Beach Blanket Babylon (#599)

That is probably going to go down as my Most Randomest Title ever, but once it came into my head, it has stuck. (For the record, I have never seen the musical, but cannot forget seeing photos of former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello dancing with a Christmas tree in the Sunday entertainment ads.)
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And “beach” and “blanket” have a lot to do with each other in Autismland, or at least in the corner Charlie and Jim and I occupy. It was some years ago that my parents gave the big king-size polarfleece blanket to Jim and me. It became “daddy b’ue b’ankett” because Charlie had so often observed said blanket, in all of its blueness, with Daddy under it. Soon afterwards, Charlie appropriated the blanket for his own uses, which were initially of a highly sensory nature (he would often wrap himself in the blanket and walk around the house as if swathed in Merlin’s cloak, even on a 90 degree day) and has since become more of “I have to know where it is or the world, and I with it, will fall to pieces right now” kind of thing.

This indeed seemed close to happening two times today. Charlie’s face registered happiness for about 30 seconds when he got off the bus, then turned into a frown as he ran inside, first downstairs to see that the blanket was on the floor of our room. He draped it around his shoulders and went into the kitchen and looked under the sink at the garbage can, which was maybe a third full. ‘”Garbadge! Takeout garbadge,” said Charlie, with a worry-whine in his voice. I said that he could when it was all the way filled—-I do think that Charlie has connected his taking out the garbage with his knowing that his blanket will not go out in it, hence his requesting to take the garbage out multiple times a day.

Charlie cried out and hollered “bankett! bankett! bankett!”, and ran nervously through the house, blanket clutched close to his person. He calmed down a bit to look out the window for his ABA therapist and then threw game pieces and moaned through the first hour of his session—and then started grinning and talking more clearly during the second (some gluten-free pizza crust I found in the refrigerator helped).

Charlie bid the therapist a smiling “good-bye” and we went to pick up Jim at the train station and then out for Charlie’s Friday favorite, brown noodles. He has only been eating about half his bowl at the restaurant of late and asking to take home the rest—as if he is in a hurry to get back home to check on that blanket, which he called for as I was pouring his noodles into the take-out container, as we got into the car, and on and off on the ride home.

So what it is about this blue blanket to inspire, if not demand, such devotion?

I cannot say for sure but I have long thought that there is some connection between the big blue blanket and big blue bodies of water—the swimming pool, the ocean—-that Charlie has long found such sensory delight in; has long seemed to feel so at home in. Something about how the once-soft blue blanket—it has been washed numerous times—engulfs him just like the water that Charlie likes to sink down into and duck under, all that wet pressure enwrapping him.

So it seems something more than poetic justice—justice autism-style?—that Charlie ran into the house singing “The Rivers of Babylon,” and smiling, and ran to get a fork to finish his brown noodles.

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Comments
3 Responses to “Beach Blanket Babylon (#599)”
  1. mcewen says:

    We all have a comfort zone, it’s just that as adults we learn to present an acceptable outer shell – pity we can’t hang onto those elements of innocence rather than submit to being socialised.
    Best wishes

  2. MommyGuilt says:

    And what else could be better to be swathed in than polar fleece. What great sensory input! It’s so soft and warm and, well, for lack of a better word, snuggly.
    SmallBoy gets much of the same input from the layers of lycra that he climbs in at OT. The way it molds to him and hugs his body seems to give him that sensation of being all snug in the womb….from which, ironically, he emerged a month early. Go figure! 🙂
    Thanks, SO much, for your input for my friend. I know that Charlie and her Aidan are different and that you are ABA and she’s not, but I knew that you would have ideas and suggestions for her because you are, well, amazing!

  3. Clay says:

    I have long since lost possession of my pillow. Edith Rose always asks for “daddy’s pillow”. I have had to sleep with the “Barbie pillow” every since.
    I like the comparison of “daddy’s blue blanket” with the sea.

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