Don't let the angelic picture fool you! Look closer at his expression!
I often hear stories about children coloring on the walls of their bedroom or finger-painting the dining room table, but in my crazy life, these things always go to the extreme. Any parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum probably understands how 'off the wall' some behaviors can be. This is a quick story of an 'off the wall' day in my crazy life.
My son was about 6 years old and my daughter was about 3. I had just returned to my marriage after a brief sabbatical (yes, that's what I'll call it, a sabbatical!). I had purchased bunk beds for the kids while we lived with my mother for about 9 months. When I returned from my sabbatical, I put the bunk beds up in the playroom. I figured that this could be a good room for sleepovers. I'm not really sure why I thought that my son would have actual friends sleep over, but I guess I was a very optimistic parent. Believe it or not, it did eventually happen, but that's a story for another day.
So, while I cooked dinner, my sweet young children watched T.V. in the playroom. It was very calm and quiet. I've since learned that this silence is the scary noise that is always heard just before all hell brakes loose. I set dinner on the table and went to get my sweet young children. As I approached the playroom, I noticed that the door was closed. Hmm, I thought. This is odd. I opened the door to find the fan on full blast and strange colorful lines all over the playroom walls. It looked like Spin-Art! I looked up and noticed colored markers rubber-banded to the blades of the ceiling fan.
To this day, I still don't know how my 6 year old son ever thought to do this. Who thinks of things like that?! Did he really know what he was doing? Did he intend to decorate the room with Spin-Art? Did he know that the centrifugal force of the fan on high would send the ink shooting out? He is now 19 years old and a total computer geek. Science was always his strength, so I'm thinking that he probably knew exactly what he was doing. But he probably didn't expect it to work quite so well.
I wish I could say that he learned a good lesson and had to clean the whole mess up by himself, but again, any parent of a child on the Spectrum knows that life seldom works that way. It was too overwhelming for a 6 year old with Aspergers. Heck, I think it was too overwhelming of a task for a 30 something year old mom. I actually went for a long walk that evening and let the dinner get cold. I couldn't manage to face the mess until the following day. I took the bunk bed apart, so that he would no longer be able to mess with the ceiling fan, I repainted the room, bought new curtains, put a rug over the damaged carpet and made sure to listen for the silence the next time I cooked dinner.