Can we talk about poop for a minute?
Also: spoiler alert/ content warning. We’re talking about poop here.
I figured this would be on the topic list eventually, but let’s just say I’m feeling inspired by this morning’s events. Plus it’s bound to rear its ugly, stinky head again sooner than later.
So here’s a thing about autism that a lot of people apparently aren’t aware of— there’s a significant comorbidity between autism and digestive issues (For those of us who didn’t attend the University of Google at New Diagnosis, this means that autism and tummy trouble are commonly found together). I don’t have the statistics here— you can google that shit for yourself, and I’m not going to pretend to be an expert. But I swear I’m not making this up.
It makes sense if you think about it. The signals from the senses aren’t always perceived by the brain in the same way as they are in a “typically functioning” brain. (Also: I hate that phrase, but that’s a rabbit hole for another day.). So maybe if you have to poop, your body doesn’t tell your brain. And maybe you end up horribly constipated. Believe it or not, this can actually lead to diarrhea. It’s a good time...
Needless to say, we live this balancing act all day every day. Did we get enough fiber today? Did we get too much fiber today? Did he poop enough today? Did he poop too much today? Do we have enough disinfectant to survive until bedtime? When is bedtime? Is it now? Please can it be bedtime? How about now?
Today was a day that we lost the battle. Sometime between when Nolan went to bed and when Kirk woke me up this morning, we were struck with a Code Brown. It might even have been one for the record books (except nobody wants that book, so there’s no way it would ever get published...)
Our typical strategy is to divide and conquer. I took Nolan along with the bathroom floor, toilet and any other surface on that end... Kirk started in Nolan’s bedroom. Armed with disinfecting wipes, enzyme cleaner and a healthy vocabulary of cuss words, we went to work.
In the end, we sacrificed a blanket, some old pajama pants, a worn-out comforter and a little of our dignity. And I hate that sometimes things don’t survive these episodes... but sometimes the decision comes down to three questions:
-Is this item worth saving?
-Will saving this item cause more wear and tear on things like the washer and dryer than it’s worth?
-Will I lose my shit if I put in the necessary work to save it?
Believe me, we save more than we sacrifice. But if something is too worn out to donate to the local thrift store (or of we’re confident it will never smell right again), we make the best decision we can.
And really, that’s what this autism parent thing tends to come down to: making the best decisions you can at the time. Heck, that’s what all parenting comes down to. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t. It’s no different than anything else in life, really.
But RIP, Green Bay Packers comforter. Though you’d become threadbare from over-washing, you’ll be missed. At least until we’re distracted by another Code Brown...