DC’s way of communicating is oftentimes mentioning a tiny detail that no one at the time found important (but it was important to him).
It is my job to go back in my memory to see if I can remember anything that might connect to what he is trying to tell me.
This one, turned out was not as difficult as some but it took some thinking and questioning. Knowing that too much questioning will shut him down, I had to do my questioning in limited doses.
Trust me….. no one called him a “jerk”. He made that connection all by himself – which is actually pretty impressive.
I posted this conversation on my facebook page in November:
DC was going over his Thanksgiving Weekend Schedule (as we have done daily over the last week).
He was very excited about everything we have planned.
While describing and jogging his memory of the Holiday Stroll from last year that we’d be attending again this year, DC jumped in with…
“I don’t want to be a jerk”
(I’ve never heard him use that word and I didn’t even know he knew the word until today)
Me: What do you mean?
DC: I’m sorry to the people.
Me: What people? When were you a jerk?
DC: At the fire. I’m sorry to the people – jerk like Gaston.
Me: Did someone say that to you?
DC: I’m sorry to the people at the fire.
He does not seem upset at all, just stating facts and still excited about the weekend.
This is going to take a lot of thinking to decipher. I think I have to concentrate on the times he’s been around a bonfire and work from there.#Communication
I will confess that I laughed for an entire day about the “jerk” comment.
Later, I asked him again about the “people at the fire”.
He said: I’m sorry to the people.
Me: What people?
DC: Fire……. Hurt Mom’s feelings.
I had a little glimmer of a memory.
I vaguely remembered that we had gone on the North Pole Express before going to the “Holiday Stroll”. By the time we arrived at the stroll, DC was a “little bit” agitated because …… Arrival Anxiety AND he wanted dinner. Even though we went directly to a restaurant, his agitation was already in full gear. I remember that he said something mean to me – I don’t even remember what it was, but as soon as he said it, he knew that he had hurt my feelings and the “apology tour” began.
This explained “Hurt Mom’s Feelings” but not the fire and “The People”. I was thinking that maybe there was a fireplace in the restaurant? But who were “the people”?
After thinking about it for a while, it all came back to me. He was talking about and combining two different incidents on the same night.
After we left the restaurant, we walked up the street and waited in line for the horse and carriage ride (it was a long wait). After the ride we continued on the stroll where he saw Santa outside of the ice cream store and next, outside of the bank, a musical trio of girls that could not have been more than 14 years old. We stopped to listen for a minute – only a minute because DC decided he would announce loudly, while blocking his ears (while standing only 10 feet from the girls) ……
“No! Stop Music! Want to Go. Stop Playing”
Yes, it was a long day, yes, I got it. I knew it was not about him not liking the way they were playing but I would have to assume that the girls would have no reason to think that it wasn’t about the way they were playing. And, yes there was a bonfire.
So listen, DC has autism and I understand his reactions BUT everything he does is not because of his autism. I know the difference between him having a hard time because of autism and him manipulating the situation to get what he wants.
We left that area and continued on our way down the sidewalk toward the green for the tree-lighting. I took that opportunity to explain to him that he acted rudely and those girls probably thought that he did not like their playing.
<Insert> Another “Apology Tour”
Having figured all of this out, I asked him where he heard the word “jerk” because I would have expected him to have said “rude” because that was the word I used at the time. Knowing that new words often come from movies that he’s seen, I was not all that surprised when he answered:
“A Christmas Story Live”
Not that “jerk” is a word I would have taught him, or would like him to continue using, BUT it is impressive that he took a word he heard in A Christmas Story Live, related it to Gaston from Beauty and the Beast and THEN related it to his own actions that night.
After laughing to myself all day, I did explain that he was not a “jerk” and that it was not really a nice word to use.
Now…… if anyone can help with this one, I would be eternally grateful: Snowvee, Miss Snap, Teacher, Good Time ….. Anyone?
This has been a Finish The Sentence Friday Free-For-All – “share a photo and the story behind it” post, or with a 2018 review, or anything else…… Free For All.