All around the cobbler's bench
The monkey chased the weasel;
The monkey thought 'twas all in fun,
Pop! goes the weasel.
Every night when I get home
The monkey's on the table,
Take a stick and knock it off,
Pop! goes the weasel.
Old English Folk Song
So the morning was kind of great. Aodhan got up and had fejioada for breakfast. It took us a little while to get properly dressed, and to eat breakfast. He had sliced pineapple.
We packed his swim things and met Manuelo, Yesenia’s husband at the corner. Their younger son Miguel was with them. They took us over to their house, which is very close to where I live. Yesenia was making tuna sandwiches and choclo con queso to take for lunch. Choclo is the standard type of corn they have here. It is white, and the kernals are big. They eat it on the cob with pieces of soft white cheese (queso). I guess it is not that different from putting butter which is like cheese, on your corn.
We went to Tingo, which is a park that has a pond with peddle boats, and some rides and an a large indoor aquatic centre. Aodhan and the boys went and got into their bathing suits, and went in the kids side of the pool complex. There was a really nice splash park structure in the middle for the kids to play on, and several short water slides at the end. There are two big water slides in the big pool. The boys, even Aodhan, ended up having a great time. Although before Aodhan had a good time, he did have a bit of a meltdown when he saw me looking in his backpack. I sent Aodhan to get dressed early, since he was already out of the pool and wanted to draw. I figured he might take a while, and I warned him not to try the Mr. Bean method again. He changed fairly quickly. I think he put on his dirty socks, but it was not the hill I wanted to die on today, so I congratulated him on getting dressed so fast.
We went out into the park, and Yesenia offered him a tuna sandwich. I didn’t want him to have the bread, because it is harina, or wheat, which of course is gluten. I took him in the food court building. These are always sort of amusing for me, since there is, like in a regular Canadian food court, about 20 different vendors. However, unlike a Canadian food court, they all serve the same menu. Huh? Each vendor has their own menu and their own pictures above their stall, and every one of them has the exact same food, just the signs are different colours, red, yellow, green or blue.
Aodhan chose a stall that was very quiet and asked for rice and chicken. He wanted to sit far away from the stall. I was a little annoyed, but the ladies didn’t seem to mind. I also acquiesced since he had been fairly good, and got him an Inca Kola pop. He took forever to eat, and I said that I would go over to the rides area with the other kids, and he could join us after. About 20 minutes later I realized he was not ever going to be done with his food. I went back to the food court, and the poor ladies, who only have a limited number of plates, had already tried to bribe him with a chicken wing to get his plates away from him. I told him he had 30 seconds to finish with the plate and cutlery. He leant over them protectively, but did not finish. He had been there for more than 30 minutes. The poor girl looked very worried. I pulled him back in his chair, and held him and let her take the dishes. I thought she was gone and I let go of Aodhan I guess she had not realized the situation, and she had taken a roundabout way back to her stall. Aodhan was off. He dashed towards her, round small tables of diners. I circled around the other way to cut him off, he ducked and did an about face and round another table. The girl screamed. She was so terrified she wasn’t thinking straight and didn’t head back to her stall. She darted between tables and Aodhan leapt after her knocking over an empty chair. She screeched. I swore she was going to climb on one of the tables next; she was holding the plate in the air, like as if to keep it away from a rabid dog. Aodhan lunged towards her and I ran between two tables and pounced on him from the side, knocking him into one of the big concrete posts that held the roof up. I swore he was foaming at the mouth. He tried to get free and I held him, motioning for the girl to go. She stood rooted to the spot, looking to the right and to the left of the post, not sure which side she could pass on. This girl would never excel at army tactics and enemy evasion. I grabbed Aodhan’s backpack straps. “My plate” he yelled, “my plate, I’m not done”. “The plate is hers and you have had half an hour to eat what was on it” I retorted. She tried to scurry by. Aodhan bit me hard on the wrist and broke free and lunged again. Ignoring the pain in my wrist, I used his movement to swing him around propel him into a run towards the railing that separated the food court from the eating area. I held onto the bars, and leant against him. The girl had made her escape, but Aodhan knew what booth she was from and he stared venomously after her. If I had been able to turn around, I’m sure I would have seen her peeking out from behind her counter or refrigerator. Aodhan took his plastic Inca Kola bottle out of his pocket and whacked me with it about the face and head. I tried to drag Aodhan further out of the building, but he hung on to the railing with one hand, and tried to hit me with the kola bottle. I wasn’t sure just what to do next.
And then, like angels descending into chaos, I saw Yesenia and Manualo hurrying towards us. “Hey”, Manualo said to Aodhan. “It’s ok, what’s wrong. Come on buddy, lets go outside and talk about it.” Aodhan resisted, but he was distracted, and he wasn’t sure what to do. We walked a few feet towards the door, and then he turned and tried to whack me again. I knew I had to get that bottle off of him. It was like the anger was a genie, bottled up in the Inka Kola bottle. Between the two of us, we managed to get him out of the building, and up the steps to where the taxis wait. I got the bottle off of him, but could not find a garbage quickly enough, and he grabbed it back. We got him in a taxi and I knew I couldn’t let him keep his bottled up little anger genie. I wrestled the bottle off of him and ran and threw it in a trash can out of his sight. He struggled and wrestled in the taxi, and the taxi was stuck in the parking lot in grid-lock.
As soon as the taxi began moving, Aodhan settle down almost immediately. “They’re going to reuse the bottle, right?” He asked. “Yes” I replied, “it will be made into a new clean bottle and filled with Inka Kola. “Can I have another Inka Kola?” “Never”, I replied, “or at least, not for a long, long time.”
I settled down in the tiny yellow taxi. It’s amazing the number of people they fit in these tiny cars. Manuelo sat with the driver in the front, with Miguel on his lap. Yesenia, Jose, Aodhan and myself squeezed in the back. The car grunted and strained, and bottomed out over the speed bump. Aodhan stared at the road, and, after a few minutes, stopped begging for the window seat. At my house, Aodhan stood quietly while Yesenia’s family said goodbye. He waited patiently while I unlocked the door. He walked sedately up the stairs.
That evening he took his meds with no problem. “I guess I kind of freaked out there”, he said. “Yep”, I said, you certainly did. “I guess this pill might help me not freak out as much”. I smiled at him. I had a talk with him about the “autism” word. He hates it when I use it. I told him that I have to use that word, so that people don’t think he is bad and send him to jail. I asked him if he would rather have me use the word, or possibly face arrest. He said the word was better. I also had a talk with him about how that word does not excuse the behaviour. Many people who are autistic, do not behave badly. It is still his choice to behave that way.
I took his hat and his backpack away, and gave him only one sketchbook, book and pencil and sharpener. His backpack is his security blanket, and he will suffer without it. I said he needed to earn the hat and backpack back.
In the evening, I packed up my things and told him I was going downtown to Plaza Aramas, which is the central square. I would see the Cathedral, and I would eat falafels. "I'm coming" he exclaimed. "No", I replied calmly. "I am going myself. I cannot take you out when you behave badly. You can stay here tonight and miss out". Aodhan was stunned. "But I need to go. But I get to go. But I can. But I am going anyway." I had a great time downtown alone, and met a 4 people in a group. They were from New Mexico and Amsterdam. The younger couple was about my age and the gentleman from Amsterdam was 70. The other woman was somewhere in the middle. I spent the evening with them and we had a great time. They were interested to hear about Aodhan, as well as about Peru, and I had a very cathartic time with some very comforting strangers.
choclo con queso
Aodhan, Jose and Miguel in the smallest pool
Jose - 8 years old
Migel - 7 years old
The park at Tingo. Behind all the rides, you can see the pool building
Manuelo and his boys paddle boating. Aodhan did not want to go
Aodhan, Jose and Miguel in the food court
Yesenia and her boys with me
Yesenia and Manuelo, Jose and Miguel
Aodhan and Alica in the evening after he lost his backpack. Notice he is now using a plastic bag.
Aodhan really loves Alica and really relates to her. I think she is going to be very therapeutic for Aodhan.
Alica kept Aodhan company the entire evening while I went out to eat Falafels and visit Plaza Aramas, where he really, really wanted to go.