Chicago mom finds joy in literal words of her three sons with autism

April is Autism Awareness Month. The statistics bury the beauty of this special diagnosis. Many affected by autism function pragmatically on a literal level, which can inspire some humorous moments. In celebration of families who brave autism everyday-and not just during April-I offer a glimpse into the very literal lives of my three autistic sons, ages 8, 10, and 12, all of whom wear “softpants” on Fridays.

When told not to wear sweatpants to school, “But it’s Friday! I always wear softpants on Fridays.”

When asked why he’s shifting from one foot to the other: “I’m trying to figure out which is my best foot, Mom, so I can put it forward.”

After breaking water balloons indoors: “I shouldn’t be grounded, Mom, because it’s physics’ fault. Especially gravity, in particular.”

When writing to Santa: “I’ve been pretty good this year, but I’ve been falling down because I’ve been near a Jimson (Gypsum) Weed at some point during my life. It attacks nerves. And my brother needs to control his temper.”

After opening the door for himself: “Thank you, myself.”

When I ask who is downstairs after bedtime: “Nobody… I mean, I don’t know.”

When discussing zombies: “If they were real, zombies would be blind because human eyes disintegrate after just a few hours of lifelessness. And who wants to be a blind zombie anyway?”

When told his stepdad could fix his iPad: “Wow, he’s like the hero of our family.”

When asked to name his favorite thing he learned about in school: (And Mommy unaware of the DARE presentation) “Marijuana.”

When picked up from school: “Chess Club stresses me out, Mom, so I will no longer be going.”

When putting his shoes through the airport security machine: “Oh no! Will I ever get them back?”

When half-naked and asked where his pants are: “They’re hiding.”

When complimented on his dimples: Pulls out shirt and looks down at nipples.

While I read a textbook: “I don’t think you should read that book anymore, Mom. There aren’t any pictures.”

After eating a lunch meat sandwich: “Mom, I know why I threw up. Because I’m full of baloney.”

When asked what animal Mommy resembles: “A wombat.”

When asked why the remainder must be less than the divisor: “Because it wants to.”

When misbehaving: “Mom, can you please go into a different room? I need to play a computer game that I’m not supposed to.”

When sorting laundry: (Handing me my bra) “Here are your boobs, Mom.”

When asked how he can stay healthy: “I can avoid radioactive materials.”

When asked why he’s bad at push-ups: “Well, you should see me do them sometime.”

When asked to use ‘hesitant’ in a sentence: “I’m hesitant about this answer.”

When asked about school: “Well, it started out a bit rough but I made many improvements by the afternoon. Except in gym, my legs were working oddly and they made me fall into a trash can… twice. But that’s OK, because there were mostly just paper towels in there and the can was made of plastic. HOWEVER, I did get the lid to the trash can stuck on my head, but I was able to remove it fairly easily… Hey, why are you guys laughing?”

When asked about his wart: “It’s not from kissing frogs, Doctor. In case you didn’t know, that’s just a myth.”

When asked which kid scratched a smiley face on my table: “Maybe it was me. (Mommy frowns.) Wait, maybe it wasn’t me, then.”

When asked by his teacher to do partner work: “I can’t. I have autism, which means I prefer not to work with others.”

When explaining that VIP means ‘Very Important Person’: “Like you, Mom!”

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