Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Worst Kind of Turd is an Honest One, Vol. 3

This is the long version of a story I blogged about last summer.  Remember those long-ago innocent days when my cutie pie eight-year-old (now nine) nephew Murphy who happens to have Austism spent three months with my parents and me?:

Well, Murphy dug a hole under the deck big enough to sit in.  He did this by taking one handful of dirt into the yard/sidewalk, spreading it, and repeating for 9 hours per day over the course of four weeks.  We allowed it at first, but started to worry that the foundation of the house was becoming compromised (ha!).  Also, the yard was looking like a sandbox, which was driving my dad CRAZY.  So we decided we had to do something about it.  But what?

The Shifty Sand Sifter

When you're dealing with severe autism, you have to pick your battles.  Well, let's say you did pick your battles and allowed the digging of a HUGE hole under your deck but now you've had it and you can't allow it anymore.  What do you do?  Sometimes 'NO' doesn't mean 'NO' because it used to be 'YES'.  You gotta be one step ahead.  You gotta think like you never thought before.  So...what should we have done in a situation like that?

We could have put fencing around the underneath part of the deck, but he could easily have outsmarted that -- unless it were the expensive lattice-style fencing.  Too expensive.

We could have sprayed the dirt with the hose each morning which would have made it less sift-able, and thus less attractive to his sensory need to dig and spread.  But that would have made mud, and Hal would have freaked out about wasted water.

We could have put down old area rugs.  But it was just too big an 'area', and...we didn't have any junk ones.

The solution was simple and stared us right in the face.  We were going to have to distract him away from his little sandbox under the deck.  Give him something else to do.  And then an idea hit me like a ton of bricks.  A kiddie pool!  We could fill it with water and he could play in there instead!  Of course, I would also need to be more proactive.  Less lazy.  'Watch' him, as it were.

The morning after my resolve, we woke up in typical Kady-and-Murphy fashion, staring at each other, face-to-face.  (This is when Murphy was at his happiest, cutest, most adorable, in our waking up moments.)  I was giddy to break the pool news!  I sing-songed, "how 'bout today, we have our breakfaaaaaast, and then we get out of our pa-jaaaaamaaaaas, and we get in the ca-aaaaar? And How 'bout we drive aaa-aaaallll the way to K-ma-aaaaaart and then, how 'bout we buy you a POOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!???"

And then my non-verbal autistic nephew, who had never spoken a single sentence to me in his whole eight years, looked me square in the eye, and said,

"How 'bout we don't?"

Here's a photo tribute to the little dude, the person I miss most in all of Minnesota:

With uncle Pete, quite possibly my favorite photo ever.


Kelly said...

How bout I love him.

A Lady Reveals Nothing said...

I know. GUH.....

Jacqui said...

We miss him too.

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