Monday, October 15, 2012


Play is an odd thing to me. It's some kind of back and forth pretend game with no rules. Aspergers, of course, doesn't know the rules to NORMAL social interaction, so the rules to play are absolutly baffling. 

Tony Attwood says in "Aspergers and Girls": "They often lack reciprocity in their natural social play and can be too controlling when playing with their peers. This is illustrated in Liane Holliday-Willey's autobiography.
The fun came from setting up and arranging things. Maybe this desire to organize thigns rather than play with things is the reason I never had a great interest in my peers. They always wanted to use the things I had so carefully arranged. They would want to rearrange and redo. They did not let me control the environment.

I find this to be exactly how I remember being as a child. I took GREAT pleasure out of organizing all of Barbie's things. When we finally got a "closet/box" for Barbie, all I did was organize things. It disturbed me greatly when pieces (ie: a shoe) was missing, because then the set wasn't complete. I do remember playing scenes and stuff, but honestly, I would rather set up and organize. 

I am still this way. My son is very interactive. He loves to be interacted with, played with. When it comes to legos, I can spend long long hours doing what I did with legos as a child: organizing, separating, building. But when it comes to acting out a play scene, I'm overwhelmed and clueless. Then of course I feel extremely guilty for not wanting to play with my son, for not knowing how, for not feeling comfortable, and for not being "able" to let go of my own selfish feelings (yes, I feel they are selfish feelings) to set that all aside to make my son happy. 

I have played with him, don't get me wrong. And he doesn't seem to mind at all that I organize and build with his legos instead of playing. A recent lego time ended up being 12 hours in 2 days of constant organizing and building. If a piece is missing, I'm extremely frustrated, and I hesitate to use another similar sized piece in another color, because that's not the piece that belongs there. It is frustrating to me, beating myself up inside because I can't seem to move beyond that. 

Board games I can do. Board games have definite rules. There isn't a lot of creativity required. Games like charades I hate because you have to do a lot of imaginative thinking, and the spotlight is on you when you are acting out a word. I don't like that very much. But a board game with rules is something I can get behind. 

We have played a lot of board games. Brody likes that. Sometimes though he gets upset to lose, even though in Candy Land you lose and win in one card's draw, so it goes back and forth. Eventually he wants to play pretend walking around the board. Or with The Game of Life, he likes to drive the cars around the board playing after we've played a game. (He probably wouldn't play the game for real if I didn't insist on it, honestly.)

So anyway, I have a lot of frustration over this. I have noticed my son prefers the company of someone who will play with him, which hurts a little. Some people might think that I'm simply being selfish, or that I'm an aloof parent, or disconnected, or something. Honestly, I DO WANT to play with him. I just do not have the slightest idea what he wants from me. If I can get him to direct me in what he wants me to do, thats ok. But most of the time it ends up him wanting me to do some pretend stuff, and I find that hard. Most of the time he does the talking which is nice. He is an extremely talkative boy, always talking, always in motion. So I think I give myself too hard of a time over this. Sometimes he just wants me to be there saying "Yup, Uh Huh, Yup, Okay...". Which IS better than nothing. 

Can you imagine not being able to play with your child? I mean, imagine the feeling you have not being able to play with your child because you are sick. And remember, you know being sick is temporary, and when you are feeling better you can go back to normal.
For me, it is like I'm "sick" all the time. I try to avoid it. I try to do something else, like housework, or blogging, or reading. 

But I can't help the nagging in my heart that I should do more. I know my son knows I love him. In all other aspects, I am emotionally and physically loving, connected and fulfill his needs and snuggling and all of that. I know that is probably more than some Aspies are capable of. I remember pre-diagnosis I was told I couldn't have Aspergers because I do express love and affection. I feel love and affection very deeply, yet it is a very selected thing. I have always had a deep bond with children and animals, and definitely I allow my parents to be "human" despite all the reasons a person COULD be mad at them, I obviously have an unstoppable bond to them. My husband is absolutly adored and I cannot live without his closeness and affection. I crave it almost all the time. My brother is almost like a child to me (I was 11 when he was born, and from both my love for him and my already strong bond with children I feel at times I was a mother to him as much as our mother was - a responsibility I choose/took, NOT one that was forced upon me.)

But I DO have Aspergers. I DO have difficulties with social issues and relational issues in all of the above persons. Now try adding people I don't have a close affection for, and sometimes the waters get a bit murky. I have a hard time with other family members. I have a hard time with people who SHOULD be bonded to me, but do not act like it. I have problems with people I thought were better when I was a child, and have "let me down" as I realize their "humanness" (I know I made that word up). I have problems with people who do not seem to understand my need for space and autonomy. I have trouble with people who "play games" with relationships, cause drama, give the cold shoulder, etc. I have HUGE problems with people who blame others, when the OBVIOUS cause of their problems is themselves. Don't get me wrong, I probably do some of these things to others without realizing it. When I'm emotional sometimes I just don't realize the hypocriticalness ... Maybe that's why other people do it too. 

Anyway. Play. I have a lot of frustrating surrounding this inability of mine. It's not that I have "forgotten" to play, but rather that I honestly don't think I ever knew how.

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