|SG mowing - something we haven't had to do for a while, due to the drought. This picture is a couple months old.|
Some days I despair of Safety Guy developing the self-awareness to enable him to deal with other people in a reasonable fashion. I'm not after perfection (good grief, none of us are perfect), but some days I wonder when (not if) someone will clock him for his confrontational comments or rudeness. But, there are other times (not days, more like moments) where he shows a flash of awareness that gives me hope. I've seen more flashes of that self-awareness lately. A comment yesterday that he could tell his sister was in a bad mood, and he didn't say anything to get her more wound up. A remark last night that "those of us with Aspergers" find some social things hard to handle. (It's rare that he applies the Aspie label to himself in conversation.) The hug he gave me last week, out of the blue.
I'm struggling a little with his teen years so far. He's so close to being a young adult, yet so far away from having the social skills he'll need for the long run. He's acquiring those skills at a somewhat slower pace than other boys his age, but mostly within the lower range of the variation I've seen in boys in his age group. Working in the school has done this for me: I've got a much better handle on what is "normal" for his age, and what I can expect as he gets older.
I'm grateful that he'll talk to me about personal stuff, emotional stuff, relationship stuff. I try to give him good advice, and use stories from my own life to help him get his mind around social situations. His father does the same thing with him. Social stories, indeed. Although we have to self-censor a bit, since he has a sharp memory for details, and enjoys bringing up old stories to discuss them again. Don't tell him a story about an incident in your life that you don't want repeated in public someday!
We talk a lot, especially later in the evening. I can almost set my watch by Safety Guy. As soon as his sister is in bed, he'll come down and start talking to me about whatever is on his mind. Could be his latest interests (this week it's a show called "Solved: Extreme Forensics," and also an old favorite, "Top Gear"). Could be something he's nervous about (lately it's going back to school, which doesn't happen for another 6 weeks or so, but he's already starting to perseverate on it). It may be something exciting coming up (a visit with my youngest sister and her family, where he'll get to see his newest cousin for the first time, is on his mind a lot now). We talk and talk and talk. I'm glad he doesn't shut us out of his life, and we've gotten used to how he often wears his emotions and thoughts on his sleeve.
Oh Lord, give us wisdom! Safety Guy is going to need a lot more than we have on hand for the next decade or so. The Princess, too, needs a lot of understanding. There are days I despair of HER self-awareness too. The tween years and the teen years are going to be a rough ride with her, I think. Heaven help us all.