Autism never takes a vacation (#54)
At 7.30am this morning Jim drove to the supermarket a half-hour away to buy several boxes of Van’s gluten-free frozen waffles, apple and berry flavors. Yesterday was a day of “too much,” as I posted from my phone last night: Too much! Swimmng as in ‘the kingfish’, relatiues visitng, shrimp, soda, sun. He talks all night, clear, a bit delirious, happy (posted 17 aug). Charlie’s grandparents and several great-uncles and -aunts, and some friends, came down to spend the afternoon eating take-out seafood and reminisce about their days at the shore. He ran up and down from the living room to the porch to the back bedroom; he twisted his fingers in a seashell mobile; he had a bad stomach-ache; he got several “drinks” of various diet sodas; he had plenty of shrimp, most of the fries, and chocolate frosting from a homemade cake; he swam 4 times and did all the tricks he performed in our pool as the Kingfish (#23) in the rising and ebbing ocean waves: 360-degree underwater flips, body-surfing on his back, diving head first into oncoming waves that got higher and higher as he ventured farther and farther out, Jim at his side.
And, after two grey days, Charlie got more than plenty of sun, so his face was glowing ruddy-red at night, he drooped on his favorite “Frog Hopper” ride, and he could not sleep. He woke screeching at 6am and came into our bed with his blue blanket, moaning; when it was clear Charlie would not go back to sleep, Jim hurried out for the waffles. Mixed in with all the good swimming have been some behavior squalls, as I wrote: Autism never takes a vacation. Charlie rides a long wave in. A behaviorsquall w. a telephone pole and his head, anxious suddenly. (posted 16 aug).
I suspect that Charlie had some kind of stomach trouble on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, on the way back from a fine swim, he hit his head on a telephone pole, the car, the shower stall, and the floor and we had a brief vision of a truncated vacation. More swimming soothed him through the rest of the day, and Wednesday was a perfect day of blue sky and sun. Charlie had an early morning tantrum calling vexedly “shopping cart sushi no sushi rice cake shopping cart.” We had gotten a pack of sushi for him a few days ago when we had ventured to the grocery store for waffles (only buying two and forgetting to look for rice cakes). Ever since when we had made a certain turn in the main road, Charlie has been saying “shopping cart sushi” and all though the behavior squalls (during which he called for his “favorite Japanese food” as I wrote in I love Mr. Sushi (#43)). It has been the return of the sushi monster, so Jim and I told Charlie “no more sushi” and that brought more squalls.
Jim returned an hour later this morning with six boxes of waffles. Charlie, after moping on my bed until 8am, became cheery and chatty: “Say ahhh! Doctor, I love you. Say buh, Barney, turn on Barney! Barney, BJ, Baby Bop! Turn on. Turn on Alphabert! Turn on Grandpa Grandma!” His swimming was flat-out beautiful: He puts his head right towards an oncoming waves, disappears under in the foam, resurfaces wiping salt water from his eyes and ducks under again.
On the beach in the past few days, Jim and I have seen some children “like Charlie.” Autism will always be with us, I thought this morning as I saw a mother and father holding hands with their “special” son in the waves. Autism never takes a vacation and I will never ask for a break from it, as long as Jim and I need to be standing together with Charlie as the waves wash in and out, and back again.