I live with Sheldon Cooper. It’s all very funny on TV, but in real life, the insane logic is only occasionally as amusing. Take this morning…
On arriving at the bus stop, the rather large and ungainly group of children began to gather for the bus as it pulled to a stop. Bean had been adequately fed (very important in coping ability) and had pulled out of the tailspin brought on by his birthday cake falling on the floor last night (it was a very bad night- anyone with an ASD kid knows how much fun it is when things don’t *go right*), and we had successfully completed the writing homework (always a head-banging nightmare) that had been torn up after school yesterday. Things were looking up.
Then the typical children did what typical children will do… they didn’t obey the order of the universe, and instead of lining up right, logically and orderly, they “clumped”. Standing close, I could see his color rise and his arms tense up, as he attempted, very briefly, to explain to the kids near him that they needed to line up and not get in a “clump”. Clumping is bad, clearly. Of course, no one listened to him. His face got redder and I could see him gritting his teeth, as another child jostled him in the “clump” and he started to vocalize. This, of course, makes the other kids turn around and look at him like he’s crazy. Awesome. In the space of 0.2 seconds, we now have a situation.
He runs into a clump of trees, and throws his backpack and water bottle. He’s purple faced with indignation that NO ONE IS DOING IT RIGHT!!! and he’s yelling. It’s fantastic. If the children would only behave logically, the world would continue to spin. Only, since this is not a 22 minutes sitcom, and all will not be resolved with laughter and an eyeroll, I lose my cool, grab him, and haul him back to our townhouse. (Abby got on the bus with the “clump” children just fine, thankyouverymuch)
He needs to reset. He glares at me, indignant frustration oozing from his red face and he keeps trying to tell me if “…everyone would just do what they’re supposed to do!!” I shhhhh him and go upstairs so we can both cool down. I get dressed and try to figure out what he needs. Here’s where Sheldon and the BBT help me… He needs logic. He needs to understand the math and science and logic behind behavior that makes no sense to him.
I go back downstairs and get a piece of paper and a crayon, and invite him to the table with me. Explaining what an “arial view” is, I draw our neighborhood and the bus stop, and the bus pulling up to the curb. I put in the trees and the sidewalk and our house. Using small hollow circles to represent children, and a solid colored-in circle to represent him, I draw him a diagram of how he wishes the children would line up at the bus, and then change the diagram to show the “clump”- then I illustrate, by moving the circles, how even though the “clump” looks illogical and disorderly, the children all still get on the bus through a series of small movement. I place his solid circle in the drawing and show him how if he follows Abby’s circle, he will still be able to board the bus, despite what looks like chaos to him.
Glory be and hallelujah, it worked. Thank you, Sheldon. Bean and I both thank you. Dear lord this parenting thing is hard. On a wing and a prayer. Thank you.
5 thoughts on “Bean: Living with Sheldon”
I am sympathetic to Bean about the clumping–one of the things I like about commuting in this area is that adults actually line up at the bus stop in the order they arrive and don’t crowd onto the bus, which feels like a small, orderly gift every time I experience it. (Crowding around, with its touching of strangers, makes me anxious too, Bean.) I once saw a television program about heavy traffic and how traffic jams and bottlenecks can be explained by physics, and yes, clumping is part of the problem. Blessings to you both.
Beautifully handled, you’re a good mama. My oldest boy wouldn’t talk when he was getting worked up about eating or not eating as the case may be. There were very few things that he would eat. As much as I felt bedraggled trying to get him to eat anything, being small barely showing up with a wink on the bottom of the growth chart, it was important, him not communicating vocally what he might tolerate, when worked up, for breakfast, lunch or dinner was making me crazy. An epiphany came that maybe if I drew pictures of the foods he liked he might be able to do that much, point to a picture even when agitated. I drew up a ”menu” and it worked most of the time. Thank heaven for kind glimpses into the workings of their minds.
These small moments of insight are such a gift, when we figure out how to cope. Good job, especially in a morning rush.
This story makes me think I am somewhat autistic myself. Why can’t people just do it right!
That solution was genius! Good job!
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