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20 Confessions of an Autism Dad

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dad and son sitting near the lake

We are tough. We are strong. We have it all together.

We are so full of it…

Here are my 20 confessions as an autism dad:

1. I have myself convinced that taking a big bite out of my son’s before-school donut before I give it to him is for his own health.

2. Sometimes I’m secretly happy he wants to leave parties so I have an excuse to leave, sit in the car and play Plants vs. Zombies on my iPhone.

3. Sometimes, for brownie points, I spray some Clorox on the kitchen counter right before my wife gets home from work so it smells like I was cleaning the house.

4. My wife bought me a robot to vacuum the pool because I never have time to vacuum it myself. I just spent a half-hour standing poolside and watching it work. Let that sink in a minute.

5. It’s becoming clear to me, for the rest of our lives, the bulk of the arguments I will have with my son will revolve around whether or not he has to go to the bathroom.

6. I’m seriously craving Chuck E. Cheese pizza for lunch.

7. You realize you might’ve gone overboard pumping up the whole Tooth Fairy experience when you catch your kid standing in front of a mirror with a bloody tissue trying to yank one of the suckers out of his head.

8. I’ve actually bought myself a donut as a reward for successfully navigating a social interaction involving small talk.

9. Sometimes I sit down sideways on the edge of my chair in front of my laptop with the intention of just checking email really quickly. Then, 20 minutes later, the throbbing pain through my twisted spine reminds me of my complete lack of self-discipline.

10. None of us really know what the hell we’re doing. Once you figure that out, everything becomes so much easier.

11. I didn’t even entertain the thought of waking him up to brush his teeth when he fell asleep playing in his bed at 7:30 p.m. He ate an apple… that’s like nature’s dental floss, right?

12. “He forgot his octopus”: The only explanation I could muster in response to my neighbor’s befuddled expression as my kid went sprinting out to the pool covered in bath bubbles.

13. I was just vacuuming the floors (because that’s how I roll) and had to pause to admire all the beautiful pictures of our family we’ve collected over the years. It took a while since they’re all stacked behind our couch in shattered and demolished picture frames.

14. My son got a little over-stimulated during a family party at our house and asked to go take a bath. I feigned disappointment and took the bullet… and enjoyed my beer quietly in the bathroom with my little soldier.

15. Whenever my wife makes me fold laundry, I always fold the towels first because they’re the easiest and make the pile go down the fastest. Then I get “distracted” and leave the small stuff for her.

16. Nothing tests your manhood better than your kid using perfect word structure to demand you belt out the Barney “I Love You” song on a crowded elevator.

17. I literally just spun three times in a circle in my living room trying to do eight different things at one time. My brain is oatmeal.

18. He just dozed off watching “Jay Jay the Jet Plane.” I’m currently battling the pleasure of an unexpected afternoon nap with the mind-numbing torture of listening to the “Jay Jay” theme song on a loop. But I dare not move.

19. I don’t even know what the stuff does, but sometimes I put my wife’s conditioner in my hair to prolong the peace and quiet of a shower.

20. I don’t pray enough. But when I do, it’s usually for the strength and discipline not to throw it all away and completely lose my mind if/when someone mistreats or disrespects my son.


Originally published: May 22, 2015
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