Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Effin' Sheep Movie Story, or Fun with Echolalia

The boy has never been a good sleeper.  I have to remind myself of this whenever I start waxing sentimental and idealizing his babyhood.  Yes, he was a lovely baby.  We could take him anywhere and he would go to anyone.  He would coo and laugh and go with the flow.  But he did not sleep.

At first, I didn't really notice.  Sure, I couldn't put him in his crib while he was still awake like I did with his brother, but I didn't mind.  He was my baby and we weren't having any more.  I'd rock him to sleep and love every second of it.

Ah, but then I went back to work.  And the kid still wouldn't sleep.  Or rather, he'd fall asleep and wake up in the middle of the night, much like he does now.  In the early days, we'd park him in his pack-and-play in front of the t.v. and play a Baby Einstein video on repeat all night.  Then one of us would flop out on the couch and doze to the sounds of the music box orchestra.

(Side note:  Have you ever learned something from a Baby Einstein video and played it off like it's just something you know?  Oh, that tune?  That’s Mozart.  Oh, and that’s a painting by Van Gogh.  Yeah, his yellow period.  What do mean you can’t tell the difference between Bach and Handel?  Bach is a bunny and Handel is a turtle.  Duh.)

Fast-forward a couple of years, and the boy still wasn’t sleeping and he was still into Baby Einstein.  (A friend of mine calls those videos Baby Crack.  They’re also Autism Toddler/Preschooler-and-Beyond Crack.) So, his latest obsession was the Baby Einstein Lullaby Time.  I thought it would be soothing.  I didn't expect him to stim on the sheep puppet. 
A feast of stuffed animals!

It was a really awful time for us because he was up all hours and he was a lot more mobile.  It was around this time that he first buttered the couch.  (I say "first" because we had several couch-buttering incidents before we finally put an industrial lock on the fridge.)  He also wasn't very good at telling us what he wanted.  He had a few words and signed a little, but he often used his own language to describe what he wanted.  For example, the Baby Shakespeare video was called the "Blah Movie."  Why?  Because the dragon puppet says "Blah!", but not in that movie.  He says "Blah!" in Baby Mozart.  I suspect you know this already.

So, we'd had several sleepless nights in a row when the boy woke up at three (again!) and started pitching a fit.  I brought him into the living room so he didn't wake the rest of the house, and prepared myself for some weeping and movie charades.  Instead, I got this:

"I want the fucking sheep movie, please."

Clear as a bell, but I couldn't even respond.

"Wuh, what?"
"I want the fucking sheep movie, pleeeeeease, Mommy!" he wailed, adding signs for emphasis.
"You want the flock of sheep movie?" I thought a little redirection was in order.
"OK!  The sheep movie it is!" And I started the movie.

He curled up on the couch, snuggled with his Pooh Bear, and muttered, "Yes, sheep movie, sheep movie, fucking sheep movie."  I returned to the bedroom and pulled the covers off my husband.

"Dude," I began in the sternest voice I could muster.  "Is there any reason why our son just asked to watch the fucking sheep movie?!"

It took him a second to respond.  He rubbed his eyes and yawned.

"Perhaps, in a moment of weakness at three a.m., I may have said something like, Fine, I'll put on the fucking sheep movie,"  he admitted.
"Well, great, because now our three year-old is asking for the fucking sheep movie," I sighed.
"OK, but did he ask in a complete sentence?"
"Well, there you go," he grinned, rolled over, and was instantly asleep.


  1. My daughter recently said "Get me that fucking toy right now mommy!" She is 4 and has autism and it was her longest spontaneous sentence. Aww, tears.
    And the "buttering the couch" line made me laugh my ass off.
    great post--

  2. I really wish that the whole buttering the couch thing was just something I made up!

    1. no i can totally see it happening here. it just hasn't occurred to my kids *yet*

  3. We have to keep an eye on the fridge because my son likes to chop things. Any food product will do. Thank God he hasn't thought to experiment with spreadables yet. Also, he's fond of calling people jackass. Not even to be rude, he just heard it somewhere. I, of course, have no idea where...

    1. Excellent. We're all in this together! (By the way, I love, love, love your username!)

  4. wow @ couch buttering! My son's never done that, but my son just turned 13. He still loves blues clues. It's been a while, but every now and again when he's super into one of his BC moods. He'll make up his own blues clues and start writing blue paw prints in blue crayons on random objects around teh house.

    One day, i pass the table and saw one of my bowl lids we sometimes double as a microwavable plate. It had a pawprint drawn on it. I pick it up, hold it in the air and called his name. He turns around to see what i'm calling him for. I'm like.. "hey what's this?" He jumps up all excited. "IT'S A CLUE! IT'S A CLUE, LOOK MOM YOU FOUND A CLUE! LET'S WRITE IT IN OUR HANDY DANDY NOTEBOOK!" Then, he dashed off to get one. Around that time, they would sometimes pop up on a few interesting things.

    Right now, our current obsessions is Little Big Planet (for ps3) and Little Einsteins.

  5. I had to giggle as that sounds almost like my 6 yr old boy! Lol

  6. That was great!!! Sounds just like my house.

  7. I'm so comforted by all of you. Really really.

  8. Singing my life with your song... My daughter has started to carry butter around in her pockets. :-) Our kids are older, so they were/are into effin Blues Clues (only the ones with Steve)

  9. Butter in her pockets?! How do you wash that out? Before we went dairy-free, the boy used to steal sticks of butter and eat them. One time, I held out my hand, and he spit an entire stick of mushy butter into my hand. Gross!

  10. Must share this hilarious post from a friend:

  11. At least it was a complete sentence. Celebrate the good things ;) Amazing the things they imitate isn't it. We always laugh cause it's never the things we want them to do...

  12. My nephew (on the spectrum) requests Wiggles videos by yelling "I'm going to poke my eyeball out", presumably as my sister (his mom) has often commented that "I'm going to poke my eyeball out if I have to sit through one more Wiggles video".

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Just spit out my drink! Brilliant!