It happened a few weeks ago…..
DC wanted to make pizza. “Making” pizza means opening a ready-made crust, adding sauce, ‘sparkling’ cheese (Veggie grated cheese), garlic powder (because he is obsessed with garlic) and pepperoni.
We do this often and DC helps with quite a lot of it.
I had opened the crust and the sauce. DC spread the sauce around the top of the crust and sprinkled his garlic and cheese all over it. I got the pepperoni out of the refrigerator. It was already opened from the last time we made pizza. I buy the pepperoni already sliced in a bag, because I buy turkey pepperoni and I really haven’t seen it in any other form, and it is just easier.
We have about 4 feet of counter space to work on with almost 2 feet taken up by the microwave, so when I say that “I was right next to him”, I mean right next to him. Our arms were probably touching.
He was putting his pepperoni on his pizza and I was putting something in the microwave. I looked over and saw him with the scissors holding one of those anti-moisture packs (silica gel) over his pizza, ready to cut it open and sprinkle it over his pizza. It must have been in the pepperoni pack.
You know, those packs that say “Do Not Eat” and “Throw Away”? Yes, those.
I have read up on them more since this incident and have found out that they are not poisonous and probably will not hurt you unless eaten in large quantities, but the fact remains that the “Do Not Eat” and “This is not food – Throw Away”, would lead one to believe that they are poisonous and harmful. I have always believed that to be the case, so much so that I have talked to DC about them before. They are always in his juice mix. I usually get to them before he finds them but I have talked to him about them many times. Finding one in his pepperoni did make a connection in his mind to the discussions about the packs in his juice mix. It is two different things. We talked about juice, not pepperoni. **
That day (still believing that they were dangerous) I was beside myself. I went over it and over it with him. He laughed at first but when I burst into tears I think he understood that this was serious (but not understanding why) and am pretty confident that he will not touch one of those again.
It haunted me for weeks… finding out that they were not dangerous as I had always believed did not make me feel any better. He was ready to eat some strange thing. He did not know what it was but he was ready to eat it anyway (How does that even happen when there is such a limited number of foods that he WILL eat?).
DC does not just “pick up” on information (see: A Chair is Still a Chair) he has to be taught – he has to be shown. After the teaching and the showing; if he still does not understand, I have to resort to making a rule.
I resort to “rules” when I know something is beyond his grasp. (Oh! The rules I have had to make!). Please don’t tell me that I am not giving him enough credit. I try and try to explain in many, many different ways and I do not give up even after the rule is made, but his safety has to come first.
He knows what rules are.
He follows rules.
He does not have to understand the rule – it’s a rule so he follows it.
Many times, rules are the only way I can keep him safe.
He follows rules; that is a good thing.
The downside of this is that – he follows….
If someone with not the best intentions were to tell him to do something – he would. He is following directions and aren’t we supposed to follow directions? Isn’t that what he was taught to do? If someone tells you to do something, you do it – right?
There are no gray areas.
I remember being at a relative’s house when DC was little. He was sitting on the floor and had gotten hold of a plastic bag. When I took the bag away from him a family member said “He’s not going to put it on his head and suffocate right in front of us, you know.” Yes, I did know that but if he was going to learn not to play with plastic bags then I couldn’t let him play with plastic bags. Period. There is not a “sometimes you can” category It is either you can or you can’t, with DC and the rule was “he couldn’t”.
I cannot teach him to follow my rules but not to follow other’s rules.
I cannot give him a list of whose rules he should follow – teachers, his boss, his staff, police, etc. because there will always be something that comes up that strays from that list.
DC knew I was very upset about the pizza incident but again… he did not understand why. Very often, he does not understand things unless they happen. When I told him that he could have gotten very sick, it did not mean a lot to him. Sick means a cold, sick means the flu, sick means a ‘heady-ache’ and nothing more serious than that.
He looks both ways when crossing the street but I do not always believe he is really LOOKING at anything. Most times he is just going through the motions, which is why he never crosses the street alone. He does not understand what can really happen if he were to be hit by a car or if he was involved in any other sort of accident. He does not understand unless it happens and as I do not want any of these things to happen, I have to just keep finding different ways to explain safety to him and making rules.
There was this one time that DC (before he had his own laptop) was eating in the kitchen watching something on my computer, which was on the other side of the table. I was 10 feet away in the living room. I heard him get up quickly and I knew something was wrong. He was choking. But he did not jump out of his chair to come to get me. He jumped out of his chair to run to the other side of the kitchen to pause the movie BEFORE he came to get me! (I came running when I heard him jump up, but the fact of the matter was that he was more concerned about his movie than choking. He knew something was wrong and he was panicked but his movie came first.). If he hadn’t been able to get whatever was lodged in his throat up by himself, would he not let me help until his movie was paused? I honestly do not know.
He just cannot understand the “why” of things.
Why should he get help before pausing his movie?
Why can’t he walk into the road?
Why can’t he eat the moisture pack?
Why can’t he talk to strangers? And what IS a stranger?
Someone he doesn’t know?
——-Why can he say hello to all of the people he doesn’t know when we walk on the trail? Aren’t they strangers?
Why can’t he stick the knife or a fork in the toaster?
Why can’t he put his hand on the stove when it’s on?
Why can’t he run with scissors, play with knives, stick things into electrical outlets?
But there is no way on earth that I can come up with every single thing that might happen or could be dangerous. If he understood the “why” of things it might be easier for him to see the danger in some things without having to have everything explained to him.
So I have to keep him close to me and hope that when he is out of my eye shot, the people who are charged with keeping him safe will keep him just as close.
But then again, in this case…. he was right next to me….
**Please do not take this post as a be all end all about moisture packs being safe. I looked into it and that is what I found, BUT I am sure there are exceptions. Always call poison control or seek medical advice if they happen to be ingested.**