It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. A few people who wondered why I stopped sharing the daily Least Favorite results between my twin boys, Arthur and Charles.
The simple explanation is that we suspected and confirmed that Arthur is autistic. It takes a while to accept and announce to others that you have a child with special needs. And it didn’t seem right to compare the boys when they were clearly on different levels in terms of interacting with me. You know the old saying; you can’t compare apples and oranges.
After more than a year it occurred to me that the apples and oranges saying is such crap! Why can’t I compare apples and oranges? If I’m holding an apple and notice that it’s red, then look at an orange and think, “Hey, that orange is not red like the apples is!” then I just compared them. I could compare apples and oranges all day long. Compared to apples, oranges are more annoying because I have to peel the rind off and it makes my finger nails look jaundiced. OK, I won’t go on, BUT I COULD! I call bullshit!!
The apples and oranges saying is officially as stupid as any late night show that sticks the words, “After Dark” to its title. You know, like Showtime After Dark or Big Brother After Dark. Hey, Showtime? You know what After Dark is? It’s called morning. So, if you want to keep the name you better start showing me semi-erotic movies that take place at 6am at Denny’s.
(Gladys Moskowitz stars in the new Showtime After Dark feature, “Grand Slam.”)
Just because Arthur and Charles are different doesn’t mean they don’t each take turns being my least favorite child on any given day. Sure, Arthur doesn’t verbally communicate, but his consistently finding my eyeglasses and breaking them the instant I put them down, is his way of telling me he wants to be treated just like his brother or any other 3 1/2 year old child. Will some people be offended and think that I’m treating a serious problem in a trivial manner? Probably. But when you’re spending exhaustive hours working to help a child develop and wonder whether he’ll be able to live a normal adult life, or if he’ll have to live you for the rest of his life, it’s important to find any moment of humor you can. Unless of course you want to be the world’s biggest downer. I’ll go with the first one.
It’s been over a year so, I’ll start Least Favorite Child results next week and give you a bio of the boys so you can get familiar with them.
Hobbies: Walking around with a sock in one hand and a shoe in the other. Treating the kitchen as his own personal parkour course. Not being bothered that people often mistake him for a girl.
Favorite TV Shows: Rachel Maddow, Patriot’s Super Bowl Highlights. (He doesn’t make a lot of TV demands)
90s Sitcom Catchphrase: Doo doo doo doo.
The good news is that Arthur has made a lot of progress since he’s been diagnosed. He used to walk around in a daze. He looked a lot like a zombie toddler in a Baby Gap ad. And considering how popular zombies have become on TV, Baby Gap might want to consider that angle.
(Sure, adorable. But put a few streams of blood down his mouth and you’ve got a whole new demo buying your stuff.)
Arthur is now extremely present and up for interacting. Sure, sometimes the interactions are asking to be picked up so he can grin in delight while he slaps you in the face, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
He has a few autistic stemming obsessions. The most recent is his obsession with carrying a sock in one hand and a shoe in the other.
My wife and I do our best to keep stray socks and shoes out of his reach but you’d be surprised how quickly we can access these items and cram them into his mits if he’s reaching the highest notes of a temper tantrum. You don’t want to find yourself in a Ralph’s Supermarket or a Home Depot with an angry Arthur without having these items. That’s right. I’ve added “taking a sock and a shoe” to the checklist of things I leave the house with as if that’s a totally normal thing. Sometimes I even take notice of of a sock/shoe pairing he has as he strolls through the house. “A rain boot and an Easter Bunny sock? That’s a bold combo, Arthur. Way to not be afraid to ‘go there’!”
Arthur has also become extremely curious and disturbingly adventurous. Does that sound like a stressful combination? It is. He can climb anything like the Asian acrobat in the Oceans 11 movie. Maybe he has a future working with Cirque du Soleil. They hire babies and toddlers, right?
(I immediately regret posting this photo)
And of course, what’s more fun to explore than a kitchen full of knives and a stove with knobs that can be turned to make things super hot. So, like any typical family, if you want to operate the stove in our house you have to go to a drawer in the high bureau where the oven knobs are located. Who hasn’t been there?
As many battles as Arthur faces every day, he’s pretty tough and very happy. Maybe he realizes that he’s the pretty one. I know parents aren’t objective when it comes to their children’s looks, but if you’re under the age of five and people think you’re a girl, that’s high praise in the pretty department. If you’re a man being mistaken for a women once you reach your 30s and 40s, it’s much more problematic if that’s NOT the look you’re going for. It’s fairly common for other 3 and 4 year old girls to hover around Arthur and desperately try to get him to play with them. Sure, I’d love it if Arthur would engage with them, but his standard procedure is to ignore them and I have to say, it’s a pretty big power move. If he keeps his looks, then not speaking and not giving women the attention they want and deserve, it almost guarantees he’ll have a lot of choices come prom time.
(Arthur Hurley. Chipping away female self esteem since 2018)
OK, that’s more than you probably wanted to know about Arthur. Let’s move on to his brother, Charles.
Hobbies: Asking for Legos. Getting Legos. Losing Legos.
Favorite TV Shows: Paw Patrol, Goosebumps, Law & Order: SVU. (That’s my sister’s fault)
90s Sitcom Catchphrase: Hey, come here and look at the poop I just did!
It’s a little weird having a child that carries little if any of my DNA. He looks just like my wife and she has passed on many of her personality traits. They’re both stubborn, charmingly manipulative and absolutely sure that they’re in charge. Yes, I know my wife’s in charge but Charles regularly attempts to put me in timeouts. And I’m not ashamed to say I’ve agreed on a few occasions to sit quietly in a corner for a minute or two just to resolve the dispute faster.
For a kid who has so much moxie he’s pretty sensitive. God forbid my wife and I argue in front of him. The way he reacts you’d think we were breaking bottle necks on the kitchen counter and using them as shivs. Or are they shanks? If you’ve done time and know the difference between a shiv and shank, let me know.
(“How many times did I tell you today that you needed to pick up toilet paper!? Let’s do this!)
Now, my wife and I have to argue in a civil tone. There’s nothing more satisfying. (Insert your own sarcastic tone here)
This is my wife’s fault. She started Charles with the advanced Legos and not the more simple Duplos. I’ve read that a standard automobile has 35,000 different parts. A Lego car easily has twice that. Luckily, my wife has assumed master builder duties which will lead her to madness before the boys are four. I’m already figuring out how to best play the pity card as the dad raising two boys on his own because his wife lost her mind building The Stark Industries Tower.
Charles has a different Lego character to obsess over every week. This week’s it’s the Green Ninja. Whichever is the favorite is what we spend most of our time looking for while Charles weeps like a parent of a missing child.
(Does this look like someone enjoying play time or more like someone terrified that the Hulk could vanish at any moment?)
A couple of weeks ago I found that week’s favorite, Iron Man, in my pants pocket when I got to work, I could have given my wife a heads up for the day that was in store for her. Instead I just pretended that I found it under a couch cushion when I got home. Judge if you want, but I didn’t need one more time out that week.
Charles’ imaginative play skills are unparalleled. Usually I’m the Spiderman or Hulk Lego and he’s whoever the week’s favorite is. We’ll commonly head over to Tony Stark’s lab where Charles says we need to be quiet because Thanos and Thor are not feeling well and need to sleep. That’s some pretend I can get behind.
Last item of note is Charles’ potty habits.
(What prompted me to take this photo?)
Charles actually potty trained himself. I couldn’t be more thankful for something that’s been done for me. Maybe that’s why he takes such pride in what he leaves in the bowl. Without going into detail, I’ll just say that a poop does not get flushed unless someone is called in to look at it and analyze it as if it’s an art exhibit.
Poop even inspires his humor. Last month he called to me from the living room and said, “Daddy, there’s a poop by the couch.” There’s a cat, dog and two toddlers in my house. This isn’t a shocking thing to hear. As I came in to take care of the poop, there was Charles, looking and me and smiling. And then, his next motion was putting the poop in his mouth and chewing it.
So, there I am screaming, “Why would you put that poo poo in your mouth?!” loud enough for everyone in the neighborhood to hear, when he pulled a Tootsie roll rapper out of his pocket. It may have taken a year or two off my life but how can I not respect great poop humor. Maybe he does have some of my DNA!
OK, that’s all for now. It’s time to start figuring out who my least favorite one is today.