I don’t like to throw the Asperger’s card around much when referencing the boy, but there are times when I can’t deny he has the syndrome. While not all kids who have Asperger’s behave the same, there are some common threads which run between them. One thread is hygiene. You have read my rants and raves when it comes to the boy using deodorant, but I really thought he grasped the need to use the stuff when earlier this year his carpool kicked him out. “Oh, they can actually smell me?” He asked, surprised the answer was YES!
I suppose there will always be hiccup days, like yesterday when I dropped him off at school. “Oh Mom, I forgot my gym bag, could you run home and get it?” “Sorry bay, I have to get to work…” I said. Looking back at him, I asked, “Did you put deodorant on today?” As he closed the door he said, “No, I wait until after gym class” then turned and walked toward the building. Sitting there in my car I was left shaking my head wondering “What flawed logic is that?”
Seated at the optometrist’s office yesterday, while they put a temporary fix on his broken glass temple, I looked adoringly over at my handsome son and noticed a number of blemishes which cropped up along his hairline and nose area i.e. his greasy areas. “You know bay when we go home if you take a hot washcloth and some soap and thoroughly clean those areas, I’ll bet they will start to clear up. The boy sat there nonplussed, trying his best to ignore his mother’s notice and merely grunted in reply.
On a hunch, I asked him, “Do you wash your face?”I expected to hear, “What do you think? Or What a dumb question or Leave me alone Mom”. Instead, he replied “No”.
Stunned I replied, “Wha?” and looked hard at him. “No, I don’t like to wash my face, so I don’t”. Baaay… Bay! Are you serious? You’re pulling my leg, right?” “No, I don’t want to get soap in my eyes”. He said in a very straightforward manner. “Not even when you’re in the shower?” I asked still in shock! “There isn’t enough time in the morning plus, I told you, I don’t like soap in my eyes or near my nose or mouth. I figure whatever shampoo residue that slides down my face is good enough. Grasping at straws I asked “What about those acne wipes I brought home for both of you?” hoping this would surely explain his aversion to using soap on his face. “I used one wipe, but didn’t like the antiseptic smell or how my face felt afterward”.
Keenly aware we were out in public, I stuttered trying to come up with an adequate reply. Employing odd facial expressions, I began, “Well….um, huh…” then paused a moment longer to collect my thoughts before adding, “When we get home, I will show you how to properly wash your face with a hot washcloth and soap, without getting any into your eyes, nose or mouth.” He nonchalantly shrugged in reply. When we arrived home, I marched him into the bathroom so I could properly show him how to wash his face with soap and water. “Just like when you were a baby…” I said numerous times, reinforcing how gentle and easy the task is. In addition this morning while in the shower, I reminded him to wash his face, which he complied and later I complimented him on.