School here starts the day after Labor Day, September 2nd this year. Why Washington chooses to torture me in this way, I have no idea. I put the boys in camp for most of the summer, but that’s over now. This week is the first of two where they have nothing to do. Not nothing, they still have various therapies, but there’s this gaping hole in the schedule where school should be.

This summer seems different somehow. I think it’s because I’ve learned so much about my own autism. I know now that the reason I can no longer function by early evening is because I’m overstimulated. Because my children follow me around talking at me. All. Day. Long. They’re dysregulated, too, because none of us does well without a schedule. They’re anxious about starting school; particularly BamBam, who’s schedule this year will be new or different in almost every way imaginable.

He’ll be in a new school where he knows almost no one. He’ll be walking instead of riding the bus. He’ll have school on Wednesdays and on Monday afternoons. He hasn’t quite figured out what that means and he’s not going to be a happy camper when he does. Speech will move to Thursdays after school. OT will move to Fridays after school and we’re adding an hour of yoga to that. ABA with H will move from Wednesday to Monday and the Tuesday session with her will also include our program manager. And we’ll be adding a play group on Saturdays. Poor guy won’t know whether he’s coming or going.

So we’ve all got some fraying of nerves going on. I’m pretty sure my nervous system looks like a troll doll exploded in it. That’s what it feels like, anyway. I’ve narrowly avoided two of my own meltdowns already this week. I can’t remember the last time I had one. That’s probably because I didn’t realize I had actual meltdowns until I was pacing around my garage flapping my hands and trying to take deep breaths on Monday. I was suddenly like, “Hey, this is a meltdown. I’m having a meltdown.” It was bewilderingly familiar and utterly new all at the same time.

The second one (almost) happened today over the stupidest thing. Well, the stupid thing wasn’t the real cause, it was just the wafer thin morsel that tipped me over the edge of regulation. But it infuriates me that such a stupid thing can affect me so much. It was an argument with a total stranger on a friend’s facebook page. About…wait for it…commas.

The Oxford comma, specifically. That’s the one that comes at the end of a list before the conjunction. Some douche bag writing rules for a style manual decided that comma was extraneous and abolished it. I would like to hop in the TARDIS and slap that DB upside the head because that comma is necessary for clarity and I don’t see any benefit to getting rid of it. Was the comma taking up too much space on the page? Was there a shortage of ink in the nineties that conserving commas could remedy?

In general, autistic people don’t like it when you change perfectly good rules for no reason.

The stranger on facebook acknowledged that both styles are technically correct. Fine, true enough. But then she went on to state that we can avoid this ambiguity “by other means besides the extra comma.” Consider my shit lost. Because, sure, we could rewrite the sentence so that it doesn’t use any commas at all…or we could just make it clear in the first place by using the Oxford comma. Either way, it doesn’t work when you leave off the “extra” comma that’s not really extra, but necessary for clarity.

Rather than escalating the argument by posting my rebuttal on the thread, I sent it in a private message to my friend. And took some really deep breaths. And I may have flapped my hands a little bit. Still, I’m putting this one in the win column for self-regulation. 

Even if all the noise that came before did the majority of the work, I still can’t believe an argument over grammar nearly caused me to lose my shit.