At 4 a.m. I hear a loud determined knock at my bedroom door. It's Blue. "I need a breathing treatment," he says. The weather has changed suddenly. It's the coldest night we've had so far this season. His asthma has obviously flared up. "I'm freezing," he adds.
I get up, throw on my pajama pants to go and find his inhaler. I give him a couple of puffs.
"I'm sorry for disturbing you," he says sincerely.
"Don't worry about it," I respond -so pleased that he is thinking of me and how I may feel being awakened in the middle of the night.
At 6 a.m. there is another loud knock at my door. Before I can answer, Red burst through the door and pokes me.
"Did I really fall asleep at 7 o'clock?" he asks.
Why does that matter while I am getting my last 45 minutes of sleep? He wants to know something. He wants to know it now. Could that question wait until I actually get up? Sure -but there is no thought of anyone other than himself.
"I don't know what time you fell asleep. It really doesn't matter right now. Why are you waking me up?"
"I just want to know what time I went to sleep."
Cut to breakfast. It's a cold morning, I want to make a hot breakfast for both boys. Blue comes down to eat first. He eats his waffles and I make him an egg over easy.
"Thank you for breakfast mom," he says.
"You are so welcome son," I respond.
Red fell asleep last night without eating a real dinner. I prepared hot waffles and scrambled eggs for him as well. I wanted him to have a solid breakfast before he took his medicine and went out into the cold morning.
His response: "I don't want those waffles. I want cereal."
I made this boy hot waffles and eggs, which he likes. Does he show any appreciation? NO! There is no thank you. It just doesn't occur to him, unless he is prompted. He says exactly what's on his mind despite how it comes across or how it makes someone feel.
He ate the waffles and eggs and of course was too full for any yucky old cereal. He enjoyed it, but didn't say so.
This goes to show us all just how autism (more specifically Aspergers) can show up differently in each individual. Just look at the contrast between these two brothers.
Some people with Aspergers can come across as real jerks. It's not intentional. It's just how they think. Can they be taught to think differently, to say please and thank you? Sure...will they actually mean it? Maybe...maybe not. I wish my son good luck getting and maintaining a relationship with a wife someday if he doesn't learn how to be appreciative. Of course, I'm just his mother, the one who gave birth to him and spends every waking moment thinking about his well being. Why do I deserve any gratitude?
Thankfully, I love these two brothers unconditionally -even if one of them makes me want to slap him into next week!