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Bath Time · Thursday November 16, 2006 by Abbie

I was right last night. I read until my cows came home and fell asleep in the process. But Ram was too excited to go to sleep and even after the lights were off and I was fast asleep he was still talking to me. He couldn’t understand why I wasn’t answering him, and eventually started shouting at me to wake up!

Of course it is the other way around in the morning. I am wide awake and he is fast asleep. But I am not so cruel as to wake him by shouting at him! I find that letting him wake naturally is always the best otherwise he will end up getting up on the wrong side of the bed, a phrase which is very perplexing to an Aspie, as he can only get up on one side of the bed because the bed is against the wall!

We finished reading The Number Devil this morning and started discussing it before we got out of bed. I asked him how many unique handshakes there would be if he and his friends shook hands when we picked them up from the train station. He replied one. Because he would never shake hands with anyone!

Then I asked if I made one bun for the first person, two for the second, and so on until the fifth, how many would I have to make. He gave me the wrong answer, then suddenly said, ‘Oh sorry, I left you out!’

With answers like that, you can see how normal questions and answers that you would use in a school setting just wouldn’t work!

We were then trying to work out some factorials. I kept making a mistake so I got my calculator and left it with him in bed while I got dressed. A few minutes later he shouted with joy. He had found out that the biggest number that you could get the factorial for on my calculator was 69. Anything above resulted in an error message!

I think Father Christmas is going to have to put a better calculator in Ram’s Christmas stocking!

The excitement waiting to go to the station for his friends was almost too much for him. But not too much to hop from one end of the house to the other several times, alternating his foot each time! This is one of the exercises that we were given to help with his co-ordination. But if I asked him to hop he would refuse. I guess I should invite his friends over more often!

The excitement heightened when our friends got off the train. Ursula the mum, Banana and Sheepy (the children chose those different names to protect the innocent!) were tired but as soon as they got into the back of the car they got up to their old tricks. They were all trying to out do each other with witty sayings, taking things literally, and generally being very annoying. Luckily they would quiet down when asked, but it wouldn’t last long.

It is lovely to see two children, especially of the opposite sex, being so happy to see each other and really enjoying each other company. And they even let Sheepy, the younger brother, join in occasionally!

Never to miss an opportunity to educate, we had a lesson in etiquette over supper. The usual bottom burps came up and we explained to Sheepy, the youngest, that it was rude to be like Bart Simpson and say, ‘Wow, that was a good one!’ even if that was what Ram was doing. We were able to discuss the appropriate phrases to say, why we say them, and how different families say different things. The fact that Ram can explain to Sheepy what we should say makes me realise that it has all sunk in even if he doesn’t say it!

Then we went onto how to hold forks and knifes and use them for eating. Ram is still very awkward and chooses not to use cutlery, Sheepy is getting much better and Banana, being the oldest by a couple of months is getting very good.

Now, onto the bath. I gave up giving Ram baths many years ago. He had a full scale meltdown when he was four and I had to stop. There is a saying in our house, you have to pick your battles! I found that boys can be pretty much self cleaning. Mind you, we do go swimming once a week!

But puberty is looming. Because many children on the autistic spectrum find it difficult to cope with change, puberty being one change that you can’t avoid, we decided to start planning ahead. Last year on his birthday he started washing his hands every night. It took many months but now a year later it is automatic. So this year he will start having a bath once a month, then next year I am hoping to make it a bath once a month and washing at the sink once a week, then the following year a bath once a week and washing at the sink each day when not bathing, and so on. Hopefully before he starts to really smell he will be in a routine of keeping clean.

And as today is the night before his birthday, he chose now to have his bath! We had the usual discussion of displacement of water, and the usual jibe at me for displacing more water than him! But he also enjoyed playing with his old toys again. We talked about how he didn’t like getting out of the bath and why he had that awful meltdown all those years ago. I then went downstairs briefly to set the video, and when I went back up he was getting out and managed to dry himself enough to put some clothes back on! We will work on pulling the plug some other time!

He is now playing happily with Banana. Luckily she too has read The Number Devil so there is lots of talk about numbers. Hopefully before long we will be able to usher them all to the appropriate beds with the right mums and books. All three kids are having books read aloud to them, and all three books are different!

And because it was bath night Ram will smell even sweeter to his mum!

  1. In our house, we say it’s your birthday so you must have a bath. That way you are at least guaranteed one bath a year ;-)

    — June    Nov 17, 01:47 AM    #
  2. As June’s son – I sincerely disagree with June’s comment. I read a magazine while making splashing noises with my feet. I have been bath’free for over six years.

    — Tom    Nov 17, 03:05 PM    #
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