There are times when I hope my husband’s more frustrating traits are down to Asperger’s Syndrome and not anything else.
…like when I came downstairs this morning to find that our new puppy had pooed all over her bed, and both her blankets. The poo had gone inside the grooves of her cage and smeared onto the wall behind. I was alerted to this fact by my daughter, Ava, proclaiming that Maggie had ‘pooed everywhere’ whilst letting her out of her cage to run her pooey paws all over the house.
What has any of this to do with Ethan and his Asperger’s, you may ask?
It was Ethan that put the puppy to bed last night: without the waterproof mat that I’d placed on top of the cage ready to cover her bed. Instead he’d shoved both her newly-washed blankets inside her bed ready to be smeared with excrement so that we wouldn’t be able to use them the next day.
The kids ended up being late for school, I had to deal with far more poo before breakfast than anyone should have to face and Ethan whizzed himself off to work.
But it’s not just the dog’s bed missing its most important component, it’s the many other omissions, forgettings and just plain vacant moments that make me wonder whether anything at all is going on inside Ethan’s head. And that’s when I hope that it is Asperger’s to blame – rather than my husband just being thick.
The same day (yesterday), I was at work and took the time to text him an itinerary of what our various kids needed to be doing when. By the time I got home at 6.30pm, Ava and her friend should have been at youth club (itinerary instruction #1 ‘Ava and Jessie need to set off at 5.45pm for youth group to be there for 6pm’) and Sam and Ethan should have had their tea and be ready for the Cubs bike ride that was starting at 7pm. Instead what I was greeted with when I got home was Ava and her friend happily playing with the dog half an hour after their youth group had started and Sam and Oliver only just sitting down to their tea. I managed to get the girls out (late) to their club and Ethan and Sam to the bike ride – but they only had a drink and snack because I remembered the water bottles and biscuits that Ethan had forgotten and left by the front door. And Ethan came home freezing because he just walked out of the house in what he was wearing (which wasn’t much).
I asked what was happening (or not happening) in Ethan’s brain when he put the dog to bed and got ready to leave for the bike-ride last night and this is what I discovered:
<what I would be thinking>: ‘Right, I need to put Maggie to bed so she needs her bed in her cage. I’ll take the blanket out so it doesn’t get wee or poo on. And I need to put a mat in to soak up any wee or catch any poo. There we go, ah – isn’t she cute? Here, have a stroke.’
<what Ethan thought> ‘Right, I need to put Maggie to bed. So, grab the bed, put it in the cage, put her in cage.’
<what I would be thinking> ‘Right, I need to get to this bike ride. What do I need? I’ve got bikes and helmets, I need the drink and a snack. Do I need keys – no Laura will be in. Money? No. Jacket? It’s going to get colder, I’ll grab a hoodie.’
<what Ethan thought> ‘Right, I need to go.’
Maybe it’s just a man thing – but it can’t be a man-with-kids thing. With three kids in tow he just needs to think things through a bit more.
I’m going away this weekend and Ethan is responsible not only for looking after our kids for the weekend but also for getting Oliver to football, Ava to dancing, Oliver (later) to a party and Sam to his gym class! Maybe, with me totally out of the picture, he’ll rise to the challenge. And I need to keep giving him the opportunities (or, rather, forcing him to engage his brain) because the alternative is that I do everything all the time, which just leads to me getting resentful and bitter (even if it does mean everything gets done properly)!
Although I can’t rant too much – Ethan’s just whizzed the swimming kit down to school for Sam that I forgot to hand in this morning!