Holding Back the Tide

The 12th century and King Canute heads down to the shore with his courtiers. His throne having been brought to the shoreline, he demands that the tide holds back and doesn’t wet his feet. The water of course comes in and soaks them all.

  
Historians claim that if this happened, it was for Canute to prove that even the power of kings is worthless against the elements. 

But maybe the historians are wrong. Maybe Canute thought the tide could be stopped from coming in at his will. Because maybe Canute was autistic.

Because nobody seems to be so adamant to demand the impossible as SP. Time and tide wait for no man, although SP would argue that both are static to whatever he perceives them to be.

“Turn time backwards!” is a common demand in our household. If only! I’d turn it back to the few hours when SP slept undisturbed and catch up on some sleep!!!

And considering the propensity of people on the autism spectrum working in Silicon Valley, you’d have thought Apple would have had the consideration to make products with battery lives that out-sustain an ASD obsession! I will congratulate Apple, however, on the durability of their products when literally flying across the room in frustration at the appearance of the power off buffer.

But that’s not all. I’m not sure how SP expects tech products to re-charge without connection to a power source either. Power packs and cables are NOT acceptable to SP’s mind…but he still expects them to be back to working order without intervention.

Then there’s the battle of will vs lack of Wi-fi. He has absolutely no comprehension of why he can’t watch his favourite YouTube videos anywhere and everywhere. Or why it cuts out at home. To be fair, I don’t understand that either and find it equally frustrating, but I fall short of flinging myself to the floor in a rage. 

But then, when YouTube does work there’s the challenge of making him comprehend why an app advertised in 2011 is no longer available. Or why a book can’t just appear in our house because he’s seen it online. Or why we can’t go to Thomas Land on a whim at bedtime on a Sunday, least of all because the Thomas Land he’s seen is in New Hampshire! 

Not that is ever Sumday at bedtime. In SP’s mind – even though he knows the days of the week, months of the year and can read a digital clock – it is always half past one on a Monday. And it is always January. Okaaaay.

Harder to live with than a perpetual Monday-in-January calendar was the 30-mile whine because I’d turned around in the road to avoid traffic, thus not taking our usual route out of town. SP was lucky I didn’t leave him on the side of the roadside as he upped his game in terms of decibels the longer I refused to turn back on myself.

We’ve even had an actual Canute moment at the beach when SP wasn’t content to paddle in the shallows, but pointed out to the horizon. “That way! That way!” he yelled as I hauled him back to the shore, both of our rolled-up trousers soaked through. Drowning is not an option when there’s the edge of the world to be touched! I am the most unreaso able parent ever!

All of this is part and parcel of the lack of theory of mind that makes the world such a difficult place for SP to comprehend. Technology should always work because he sees no reason why it shouldn’t. If something exists online then surely it can exist in his world. And why would it ever need to be anything other than half-past one on a Monday in January?

I wonder if Canute threw himself into a screaming, wailing mess as the water soaked his robes and lapped around his throne? I wonder if he threw his crown into the waves in a pique of frustration because the water hadn’t done his bidding?

Our own Canute certainly doesn’t handle such frustrations at all well. Good luck to his teachers next week as he starts school and has to settle into a routine and set of demands not of his choosing! The tides of the education system are about to rise and I’m not sure SP’s going to like getting his feet wet.

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