Several years ago I wrote this short piece about Aaron and the covers on his bed.
Helping Aaron change his sheets today reminded me once again of another characteristic of Aspergers – an insistence on sameness. Aaron wants every wrinkle pulled out of his covers when we’re putting them on his bed, and there is one smaller blanket that must be centered. Not only that, but he likes several blankets, in addition to his sheet, and they must be put on his bed in a particular order.
I remember once, several years ago, that as I helped him change his sheets I decided that there was a better order for the blankets to be put on the bed. My order made it easier to tuck the sheet and blankets under the mattress. So I matter-of-factly showed him my plan as I changed up his plan for the Order of the Covers. He said he didn’t like it. So very patiently I showed him again that my Order of the Covers was a good Order of the Covers. The same covers were included as always but in a different order. Aaron stood there pondering and the only word that he heard, as I would soon discover, was the word “different.” Not the word “better” or the word “good,” but only the word “different” – which is not a favorite word of Aaron’s. He complied with my plan at that time, and so we completed the bed making with the new Order of the Covers. I trotted happily on my way without giving that exchange a further thought.
Until the next morning. Aaron usually makes his bed before leaving the house, but something that next morning didn’t seem right about his bed and so I took a look. AH HAH!! After we had gone to bed the night before, Aaron got up and changed the Order of the Covers back to HIS Order of the Covers. “Well, well, well,” I thought. Two can play this game! And I changed the Order of the Covers back to MY Order of the Covers. HaHa! That’ll show him! Neither of us said a word that night before bed, but don’t you know that when I got up the next morning he had changed the Order of the Covers back to HIS Order of the Covers again?! We went back and forth then for several days in our silent battle over the Order of the Covers. Finally, though, I faced reality. Did I really want to spend the rest of my life remaking his bed every morning? Was this issue really worth that? Nah, I didn’t think it was.
I conceded. He won the Battle of the Order of the Covers. Good grief, I may as well admit it. He won the whole war!
Well, as of last August Aaron has a newly painted room along with a new bedspread, new valence on his windows, new pictures on his walls….new, new, new! I wrote about his insistence on keeping his books on the floor beside his bed, despite the NEW lined basket that I have in his night stand for just that purpose. Aaron doesn’t really care about new lined baskets nearly as much as he cares about his routine of keeping his books and notebooks on the floor beside his bed in a tidy little row. So just like I quit fighting the order of the covers, I also quit fighting the books on the floor.
Now we have yet another war. This one concerns his bedspread. His nice new bedspread. I noticed something funny about it one day as I helped him make his bed or change his sheets….I don’t remember. But I do remember that something wasn’t right about his bedspread on one side. I pulled and tugged, only to find that the whole right side was tucked in, like a sheet. But you don’t tuck bedspreads in like you tuck in sheets.
Aaron noticed me looking at the bedspread as I tried to figure out what was wrong with it.
“Mom, I like stuffing it,” he said.
“Ah, stuffing it,” I replied as I began to understand what he had done.
“Yeah, I stuff it,” he went on.
Well, I proceeded to unstuff the bedspread as we made his bed. I explained that we don’t tuck bedspreads in like we do sheets.
“Why?” Aaron asked.
And I explained that bedspreads are made to hang down nicely, all smooth and pretty, and not be tucked in.
“So I shouldn’t stuff it?” he asked.
“No,” I answered. “You don’t stuff it.”
So you can guess that over the next few weeks I have often found that his bedspread has been stuffed. I have then unstuffed it. But at night, as he and I get his room ready for bed or maybe after I leave the room, he stuffs the bedspread again.
The other night he saw me staring down at the stuffed bedspread once again. I looked at him and didn’t have to say a word.
“You don’t want me stuffing it, Mom?” he asked
“Right, Aaron,” I answered for the umpteenth time. “You do not stuff your bedspread.”
“You mean you don’t want me stuffing it because you can’t see it?” he wanted to know.
And I told him it was something like that. Explanations don’t matter one bit to Aaron, I have learned. Pretty hanging bedspreads matter not at all to him, either.
So today I found once again that his bedspread had been stuffed. I asked him to please tell me why he stuffed it.
“Well,” he began in all seriousness. “I lean my feet against the side and they halfway come out under the blankets.”
Aaron doesn’t like his feet coming out halfway under the blankets. I didn’t even bother to ask him what position he had to be in for this to happen. I know that we are in another war and that Aaron will win this bedspread war as he also won the war of the order of the covers.
So now instead of saying, “Bring it on!!” – I say, “You know, it doesn’t really matter in the great scheme of things.”
I will make his bed the way I want it made on the days that I have the opportunity, but otherwise, stuffed it will be.
I’m just thankful that Aaron makes his bed, to one degree or another. And maybe we’ll come to a compromise…..stuffed at night, unstuffed in the morning.
A sleeping bag on top of his bed is sounding better all the time, actually.