You know that parenting superstition that if you think of a catastrophe, and if you say it out loud, then you prevent it from happening?
Here’s hoping that the following blog post has something like that effect. In this case, I’m hoping that bringing something to you, readers, will magically dispel the universe’s need for it to keep happening. In this case, we’re not really talking about a catastrophe, just Dar’s latest obsession. He has outgrown many of his previous fetishes, so maybe that will happen again soon. Trust me, this one can’t happen soon enough.
Dearest regular reader, do you recall the portion of last week’s entry where I said that Dar probably enjoys the car journey to and from a place like Oregon more than he enjoys, say, a total solar eclipse?
I may have been wrong. Dar may be consumed with desire to see the eclipse again. Or I may have been right. Dar may be consumed with desire to drive 1500 miles in four days, again.
Dar is obsessed with our car. Well, in his defense, he’ll accept either of our two cars. His place in his child car seat behind the passenger seat is roughly the same in either car. And Dar wants to be in that place. He does not want to be anywhere else. At. All. He makes grunting noises until I fasten his seat belt. And he closes his car door himself. That’s new. The entire obsession is new.
At first, I didn’t think this was so harmful. I would hang out with Dar in the parked car. He sat back there, contented. Every so often, he would touch my shoulder, perhaps wanting me to drive the car? There’s no command for “Drive this car” on his iPad/talker, and there’s not about to be one, either. (I sometimes have a moral dilemma about keeping a given icon off of his device because I don’t really want Dar to ever say it, like for example “candy.” In this case, no dilemma.) Mostly, he just sat there, occasionally fiddling with the roof light. If I brought him food or drink, he would generally eat it.
I began to bring out my laptop. Dar’s autism should not prevent me getting work done. Especially considering the wifi router from my house reaches out to where we park our cars. (Okay, I see you all lining up to park outside my house now.)
I could also take Dar on certain errands now, for example a nice 7:00am mission to Peet’s where Dar only has to run in for a minute.
However, problems emerged. For one thing, Dar needs to be taken to the bathroom twice every five hours, or so. Each visit became a struggle. For another thing, Dar is not my only kid. I also need to watch, and I also love to hang out with, my second child. His Mom is not always home. So I began to sit on the threshold of our front door, watching Dar in a locked car while also watching R do whatever craziness in our living room. Even though Dar was in shade, I cracked his windows when appropriate. But I didn’t love that. I wondered if any of the many pedestrian passersby would say something.
And then there’s going to bed, which has become a massive challenge in the last few nights. Screamapalooza.
You might ask, why let him into the car at all? Why not just lock the front door and not let him out? Sure. We do that. More screamapalooza.
Sometimes I think that “autism” is a diagnosis that Dar wouldn’t have received 50 years ago. He is clearly non-verbal and impaired (he’s not otherwise functional; he’s not Holly Hunter in The Piano), but maybe he’s not as “autistic” as some kids I meet.
But this car thing…this is as autistic as it gets. OCD to the MAX. It’s being obsessed with one specific thing to the exclusion of the rest of reality. And it’s not good, and it’s not fun.
Wifey wants to hide our cars by parking them in locations that Dar can’t see from our front door. That may be next, yeah. Until then, I’ve written a little rhyme. I have a feeling you’ll recognize the tune.
Twinkle, twinkle, little Dar
How you wonder in my car
Fetish-wise you’ve raised the bar
This obsession goes too far
Twinkle, twinkle, little Dar
How much farther, in the car?