Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Pittsburgh Zoo and PPQ Aquarium
Taken by me, 10/8/2011
"The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institute of Health, defines Asperger Syndrome as a developmental disorder characterized by .... socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact successfully with peers ... problems with non-verbal communication, including the restricted use of gestures .... " (from the Autism Speaks website)

5:38 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

Boo has already finished watching at least one online episode of "I'm in the Band" (maybe more), and his breakfast had been placed in front of him at the kitchen table. A breakfast buffet, he had requested, and a breakfast buffet was what I'd made.

Cranberry juice.  An omelet. Three waffles, with butter and sprinkled with chocolate chips.

Same as it ever was.

I stood at the sink, my back to my boy as he ate.  I lifted my coffee cup, the steam rising up, knowing this was only the first of several cups to come.  A wake-up time prior to 5 a.m., accompanied by full-on animated chatter about the boy's meticulously planned out schedule of television shows (online and otherwise) and "world premieres" of said shows, was (is) always a harbinger for a rough ride ahead.

Got all the ingredients for a rough ride of an autism day here, I'd facebooked yesterday.  Boy's been up since 5 a.m. and is finishing up his second consecutive hour of non-stop scripting (translation: he's reciting, verbatim from beginning to end, entire episodes of The Muppet Show).  Let Hour #3 commence now ....

I drank several long sips of my coffee, savoring the brief interlude of quiet, mentally bracing myself for the day to come.  A re-run, it seemed, of yesterday.

And then I felt it.

Little hands around my waist.  A head against the small of my back.  The gentlest of squeezes.  Great, I thought. My rattling around in the dishwasher for a spoon must have woken Betty up.

I turned, expecting to see her.

I was wrong.

"That was the BEST BREAKFAST BUFFET EVER!"  Boo enthused, giving me another hug.  I blinked in the gray-morning glow of the kitchen, astonished, but he had already let go and was back at the table, lifting each waffle in demonstration.

"See? How the butter and the chocolate chips are are blended together? THAT. IS. AWESOME."

"I'm really glad you like it, buddy," I said, knowing that those would be the only morsels of the waffles he would actually eat.

"This is the best breakfast buffet ever!" he repeated.

"Thank you, baby," I said, kissing the top of his head.

He's not an overly affectionate kid, my Boo.  Impromptu hugs from him are extremely rare, practically non-existant.  I can think of only one time in the past 10 years when he said "I love you" to me. So, this ... this was something else.

I went back to the sink, turned and watched him continuing to eat while I sipped the rest of my coffee.

Sustenance for the day ahead.

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Peppermint Ph.D. said...

Wow. Some mom you are...breakfast buffet at 5 a.m.?? Gracious! My nephew has Asperger's...I don't think I've ever seen him show emotion...what a wonderful start to your day :)

Melissa said...

Alternately giggling and crying. I get it.

Jenners said...

Aww...this is heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time. If I may be so bold, I'd love to recommend a blog of a woman who has a lot in common with you. You might enjoy reading her blog as she openly chronicles her experiences with her son's autism and bipolar disorder. Here is the link: http://ratiooffailures.blogspot.com/

Book Dragon said...

looking for a tissue.....I love impromptu hugs!