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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Distance makes the (Aspergers) heart fonder

Ethan's been away on a course for the past week.
I've genuinely missed him . It started out with me missing him for all the practical reasons - helping shoulder responsibility for three young kids from dawn 'til dusk, being able to leave two of the kids at home while I take the other one to his swimming lesson, etc. On the day that Oliver split his head open and I had to be in work, I really could have done with him being around.
However, as the week went on and I received tender, encouraging texts from him and he checked in with jolly phone calls to the kids, I started to miss him for other reasons. I looked forward to him coming home. He too, after a week of high sociability was looking forward to the sanctity of home. Except therein lay the problem: home is not the restful place with sweetly-playing cherubs that he'd built up in his mind while he was away.
When he got home, the first few hours were wonderful: he was involved and engaged with the kids and they, as a result, were pleased to see their dad and eager to please. I soaked in the luxury of not having to do bedtime and feeling part of a partnership again.
By the next day, his enthusiasm may have been waning slightly, but still he took the kids to the park whilst I caught up with work: all voluntarily and in good grace.
However, by the end of their excursion, his reserves of energy and engagement were definitely running dry. As teatime approached, the familiar irritation and aggression with the kids began to resurface. He was annoyed with Ava for talking too much. He snapped at the boys over the volume of their voices. And he sighed loudly at me when I came too close making a cup of tea while he was using the 'food preparation area'!

Reality bites. But maybe, Aspergers or not, we're all guilty of appreciating each other most from a distance!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Aspergers and eating all the ice-cream

It's the little things that tip you over the edge.
I've never lived with another man so I genuinely don't know whether this is normal man behaviour or whether it's his Aspergers but he does it ALL the time and it really, really infuriates me.
I bought a tub of Ben and Jerry's peanut butter ice cream the other day because it was on offer and because I, yes I, wanted it. For once, I didn't buy it because the kids like it or because I thought he might but for me. Three nights ago, on one of my two evenings off this week, I had about six spoonfuls. And it was delicious.
Tonight, I've just emptied the recycling to see the empty tub in there. Ethan has polished off the remains of the tub (which was nearly all of it) in a single sitting.
I know it's only ice-cream but it's the principle of the thing. I can't buy anything nice for a treat without him eating the lot before I can get my hands (or mouth) on it. Not only is it incredibly selfish (I wonder whether it even enters his head, whilst he's scoffing the entire tub, that I might actually like to have some of it, or whether the thought does occur to him but he eats it anyway. I'm not sure which is worse, and he doesn't seem able to tell me what his thought process is). But it also shows a complete lack of self-discipline and control. He's meant to be on a diet. He has me cooking him carbohydrate-free meals every evening. And then he eats about 1000 calories in one go because he's not able to regulate himself.

It's pathetic. It might seem a small matter but I'm sick of him stealing all my treats. He justifies it (in his mind) by buying me some more. But the damage, by then, is done - I feel completely disregarded. Plus we've had to buy the item twice (no wonder we're always skint). I just don't get it. I would never, ever eat an entire large tub of Ben and Jerry's because I consider myself in a partnership. I would consider half of it as belonging to Ethan. His selfishness in this regard is eye-watering.  

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Aspergers: Disturber of the peace

On this Remembrance Sunday, I'm reminded of how fragile peace and harmony is, at home as well as in the world.
I came home from church - having led a lego re-enactment with the 4 and 5-year olds of the Christmas Day Truce. Ethan had taken our kids on the Remembrance Day parade. I'm always a little nervous about what I'll find on the other side of the front door when I've been absent for a while, but all was well. Ava was muted and rendered immobile by the magic of the Movie star planet website and, amazingly, the boys were playing - animatedly, cooperatively and imaginatively - together in the front room. In the context of peace reigning in the house, Ethan and I were chatting amicably. It was, my friends, a scene of domestic bliss.
Until Ethan decided to investigate what game the boys were playing. Within seconds the feelings of well-being in at least 4 out of the 5 of us were destroyed.
"Who's thrown this?" boomed Ethan. Then, not pausing long enough to let the boys reply, "No. You're not playing in here. Get out. Now. Now,"
All this to the backdrop of the boys protesting their innocence and trying to tell Ethan that they hadn't thrown anything. But it was useless. He wouldn't, or couldn't, listen.
I know without having to ask that the issue at the forefront of Ethan's mind, that had been determinedly niggling at him the whole time the boys were playing in the front room, was that his widescreen, HD, flat-screen TV was in there. along with his very expensive stereo surround, extra base speakers.
So never mind that the boys, for once, were playing brilliantly together. That they, in fact, hadn't thrown anything and that we were all enjoying the peace, electronic pieces of equipment take precedence over family relationships every time.
I blew up, of course, about the fact he hadn't even bothered to find out whether the boys had thrown anything or not (they hadn't) and the fact he just didn't listen to them when they tried to tell him this. Sam ran to his room crying in frustration, Oliver was left at a loose end. And another all too brief moment of family harmony was, once more, lost forever.