What a gorgeous string of days. Deepening into Fall, the morning air begins crisp changing to a gentle golden warmth for our personal afternoon enjoyment. The best time of the year, in my opinion, to get out – before the deepening of the season turns into the snows that are sure to come.

Dawning the bling known as her harness, the Bichon Frise struts herself excitedly down the sidewalk. I get to come along. Shes a stunner, but she hardly knows it. As friendly as they come, she’s only looking to make another friend – a friend out of any bird, dog, cat, human or bug. This fuzzy little girl has never met a stranger.

With Autism in the family, discipline is considered a four letter word. It’s difficult to punish behaviors, odd and unleveled as they come, since it is considered the first form of communication. Observation and tolerance leads into a word, statement and ultimately a sentence to share a thought, passion or even irritation with a person on the Spectrum.

The dogs grew in the same home – and have inherited a bevy of “abject behaviors” that escalate the moment she moves herself out the front door with that certain saucy swagger that only a Bichon possesses.

Delicious smells coupled with delirious freedoms await the very recipient of the “Pretty Girl Walk”. Shortly out the door we start with a full on “Jesus Christ Pose”. Nose down, legs straight out – for what can only be known as a “Full Body Sniff.” (I sense you can visualize my nemesis in action, no?) I execute the first “heliport” lift from the top of her harness of the day.

She jogs, I waddle. We argue repeatedly. The poor man coming our direction? He was almost taken down by her attentions. He said shes a good girl, cute too while I heliport her, again, and turn the corner towards home.

Awesome! Here comes the Quail trying to make a run across the street! “Mom, Mom, MOMMMMMMMM!!! Let’s GO! GO! GOOD LORD MOM MOVE IT, MOVE IT, MOVE IT!!!!!!!”

Faltering on the drag of the leash, I trip, fall and now I am in full “Jesus Christ Pose” facedown on the turf. Swearing towards erectness she, not so patiently, waits. I turn again to limp home. Beautiful. Another classic Annie move. She darts, I drift and die.

Arriving home we meet up with Lilly, a shadow in size and personality to Annie. Flinging her bling, the big girl turns and smiles, yes SMILES after us. She so knows she possesses the worst behaviors imaginable. She knows she struts and brags. She smells kitchen scents through the windows to the outside. She senses when someone is thinking of going to the refrigerator. We are not in control of our home, Annie is.

With a heavy sigh I turn to Lilly. “Tomorrow little one. Tomorrow we will win a battle, together.”
We look to Annie and I swear, I swear it to my grave….she winked back at us. That saucy little wench, she winked, turned and sauntered off. “Annie!” ~ Wendy Frye

“Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.” ~ Ann Landers




The location: Family Home Front

The players:

Son #1: Diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum at 3 1/2, didn’t speak until he was 8, has progressed nicely since and has graduated high school this past spring.

Son #2: Super hero of the family, considerate, funny, polite, and smarter than most humanoids I know who is home that day with a sore throat and little fever.

The Scene: Living room, complete with two new red couches (purchased on a whim by my husband while grocery shopping this past summer), with Son #2 home sick with laryngitis, Son #1 is essentially grounded – his plans to go to the art gallery “RUINED!”

Son #2 lays on smaller couch, freshly showered, helping himself to my iPad to watch another past episode of “Top Gear”.

Son #1 emerging from the basement researching artists on the web, studying their forms and styles to see what is happening.

Me, I’m in the kitchen (again!) doing another sink of dishes. Let me tell you, the “Early Retirement Gods” have some twisted sister humor. The day I “retired” the dishwasher went on the fritz and the lawn mower threw a rod. Picked up the lawn mower (Good Lawd, wouldn’t want the neighbors to think my husband a heathen by not mowing in a timely manner, would we?) leaving me now scanning the ads for a blockbuster sale on a dishwasher. So, anywhoo – in the meantime I tackle and tame the ever breeding army of plates and spoons the old fashioned way, by hand. (fake smile)

Son #2 has been answering my questions with the memo app on my iPad – saving his voice for someone else I guess. Son #1, who uses the app for his doodles and drawings, is a little ticked his brother has (again) hijacked his shit. “What’s WRONG with you!” He bellows at his brother. I explain, “he’s got laryngitis, be cool and cut him some slack.”

Stomp. Stomp, STOMP! Into the kitchen comes #1. I jerk my head away from my sudsy hell hole to see #1 grab my refrigerator black erase memo board. He whips open the pen, jots a note, holds it to his chest and proceeds to beat like Tarzan to get his brothers attention.

#2 doesn’t waiver, scribbles a hasty reply – #1 wipes and retorts…this goes on for a few rounds, my head watching the literacy ping pong match in front of my very own eyes.

Soon, #1 wipes the board for the last time and heads back downstairs. I look over at #2, still on the couch with my eye brow in full Spock mode. He shook his head with a wry grin and went back to his program. I grabbed a towel, wiped the suds off the floor and turned back to my drudgery.

I never asked after the context of the exchange, only marveled in the moment that we’ve come this far. Silent bickering. my eldest, the one who took so long to find his voice, facilitating communication with his temporarily silenced brother.

Life is good. Little things matter. And swearing at each other with facilitated communication devices in our home? Acceptable. ~ Wendy Frye

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” ~ Richard Bach