Navigating the Inbetween

Bike trail bike ride on a day of grey skiesAfter Saturday ending on a firework-y note, we stayed around home on Sunday. 

The weather cooperated in this effort as it started to rain, quite heavily, in the morning. Charlie slept in till around 9am and was, understandably, tense and troubled-looking. Opening the door to reveal water gushing down from the sky did not exactly help. We left the door open so it was clear why a bike ride would have to wait. After a few minutes, Charlie went to get something to eat in the kitchen. When we heard the rain lessening, I went out and saw a patch of the palest blue far off up in the sky, where the clouds seemed to be thinning out. A check some minutes later showed a very, very (but definitely present) glimmer of sunshine. Charlie's face became visibly relieved when I said 'helmet' and he put his on, and I went out to get the bikes. He and Jim were off some minutes afterwards. I could see Charlie smiling as they rode down the street but he moaned intermittently during the ride. 

He was such a trooper during the hot hot days from earlier this month (from just last week). Sunday it was cool and Charlie was still going through the lag of a tough night. I reflected on the many days when it'd been roasting outside and he rarely complained. As grueling as those 98 degree days (not to mention exercising in them) were, it was indeed so hot that things took on a rather simple cast: Work up a big ol' sweat, come inside and guzzle liquids and watermelon, stand around and enjoy the air-conditioning. Saturday night, with a storm (of the meteorological sort) on the horizon, was that most vexing of things for Charlie, a transitional period (with falling barometric pressure); an inbetween time.

After his bike ride, Charlie and I went to our old stand-by, McDonalds, and then came back home. He became as fretful using the computer as he had Saturday night and I interceded by writing '1 more video and done' on a piece of paper and placing it by him after reading it out. (Am thinking it might be helpful to start setting a timer when Charlie uses the computer, as he's become so agitated using it these past few days.) Charlie told me 'all done' and then went up to his room and napped — I think he really needed it after yesterday.

He woke after a little over an hour and, though the sky remained gray, we loaded up the bikes and drove out to the bike path Jim and Charlie did one extremely warm Monday back in July. Charlie put the bike helmets in the back of the car as I asked him and, after getting some air for the bike tires, off we went. As they were setting off on the trail, Jim turned to me and said 'It's cool'—talk about a contrast from the last time they did the trail. Charlie was already pedaling fast ahead of Jim down the path and he was steady all the way out and back (which is uphill).

We stopped for burritos for dinner. Twoman at the counter gave us extra chips and spoons. One more very brief and much more cheerful session at the computer and Charlie went to bed. He was out by 9pm.

He hadn't once asked to go to the ocean, though we've been doing that for both Saturday and Sunday for the past couple of weeks. It's not easy for him to regulate himself regarding what he likes. Being able to say that you like something but don't want it right now: That's a bit of a contradictory, possibly cognitive dissonance provoking thought. Too, I wonder if Charlie perhaps thinks, if he does not say 'yes' to something he has historically liked, what are the options?

Navigating the inbetween: I think it's a long-term challenge for Charlie, as trying to explain 'gray areas' to him using only as much language as he can handle is a big challenge for us. Would that there were more spots in the world like that bike path, covered in trees for shade and protection from showers and offering Charlie a straightforward, though winding and dusty, route. 

I guess we'll have to keep on doing what we can to make a way for Charlie, and to show him how he  can make his own too, one day.

Charlie and Jim at the start of the bike path

2 Responses to “Navigating the Inbetween”
  1. Louise says:

    Changing up the scenery seems like a great way to get in the bike rides but not making them too similar.
    Have you guys ever biked along the towpath on the Delaware and Raritan Canal? It’s shady and broad and there are many places to park to get the bikes out – in Millstone or Kingston, for instance.

  2. autismvox says:

    Jim’s thought of that; he and Charlie did a tiny stretch of it once years ago. Perhaps we’ll try it again.

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