I've discovered that it's impossible for me to off-load light-heartedly with Ethan about the kids, situations - or anything really.
What evolves, with other people, into good-natured but exasperated exchanges of frustration, with Ethan becomes unsatisfying at best, negative and dark at worst. When I vent humorously with Ethan about the kids, he completely misses the humour bit. He sees it as me dumping negative emotion and experiences onto him, causing him to glare at me or walk away. Or he sees it as a requirement from me for him to resolve the issue and starts proposing very practical solutions. Never does he give the reaction I want and need which is to say, with a resigned but affectionate smile, 'Oh no, what a nightmare...how much is boarding school again?!' and give me a hug.
Maybe I'm expecting too much. Maybe other dads/husbands, even without Aspergers, also wouldn't banter jovially about the annoying behaviour of their kids. But other couples do seem to laugh, or at least have lighter moments, much more than we do.
Today, with the help of a little friend, the boys managed to spill an entire tub of white emulsion onto Sam's bedroom carpet. I spent an hour mopping up the worst of it before Ethan got home - surprised at the strength in my own arm muscles! What I'd like to say happened when Ethan came home to see a whitish coloured wet patch on Sam's carpet is for him to comment on the nice range of rugs they do in IKEA...that isn't the reaction I got. Rather, it involved lots of sighing, complaining, blame and gloomy predictions about how the carpet would go crusty when the wet patch dried. The only person he didn't blame was himself - for not removing the paint tin from Sam's room after he'd finished painting the windowsill - five months ago!
Off on holiday on Saturday - for two weeks. Bliss, I hope. Even with three exasperating kids and a humourless Aspie in tow!
Catch up when I'm back.