Sunday, September 22, 2013

"We gon Party Like It's Yo Birthday"

I am either completely nuts or oblivious to how much craziness would go into having a house full of teenage boys on the spectrum.  The answer must be I'm nutso because I had so much fun watching them have fun.

I grew up with a bunch of teenagers in my house and I was friends with mostly boys and a few girls.  There were many occasions that there were at least 5 boys and 3 girls sitting around the living room in our small apartment.  My mom would casually come into the room to say something smart to one of the guys..
"You have such a beautiful head of hair.  Too bad I can see it underneath that baseball cap that you're wearing at my kitchen table."
Or when my friend Kevin would come by to pick me up for school every morning.  She would say...
"I don't know why you bother dealing with Karen.  She's always late!"

For a good while there I wondered if I would ever have a house full of teenagers for Red.  There was a time when My Prayer for for him to have a least one friend, who would love and accept him for exactly who is is.

Blue on the other hand, has always been extremely social.  He has never had trouble being friends with both kids on the spectrum, and NT's.  Most of his close pals these days are on the spectrum.  He met most of his friends through social skills groups at school, some in elementary, and a couple in middle school.

Red, had a group of NT's that he was friends with all throughout elementary school, through about the 4th or 5th grade, when the differences between them started to become very apparent.  They all got the joke and he didn't.  He started to slowly feel left out.  He had to move schools a couple of times because of behaviors, and because our local school didn't have the appropriate supports for him.  As a result,  he had hit or miss connections with peers through most of middle school.  He didn't really want to become friends with kids on the spectrum.  He didn't want to be different.  For a long time, he longed to be a part of the in-crowd -the popular kids.  In fact, part of him still does.  He spent a lot of time working against himself.  The result being -very few friends.

At the age of 18, now a senior in high school, Red has a few really good friends. They get him, and he gets them.  They have things in common, such as their Christian faith, and their love of music, and they are all on the spectrum.
He met, A -through a private Aspergers, social skills group.  He's 20 years old now.
He met N -in high school.  He is probably on the spectrum, but has a brain injury and some special quirks.
He met another friend A2 -out at the airport when they were both spotting airplanes, during his airplane fixation phase.  A -is also a 17 year-old Aspie.

So for Red's birthday, we took one of his friends to his favorite eatery, for lunch.  Blue attended as well.  School actually let out early, for some reason.  *insert sarcasm here.  I'll thank President Obama for making Red's birthday an early release day.

This weekend, Red decided to have a movie night, here at the house so that he could include all of his good friends.  Blue decided to tag-along on this party train and invited 3 of his good friends. Thank God ...only 5 boys showed up.  So for me!

Hubby totally bailed on me.  He can't stand a bunch of kids wandering around the house, making a bunch of noise.  The boys come in, they don't always remember to speak and be gracious.  Hello...they're on the spectrum.  One boy, goes straight into the refrigerator and looks around, on his own.  Another boy, goes in and out of the bathroom to check on the fans.  He's fixated on the decibel level of the fans.  One of the other boys, just likes to walk up and down the stairs, and kind of wander from room to room.

Guess what?  I don't really care.  They aren't hurting anything really.  One of the wonderful things about being an autism parent, at least for me -is embracing difference.  The more different my boys, friends are, the more I seem to love them all.  It's an honor really, to host them in my home and spend time with them.

I put my nosey mother upstairs in my bedroom with a bottle of wine and closed the door.  If she were within earshot of the activities, she would have had something to say about everything, and would be  involved in every conversation.  She did get the opportunity to tell N that it is inappropriate to go in our refrigerator looking around.  Excuse me Mom.  I know you live here but, no thanks!  This is my house. They do have openings at the senior building down the street, if you want peace, quiet and sanity. We don't have any of that around here. 

As the party begins, 3 of the boys are pacing up and down the street in front of the house.  They see a cat and decide to go across the street to pay him a visit.  They sit on the curb talking to each other and the cat for a while.  In the meantime, I know they're starving, but I need their input before I order pizza.

Now deciding on pizza was really fun!  Imagine 7 guys on the spectrum,  trying to decide which place is o.k. to order pizza from.  This one hates Pizza Hut.  This one hates Papa Johns.  These two hate little Caesars.
"The cheese from Dominoes is really gross!" says another one.

They finally decide on a local franchise called Marcos.  Here in Texas a guy named Marco is probably Mexican.  But apparently, he decided to open and Italian pizza place. Does that sound appealing to me? No.  But it's not my party. 

The next thing we have to do is decide all of the different kinds of pizza to order with all of our individual likes, and dislikes.! That didn't take long at all.

Next on tap is the movie vote, which Blue totally wants to dominate.  In fact, before the guests even arrive he has a meltdown because he doesn't want Star Wars in the list of choices.  He wants Lord of the Rings, a very long, 3 hour movie.  There is absolutely no way, all of these guys are going to stay seated all the way through a 3 hour movie in such close proximity to one another, with all of the talking through the movie, stemming, and outbursts.

By a democratic vote, they settle on Captain America.  The vote is almost unanimous.!
"There is no way I'm going to sit through this entire movie that I do not want to watch! It sucks.  No one ever wants to do what I want to do.  Everyone thinks whatever I like sucks!  I bet you no one except for me and J -even like the Beatles!"

J says, "Yeah.  I know what you mean.  Society sucks. They don't usually agree with me either, but we did vote and you invited me over here, so you just have to deal with it."
I thought I was going-to-die.

They start playing the movie as we wait for the pizza to arrive.  Once it gets here, 20 minutes into the movie, they decide to pause the movie.  They totally gorge themselves in pizza, fruit punch and lemonade.  Best line during the meal...
"If I had known there wasn't going to be any soda.  I would have brought some."  No pretense here!'

After they eat, they attempt to settle back down and watch the movie.  It wasn't happening.  Everyone was loud, talking over one another.  It was like watching an episode of The View, only with teenage boys on the spectrum.

Red turns the volume to the movie sky high so that everyone would shut up.  That sends a couple of them out of the room.  One specifically, comes upstairs and lays on the couch in our family room.  The next thing I know, they are all upstairs and the movie is turned off.

We have a group in one room playing video games and chatting.  Another group in another room with loud, heavy medal music, along with a live electric guitar and amplifier.  Periodically, a couple of boys would come out to the family room to start wrestling,  to pace the floor, to take silly pictures of themselves, or just have a quiet moment with their cell phones.

One of the boys, A -the 20 year-old, made his way from the couch in the family room, to the bed in Blue's room, to the bed in Red's room.  He is the oldest, a college student, who had been up early that morning studying and then drove himself to the party.  I was worried that he may not be able to wake himself up enough to drive home.  There was no alcohol involved, of course.  He did make it home safely.

Aspergers Dad finally showed up, just in time to take a couple of the boys home.  He had been out at a sports bar watching the game, in order to escape the festivities. He worked so hard driving them around the corner!

So Dad got away with murder.  At least I think so.  The boys all had a great time.  We even had one straggler who spent the night.  Lights were out by midnight, so that they could go to church this morning -on their own.  They made arrangements for Red's Pastor to pick them up.

Aspergers Mom?  Yes.  I had plenty of wine on tap to help keep my nerves under control.  The vote is still out as to weather or not I need psychiatric evaluation.