He was two years old and classically autistic. He couldn’t speak, walk or pay attention when I spoke. He ran non-stop and never slept.
I had adopted four boys like this and they all slept (or rather stayed put) in the various beds (one on each wall) of the same room. That is because there was only one of me.
I lay on the floor in the center of the group trying to grab a minute or two of sleep between bouts of misbehavior from various boys in various beds.
This went on for years,
As I tried to assimilate and create the adoption adaption of four special needs multiply handicapped autistic boys.
Slowly but surely they all learned to sleep. Most of the time.
But this story begins in the first year when the two year old was learning to stay in his crib (he couldn’t walk but he sure could climb). My plan was to move him to a bed as soon as he learned to not get up for at least an hour at a time.
I was belly crawling toward the door in an attempt to sneak from the room for a much needed pee when he started to laugh. I froze in place. Listening. Quiet resumed, and I started to crawl. He started to laugh. I froze, Quiet. Crawl. Laugh. Freeze. Quiet. Crawl. Laugh. Freeze.
This time I stayed still and heard a small ‘Poof!’ before he giggled.
What was that? I listened longer, my hand frozen on the door knob above my head.
‘Poof’ More laughter.
‘BRRPT!’ rolling laughter with tummy holding glee emitted from his bed. He was farting and surprising himself with joy.
Apparently, farts are funny. Inherently funny. I peed myself a little trying not to laugh, too.
I lay there for awhile waiting for his gas to go 😀 , pondering the phenomena. I had just learned something I hadn’t known before.
In fact, I had always argued that children laughed at farts because we made a big deal of them. But here he was, alone, out of the normal social awareness loop, and laughing at the vibrations of his body’s noises.
Apparently, Farts Are Just Funny. All on their own.
Eleven years later that boy and I were in a courtroom waiting for his brother’s name to be called. (His brother had been given a ticket at school for fighting. This among other things was the reason I began – successfully- home schooling them all a week later. )
Anyway, the courtroom was quiet and we were just waiting to hear the next name on the list when my used to be two year old crib sleeper farted.
He laughed. And so – one person at a time in a slow roll of amused embarrassment- did everyone in the room. Everyone but the bailiff. The laughter grew to a stifled crescendo and my son outright laughed in the same moment that the bailiff’s stare stopped all other sound into a gulp of fear.
The bailiff chewed my son, and then me, out using words like ‘Disgusting’ and ‘Shit disturber’. I tried to point out that it was only gas not ‘shit’ and my other son, who doesn’t allow anyone to be angry with me, started making strange warning noises at the bailiff. The bailiff took a step back and noticed for the first time my clan of special children.
She immediately removed us from the courtroom saying that there was no room for people like us there.
Unfortunately, she kept the son that was waiting to hear his name.
So there I was: volleying between the lobby and the courtroom amidst clouds of methane gas assuring one child that Farts Are Funny but that not everyone had a sense of humor so in some instances containment was the goal. Meanwhile I was calming ‘Mister Don’t Mess With My Mom’ and assigning ‘Mister Pretty Responsible’ to watch everyone while I tried to get ‘Mister Fisticuffs’ out of trouble.
His name was called and I pointed out the error on the ticket (forgotten date) and the case was thrown out.
We headed for the car, I told my son he got lucky but that fighting was still not okay. I began thinking about homeschooling because I was pretty sure our being so disliked by others was behind the fights. We got in the beater-mobile and left the parking. It had a steep driveway that knocked off my muffler which I threw in the trunk.
I was driving stressed and full of worries, afraid of a ticket for excessive noise, when my littlest and now verbal autistic son said, “Hey Mom it sounds like the car is farting.” He started farting along with it.
We all laughed because he was right. Farts Are Funny, and funny is a gift.
Release! And smile your way through … everything.