I guess I'm not really an "autism parent" and I definitely don't play one on television. Many parents experience a great deal of fear when they are told their children are autistic. It's understandable if you don't have a clear idea of what that means. Even more understandable if the only picture of life with autism you have has been painted for you by people consumed with their fears and frustrations over their lives with their autistic children.
I got into a bit of trouble for voicing my frustrations with the negative parent perspectives of autism that dominate popular culture. At this point in my life I'm okay with ruffling feathers. Okay, okay, I've always been okay with ruffling feathers.
Fellow would be autism parents there is another way. You don't have to let fear, frustration, and disappointment be the story of your lives or your children's lives. I guess that makes me something of an anti autism parent.
Lets talk about that great parenting tool bacon a bit more because that's where my head's been at lately. Bacon is a great attention grabber. Have you ever had to yell your child's full government name in that voice? You know, the don't want to met you in a dark alley voice, only to have them ignore you like it was their job? No need for all that with bacon in the house. Just fry, or bake, a batch and let them come to you.
Now once they storm the kitchen looking for some smoky greasy bacony goodness the patient parent has several options. Hold that bacon hostage until their rooms are clean, their hair is combed, or whatever unsavory necessity of life is done. Sleepy teenagers become remarkably alert in the presence of bacon fumes. It's almost better than coffee and definitely better than and alarm clock.
If you can't have bacon for cultural reasons you have two options. Find out what the culturally acceptable alternative is for you or invent one.
In an effort to keep myself out of the grocery store and the family fed I bought an extra turkey during the holidays. Working on the premise that one of those suckers would feed the family for a week I recently thawed it out and slung it in the oven. Pleased with my culinary accomplishment I went to bed with a flawless roast turkey ready for carving in the morning.
Next morning my husband says one of the kids helped themselves to some turkey. Well okay, that's what I made it for. In fact, my darling child had helped himself to two turkey legs, most of a thigh, and a wing. About a quarter of a bird in the 15 to 20 lb range downed by one child.
I was caught somewhere between pride and chagrin. The ability of children, in this case a teenage boy, to make food disappear shouldn't shock me any more but dang son. I'm going to have to get another turkey.
Bacon is a fabulous parenting tool. It is a great motivator for children. At least in my house it is. Need to get their adorable bedheads off the pillow? Fry some bacon. That smoky aroma wafting through the house is better than an alarm clock. By the time the first batch is done their eager wide awake faces appear in the kitchen declaring, "I smell bacon!"
Need to get their attention? Bacon. It's better than calling their full names in that voice every parent develops without even trying. No need to scare the neighbors. Pop some bacon into a pan and voila. I have the children fighting for my attention.
Need to bribe, er offer an incentive? Bacon. I can get a lot of good work out of a child on the promise of a few strips of crispy bacon. Who doesn't like a good reward?
Bacon is even great for teaching life skills, fire safety, and first aid. "Mom stop it with the grease fires! Somebody get the baking soda."
That time I found my living room dusted with sugar, nobody knows what happened, I thought at least it's not glitter. Because there was that time I came home to a glittering household.
"Why are you sparkling?" Famous last words uttered by me at the front door.
"It's fairy dust!" That child was so proud of herself. She'd covered herself, her siblings, her father, and a good deal of the house, in embossing glitter I'd forgotten that I had. Things I learned that day.
Pro parenting tip. If you're stuck at home with all the kids because of a snow day or you forgot they have a superintendent's conference day off or some such, save your sanity by baking. Look, it won't matter if you can't boil water without burning it. Siri, Alexa, Google, or whatever they name the next version of Skynet, can walk you through the process. If that doesn't work an elder relative or neighbor can bail you out.
You will be a superhero to the children until the baked goods run out. Use the time they're distracted divvying up the spoils of your labor among themselves to plan the next distraction. Try the kitchen clean up game or the laundry folding game. Don't laugh, it might work.
Now the other part to this is always be prepared for emergency baking. If you're going to work with recipes from scratch this means you're stocked up on flour, sugar (brown, white, and confectioners), salt, baking soda, baking powder, butter, oil, and yeast. Or you can keep packages of cookie dough hidden in the fridge and freezer. Well hidden mind you, children are like blood hounds with that stuff. Also don't eat the treasure yourself. Your sanity will thank you later.
On the off chance that nobody, not me, and I don't know visit your house and leave a crack in the tank of your toilet causing water to leak onto the bathroom floor and the toilet to run constantly here's what you do.
This will appear from time to time when, uh, stuff hits the fan. There might be an amusing story to go along with it. Then again there might not.
I take a general what happens if I do this approach to life. It keeps things interesting.