Dar’s new thing is not being able to live without me and/or wifey, especially in the evenings.

He’s following us around the house more during the day, that’s for sure. I go upstairs to hit the head, I can almost be certain Dar will follow me. (In that particular scenario, I don’t mind, because I’m modeling behavior for him.) He tracks me around the halls, the garage, the laundry room.

Not all the time. Dar still spends a great deal of the day outside, tee-tee-tee-ing, watching the wind blow, playing on the swing, bouncing on the trampoline, and especially picking up dirt and smearing it all over everything.

Because of that last item, at some point during evenings, we need to put him in the bath. Which is actually kinda easy, because he loves a bath, as long as he doesn’t get water sprayed onto his head rolling into his eyes. If only Dar knew what “close your eyes” meant. We’ve tried.

But I digress. As I was saying, bathing him in the evening is easy, but after the bath, we really don’t want him to go outside again and get dirty again. So he’s stuck inside. At that point his favorite place is with us in the living room.

He seems to understand that I need at least a half-hour to put his brother down. That, Dar permits. The trouble starts when I’m done with his brother, when I roll into the living room at about 8:45. (By the way: I am so impressed with so many of you who have time for so many TV shows! Wifey and I have about an hour each night, from about 9 to 10. And sometimes not even that, because TV also cuts into our “us” time. Anyway, keep on watching that TV! I’m jealous.)

What I’m about to describe happens randomly during other times of the day, but it has become consistent during evenings in the living room after Dar’s brother is in bed. If wifey or I try to leave the living room, Dar screams! Not real loud, but a clear “Unnnnh!” of protest. Sometimes wifey or I will need something from another room (especially the kitchen, mmmmmmmm.) Dar screams. We can’t move!

Dar tends to fall asleep on the living room couch. Don’t ask. Oh, all right, fine, I’ll tell you. We used to take him to bed in his bedroom, or tell him to go to bed in his bedroom, but every time we do that, once he’s in bed with the door closed, he screams like a boiling tea kettle. It annoys us. It annoys our neighbors. It annoys cats three blocks away.

It’s easier just to let him fall asleep on the couch, then take him upstairs. Well, that is, it was easier. Now…he never seems to fall asleep like he used to. He sleeps with one eye open. He’s watching to see if one of us leaves the room. The moment I even start to start, his eyes pop open. It’s like a Warner Bros. cartoon but without the humor.

Most times, wifey and I sit there. When Dar is awake, we’re allowed to chat, but we’re not allowed to leave. We’re like characters in a family melodrama, e.g. The Color Purple, who are afraid to move until Mister lets us. Only our Mister is Dar.

It’s weird. But hey, it’s just another autism thing. Just remember to be happy your kid isn’t doing that. Woo hoo!