"I mean it! Bath time is over! It's time to get out of the tub!" I was getting annoyed. He could tell, and he was delighted. He wriggled his bare butt on the bottom of the now-empty tub, and shouted, his voice echoing against the tiles.
"If you make one more move, Mister! If you put one fin on that boat...Nemo!"
And then it was my turn to be delighted. Yes, he was scripting, but it was quasi-appropriate. He was telling me that I was being a nag, that I sounded like Nemo's scolding dad, Marlin. He was communicating and joking with me. Teasing me, if you will. I loved it.
Yesterday was a different story. When I picked him up from aftercare, the director pulled me aside.
"There was an issue on the bus," she whispered. "He was being fresh."
"Oh, no. What did he do?"
She lowered her voice even more. "He said shut up. It's not a phrase we use here."
"Nor do we," I assured her, stifling a laugh. We say just about everything else, but we don't say "shut up." He was probably scripting off a YouTube video, but it could have been so much worse.
"I had him apologize to the bus driver," she told me.
"OK," I said. "But that will probably just make him do it more. It's best to just ignore the unwanted behavior."
"I understand. It's just that the bus driver was upset."
If the bus driver was upset by "shut up", it's a good thing she wasn't in my car that time the Boy finished his ice cream and asked for more.
"No more ice cream," I told him. "You've had enough."
"Fuuuckin' SHIT!" he shouted in a pitch-perfect imitation of my husband, and spiked his empty ice cream cup on the floor of the car.
"Don't react. Don't laugh. Don't say a word," I muttered through clenched jaw as Big Bro quivered with silent laughter and real tears ran down his face. I don't know what was funnier--hearing my autistic son curse like a pro or watching my 13 year-old struggle not to laugh. I'll admit, it was entertaining as hell, but you know what? We didn't react, and that particular expletive wasn't repeated.
The bus driver probably wouldn't like to hear my son script entire conversations in all of our voices, especially those of a personal nature:
"Oh my gawd! What is that smell?"
"I'm sorry! I couldn't help it!"
"What did you eat?"
"Dad, you FARTED!"
Yep, she probably wouldn't approve. That script keeps happening because we're awful people and we laugh at it. Can't help it. The kid does great impersonations!
But the key is to ignore the unwanted behavior. If you tell my kid not to do something, he will do it just to mess with you. It's just his way.
So I wasn't at all surprised to hear that he was yelling "shut up" on the bus again today. Duh. Since I don't see the driver, I contacted his case worker and asked her to give the driver some strategies for dealing with this. I'm glad I've got a go-between to deal with these complaints, because if this keeps on, I may have to give her a number of informative pamphlets on autism.
Or maybe I'll just tell her to shut up. ;)
(I won't do that, of course. She's lovely and I'm too polite.)