The perfect storm: aspie vs aspie
The scene was set for a proper aspie showdown, a chance for all those little niggles to grow and inflate until they're big enough to take over the house. I asked RT Teen to do something and he messed it up.
Now, if I had swapped those two sentences around, you may have looked at it and thought, 'What's the big deal? Teenagers mess up all the time?' Yes, I know, I am a mother of teenagers and I'm well aware they mess up a lot. As I'm also an aspie, I can't say too much about their messes when I create my own on a daily basis.
RT Teen and I usually get along very well together, both in our haze of aspie-ness, buffered from the real world by the belief that our inner lives are as important as the outer. Sometimes we crash up against each other (and sometimes that's literally, if we both rush for the same door), but usually we're happy to accept each other for who we are.
When we do collide, it's nearly always on a grand scale, often set off by me not watching how I say something so that RT takes an instant, no-return-policy kind of offence and flounces up the stairs, the house shaking around him. Or, sometimes, it's me who loses it...
I've done my best, readers. I try to not fly off the handle and fall foul of my aspie nature when I'm also being a mother. I admit my obsessive traits and irresponsible nature. I struggle to be as adult as possible for as long as I can, then hide in a corner and hope no one needs me until I recharge. But I am only human.
On this particular day, as with most dramas, it started quietly. We had the shopping delivered from Asda, my new way of saving money. Ordering online stops me going in all the time and wandering. It's like a magic trick, making my money go further just by keeping me away from the shop.
IT Teen had to call in at college, so we waited for the shopping then left, with me telling RT to put away the frozen and chilled food. Simple, right? (I can hear those who have parented teenagers sighing at this point).
While we were out, RT called me. I thought someone had died, honestly. He said, in the darkest, saddest, slowest of voices, 'Um, erm, oh...' dramatic pause, 'the mouse has completely broken. It won't work at all! Can you get one while you're out?'
Panic averted, IT and I went to find a mouse. Like anything IT buys, there has to be a prolonged investigation into the merits and geek value of any item, with some internet use to back it up. A triumph for modern parenting, I managed to come away with the cheapest one on the shelf.
Finally, after an hour and a quarter we came home. There, waiting to greet us, was the shopping. No, not all of it, he'd put away the orange juice. Yes, hmm. And the fish fingers. The rest of his time had been spent discovering the mouse had broken, then discovering if he pressed hard enough it did work and then doing his art on Gimp.
All this time, the shopping had sat in our summer-warm hallway, gently defrosting, warming or rotting, depending on its nature. I saw red.
There was commotion, involving flailing of arms, battle cries, much pointing at bags and IT (uncharacteristically) vanishing to his room. Tess left us to it and Rupert hid in his bed. The cats, ever hopeful, circled the bag of ex-fish we had been going to have for tea.
After much natural expression, RT started to put away what was left of the shopping. As he stocked the fridge, the new packet of mini pies fell out, opening on the way down and tumbling all over the floor. At this point, I saw ultraviolet. Before I could implode in the middle of the kitchen, I stalked off to the living room, saying, 'I'm going to be on my own for a while.'
As I hadn't said, 'leave me alone,' he followed me ten seconds later to say he'd put all the frozen and chilled away. Rupert started vibrating in his bed, expecting us to turn into fireworks again. This part of the fiasco was not helped by RT entering the self-pity stage earlier than was physically safe.
He wanted my sympathy as he'd had a bad few days where he kept forgetting things. He couldn't remember what he'd forgotten, but he knew he had and he was sad about it. You can imagine how sympathetic I was. There were a few more rockets going off then he retreated to his room.
I cooked our ex-fish for cat supper instead of ours, forgetting about it as it cooked and wondering what strange things they had on the barbeque next door. The cats were very glad of the fish and made me feel a little better about having to eat something else.
I then turned the fridge up as it seemed to have got a bit warm and I didn't want to lose even more food. After this, RT and I made friends, with him acknowledging responsibility for the cats' supper and me nit-picking over what I had done and said to see if I could have been any more patient (I could, but then I'd have been a Stepford mother).
There are two post scripts to this story. One is that IT and I won't be putting away any shopping for a very long time. The other is that I don't know which way is ON for the fridge temperature control. I had turned it down instead of up and was back at Asda yesterday morning, replacing yoghurts and the like, having fed our very, very happy cats on cooked pork and cheese.
It did work out in the end and we came back to our happy understanding, with barely a whiff of 'I told you so' from IT Teen (he knows when to shut up sometimes - who knew?) We also have very contented cats who are almost crazed when I come in with a shopping bag now. That's going to make life difficult for a while.
Other than that, it's all normal aspie stuff, I guess. The kind of thing you find hard to explain to other people but, at the time, you think to yourself, 'This is why life was never going to be boring'.
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