Fun fact – as of right now, Ry is an 18-year-old who acts like a toddler and is built like a kid in junior high. To know him is to love him. He has one of the happiest temperaments you can find. His laugh can be contagious. He rarely cries or throws a fit – the only part that doesn’t fit the toddler description. He makes messes like a tornado hitting a trailer park. He is also stubborn as a mule on Sunday – he gets that from both his parents. Lucky kid. He’s non-verbal but will drag you wherever he needs you in order get what he wants. There is usually little doubt what he wants you to do for him. He likes toy cars, his tablet and wrapping himself up in his favorite blue comforter. He loves slinkies and making patterns with his lego blocks or K’nex sticks. The thing he doesn’t like – clothes.
The boy hates to wear clothes! It was cute when he was 6 but not now that he’s 18! If you come to my house, I guarantee you’ll hear me yell, “Ryland Asher, where are your pants?!” at least once. We had a bar-b-que one weekend with many guests congregated in the back yard. Ry, who generally hates crowds and would rather play quietly alone in his room, went to the sliding glass door and ended up mooning all our guests. He was mostly unclothed when he got there but finished right there in front of God and everyone. He was quite the hit. I, however, was mortified.
He’s gotten better since we started in-home ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy. At least he keeps his clothes on for the most part now when he gets home from school or after we get home from running an errand. The weekends when we don’t leave the house with him though, forget it. Clothes are not an option as far as he is concerned. They are only meant to be worn if you are going someplace important. Otherwise, pull-ups are acceptable lounging attire.
One can also judge how well his day is going by how much of his clothing stays on once he walks in the door. Some days it’s just his shirt that comes off. A bad day means stripping to his pull-up. When his socks come off, Lord help us! There have been times when he strips in the car after I pick him up from school!! Nothing like driving down the road with a naked kid in your back seat – the looks I have gotten! I know the neighbors must think we’re nuts but are too nice to say anything. Watching a kid with nothing but a pull-up on get out of the car in the middle of the afternoon. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen near as often as it used to.
Ryland also has a tendency to eat his clothes. Specifically, his shirt collars and socks. Yes, I said socks. One time when I picked him up from school the teacher’s assistant stopped me and said, “You notice he only has one sock on…”
To which I replied, “Let me guess, he ate the other one.”
Jaw wide open, he answered, “Yes! I have never in my life seen anything like that!”
“He’s been known to eat his shoes too. Stick around a while.” And then I laughed, and he laughed, but I was dead serious.
Now to be clear, he doesn’t eat the whole sock! That would just be too much fiber for his little body to take. He does, however, chew strings loose to create large holes in the cuffs of his socks. He chews the strings like gum. And yes, some of those things do come out the other end on occasion. Those are the most interesting pull-up changes. You think a poop nugget is just a poop nugget until it doesn’t move so easy and then you have to keep pulling and pulling. Then he realizes it doesn’t feel right and starts moving away. Good times!
I’d love to say he only strips at home or in the privacy of our own vehicle, but no. That isn’t the case. He’ll strip anywhere at anytime if the mood strikes him. Imagine being in a store and having to redress your 15-year-old kid because he just got too hot – or whatever his motivation is. But he just laughs and laughs. If he could talk, I bet he has a wicked sense of humor. There was another time at school when he was much younger that he lost a shoe. One shoe!! They found it behind a trash can or some other odd place the next day but how does that happen?!
Sometimes I think he’s got it right though. How many of us wish we could get away with running around in just our underwear? At least he’s comfortable and who can fault him for that. As a good mother though, I must stay on him about keeping his britches on. Society frowns upon those whose underwear shows too much.