internet connection not be running as fast as it should, or a syncing up of various technology in our house not be tip top, and he's like a bear with a sore head. His factory setting is to focus in on the problem, regardless of what else is happening around him, and not resurface until the issue is resolved - whether that takes an hour, a day, or a week. With kids (and a nagging wife) it's not so easy to do that so he reluctantly has to repeatedly surface from trying to sort out the problem. And each time he does, his irritation increases. So he carries out his responsibilities of going to work or taking the kids to soft play (as he's just done) or helping get the kids to bed - but he shouts and snaps his way through the process, with us only in body so that, in this instance, the quality time he could be having with his sons at soft play will instead be spent with him inwardly seething and, undoubtedly, on his iphone the whole time trying to sort out whatever the computer issue is. He won't tell me what the problem actually is - just keeps snapping at me to leave him alone.
And yes, I have offered to take the boys to soft play myself but he's fiercely determined to do what he said he would do (while I'm meant to be cleaning the house, going food shopping  and unpacking and repacking our bags for yet another 6 hour round trip down the motorway tomorrow).
I know that what he needs is for me and the kids to stay out of his way until he's fixed the problem and turned back into nice daddy/husband. But, like so many aspects of Aspergers, that luxury just isn't open to us in real life with three kids, responsibilities, dinner needing to be cooked, squabbles needing to be sorted, bags needing to be packed...I can't do it all on my own. And I resent having to try because, whatever the computer 'problem' is - everything's still running, we've got Internet - it can't be that important. I'm happy for him to use his own time, later, when I'll take the kids out and occupy them when they're home, to tinker and rant and fiddle with his gadgets, but not now - when he's meant to be focusing on his boys.
This post was meant to be about new year resolutions - for me and for him, to enable us to live better in a relationship and a family with Aspergers in the mix. But I've spent too long ranting myself! I'll have to save that for next time...
Happy bright new 2014 to all of you out there - whatever part Aspergers plays in your life. We're all unique, we're all amazing human beings and we've all got qualities about us that are fantastic as well as habits and instincts that we need to hone in on and take control over. We're all a work in progress and we all need to constantly top up our levels of grace, patience and understanding. Deep breath and on with the cleaning.

Happy New Year everyone. 

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