Manners Aren’t Only an Allistic Problem

This post originally appeared on the Field Notes on Allistics Tumblr.

I am INCANDESCENT.

This post is not actually about the manners of my allistic children or husband (as incomprehensible as they often are).  No, this is about my normal daughter, Gracie, who has nevertheless managed to demonstrate the kind of appalling rudeness I typically expect only from allistic children.  And to her own brother!

To put it shortly (because I can’t write about it too long, I’ll frizzle), Al Jr. was sitting at the kitchen table after school, regaling us with a drawn-out tale involving every word uttered by his P.E. buddy, Joel.  At some point in this interminable tale, Gracie walked up to Al Jr., stuck her face right in his, and said loudly, “NO ONE CARES.”

Can you believe this?!  The intrusion into her brother’s physical space without his permission was rude enough, but to cut the poor child off mid-story?  Al Jr. LOVES being P.E. buddies with Joel.  In fact, I think it’s the only thing about school he does love.  And to stop him just when he was finally beginning to learn to tell stories in the proper format (the behavior of other people is not an appropriate topic, of course, but right now I’m happy he’s mastering long-form conversation), when Gracie doesn’t even have allism as an excuse!  The nerve of that child!  Al Jr.’s response was one of the most callously allistic I’ve seen yet: he said only “Oh.  Okay.  Can I have an apple?”  I think she set him back weeks in his affective therapy with that comment.

To be honest, I think Gracie is starting to feel the pressure of being the only normal child in the house.  She’s the youngest, which means she should take up a great deal more of my attention – but because both her siblings and her father are allistic, I often don’t have the undivided attention to give her that growing children need.  I feel terrible about this.

But it doesn’t change the rudeness of what Gracie did.  I’ve sentenced her to play catch with her brother in the backyard for half an hour a day for the next week.  She cried, like children do – I realize I’m taking her away from the 1:88 scale model of the Battle of Gallipoli she’s been working on for a month already – but she needs to learn manners.  Especially with her allistic siblings.

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