Yesterday it was my birthday and I was very pleased to receive some wave-making hair tongs to bring a spot of variety to my poker-straight locks.
I gave them a try that evening as we were going out for a family dinner to our favourite Italian (Il Colosseo in Farnborough in case you're interested). I was pretty pleased with the results and went to show Asperger's Son2 (almost 14) who was, as usual, ensconced in the Technolair.
He broke off from his laptop for a moment to have a look and I could tell by his face that it wouldn't be good.
"You look like a Disney Princess," he said. "I don't like it." He gave me a hard glare and turned back to his computer.
I was, actually, rather pleased with looking like a princess, especially given my advanced years - although there is always the danger of looking a bit mutton.
This reminded me of when I (obviously mistakenly) wore some purple crushed velvet leggings- something quite different and unusual for me. Son2 pointed at them and asked, "What is that fiasco? Take them off."
When I told him I wasn't going anywhere and no one would see me he replied that he would see me, because, of course, that was all that mattered. I have never worn them again.
Son2, like many children with ASD, finds change very difficult and for him, this is only getting worse as he gets older. It particularly includes anything different about me. As the central person in his life, he likes me to be the same at all times. He also doesn't like me being away, which can make life difficult.
When we got to the restaurant, me still with the dreaded waves intact, I made the mistake of mentioning to my sister-in-law, within Son2's hearing, that he was unhappy with my Disney Princess look. This, of course, reminded him of his unhappiness and that, coupled with the noise of the restaurant, was too much. He refused to speak or to order any main course or eat any birthday cake and sat plugged into his iPad for most of the rest of the evening.
It was only near the end of the evening, when he pulled up the familiar images on his iPad of his carefully-painted Warhammer figures that he began to relax and managed to have some after-dinner mints.
I could have kicked myself for mentioning the hair when we were at the restaurant. It's a bit like the Fawlty Towers German/war scene: Don't mention the hair. I mentioned it once and I think I got away with it. I got away with it in the house, but alas, the second time meant the evening teetered on the edge of disaster.
I think it illustrates how easy it is to slip up when you're walking on eggshells most of the time. Life is not normal, even though your kids have no visible sign of disability. I wasn't thinking about the repercussions of careless talk.
When we got home, I tied my hair back but it wasn't enough. This morning I went into him with freshly washed and back-to-normal straight hair. He opened his eyes, looked at it and sighed happily. Everything was as it should be.
So what do I do with the hair tongs? Do I keep using them in the hope he'll just get used to them or pack them away in their box? Help me out and vote below!
She is also an experienced broadcast and print journalist & author. Tania also runs a PR, web & social media consultancy, SocialOro Media. She is a Rare Disease & chronic pain patient advocate with Ehlers Danlos syndrome.
Latest posts by Tania Tirraoro (see all)
- The DfE wants to stop LAs filling SEND funding gaps - October 14, 2019
- A setback at the High Court, but parents’ SEND Action goes on - October 7, 2019
- Disabled children “increasingly failed” as nearly 9 in 10 EHCP Ombudsman complaints upheld - October 4, 2019