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.
This is a great entry. Love it. I think I have all the over-sensitivity of an autistic person, if not (all of) the social challenges. I frequently get to a state of near freak out with the kids asking for things, and when I am trying to manage my internal state, I CANNOT handle people asking me one teeny question when I’m doing something else. We are all in a state of angst about school (it’s not a good thing in our house), so everybody is edgy. I can’t remember the trigger, but the other day I said to Jeff “I”m going to try flapping. I want to see if it helps.” (not being funny or mean, for real). Turns out flapping does nothing for me. Hiding in the bed with the door locked does.
Hand flapping and pacing go together for me. Sitting in the car flapping my hands does nothing for me, so I think it’s probably the pacing that does most of the work. And it kind of depends on the trigger. If noise, especially people talking to me, is the trigger, then pacing and flapping won’t work. In those cases I need to be alone in a quiet room, preferably curled up with something soft – could be blanket or dog. Hiding in bed with the door locked sounds like a great idea.
Now that I’m thinking about it, the pacing/flapping seems to go with needing to release the energy built up by whatever’s overwhelming me, where the quiet room is more for when I need soothing.
It’s weird thinking about this stuff in a new way. Good weird, though.
I just love that you gave a nod to Monty Python with your “wafer-thin” comment. Although in my head, I pronounced it “wahhhfer theeen.” Love to you, and prayers, as the chaos ensues. [note my extraneous commas]
I believe your commas to be perfectly placed and in the exact right number. And thank you for catching the reference. 🙂
Ok that Oxford comma being extra nonsense rubs me the wrong wy! WE NEED THE COMMA! Has no one read Eats Shoots and Leaves, the kid version? It makes a difference. Argh@
AMEN SISTA! I am all for the extra use of ink, and I stand by you. Bring back the Oxford Comma!!