Sticky Fingers (#515)

Because you have no other choice.

That’s what motherhood in general, and life in Autismland in particular, teaches you.

Especially when faced with the sticky fingers that give this post its title, but also sticky situations as a whole: You’re in the store and, in the moment you were brushing your hair out of your eyes (it has gotten rather shaggy because you cannot seem to find time to get yourself a haircut), your child has opened, and is eating, a large carton of vanilla soy ice cream. You’re in a meeting with your school district (not even an IEP meeting) and you hear a Power That Be’s say words to the effect of “Of course we are not trying to shove Placement X down your throat.” You’ve passed the one hour mark of waiting in the waiting room and—having forgotten a snack, a change of clothing, a toy your child might like to play with, Kleenex, and to charge your cell phone—more than one person is on the verge of An Explosion.

None of those situations happened today, but they certainly have in the past. I cannot say that I always did the right thing, I know I did not always say the right thing, either to the Power That Be’s or even to Charlie enduring the wait in the waiting room. I am not sure that I did my best; I simply tried to get Charlie or myself or the three of us unstuck from whatever mess we had found ourselves in. What I have learned is not how to avoid sticky moments—Charlie was peaceful-easy getting on the bus today but the groggy grumpiness lurks—-but how to carry on, no matter what new mess we have stepped into, ignoring the stick and keeping my eyes on the goal (which, in many cases, is simply to get us all home in one piece, more or less).

After more of a bumpy-throwing-anxious week than we have had for awhile, Charlie had a very nice Friday. He got off the bus peacefully and waiting, laughing, in the driveway for his ABA therapists to arrive. We met Jim at the train station to go into New York and Charlie was ebullient just to be there in the glow of softly lit Christmas decorations (“I thought we had to get through Thanksgiving first,” said Jim; “It’s a dress rehearsal for Christmas,” I offered; Charlie found his way to the sushi case) and “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.” We went to Jim’s office where Charlie made himself quite at home, taking off his shoes and socks and lying down on his stomach, arms to the side, on a couch. Before boarding the train home, we stopped at a newstand and Charlie pushed a pack of M & M’s onto the counter—these being made of milk chocolate, he is allergic to them, and I suggested alternatives, including Starburst, and Charlie enjoyed opening the little wax-paper wrapped cubes after I showed him how and slowly sucked them on the train ride home. The train was crowded and Jim found a seat in the row in front of us; I glanced idly at the magazine the man next to me was reading.

“Restroom’s down there,” said the conductor to another passenger. Charlie had four Starbursts to go, and his fingers were red and, yes, sticky. It then became apparent that we needed to heed the conductor’s directions and, as the train rocked and grunted, Charlie and I made our way down the aisle.

Our timing was great but the upkeep of New Jersey transit restrooms being as it is, I said to Jim, after settling Charlie back in his seat with the four Starburst, “I need the diet Coke.”

Not for the caffeine, mind you, as random passengers may have noted when they saw me pouring diet Coke on my fingers (they were something more than sticky).

Back at home, Charlie had a happy hot shower and then was so tired he did not even put on his pajamas, but went straight into his room and lay down on the bed. I pulled Daddy’s blue blanket around him and turned out the lights. I went up the stairs and Jim said to me, “Were you washing your hands with the diet Coke?” whereupon I replied, “The sink on the train had no water” (neither did anything else, actually).

I recalled the conversation Jim and I had had as we walked off the train. “I’ve learned a lot from motherhood,” I had said, to which Jim responded, “I have too.”


5 Responses to “Sticky Fingers (#515)”
  1. melanie says:

    I too, have used diet coke to wash things off, I also in desperation. have used regular coke!

  2. Julia says:

    I try to carry a bottle of water on expeditions where I don’t know what water supplies will be like, and individually-wrapped moist towlettes in my purse (usually have 2 or 3 there for “just in case”). The moist towlettes are lifesavers some days!

  3. Yet another item I always remember after the fact!

  4. KC'sMommy says:

    Improvise, in our house we live by that word I swear, lol.

    Maybe Charlie is feeling a little under the weather this week? Lots of kiddos are coming down with the sickies 😦

  5. kyra says:

    yes! i think that’s it in a nutshell: improvise!

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