To Key or not to Key

When Timothy’s feelings of being out of control rise up (most nights now it seems), he reacts to my locking of the playroom door (which leads down a flight of yellow polka dotted stairs to the office, the laundry room as well as the playroom) by slamming and locking the BATHROOM doors. I MUST lock for safety (obviously) but he locks out of frustration; he’s not capable of stringing words together to yell, ” Stop locking the doors, mom! It’s driving up my autistic tendencies!” Not that that would make any difference though. Not in this situation. This “situation” has become ritualistic and it’s me that wants to yell “STOP! I am going up to BED!”

Today Timothy came home from school, as expected, wearing a new lanyard (speaking of words, that’s a funny one! Never heard that growing up!). He had been waiting all weekend to get it from a favorite teacher. His primary teacher (whom we are so INCREDIBLY blessed to have) spoke to me in an email today about the idea of a house key on the lanyard. A HOUSE KEY??? Doesn’t she realize he wants dangerous independence? If wish were granted, he might try getting up in the night and going out while I was fast asleep and his dad (deaf in one ear) was snoring away on his good side! Too dangerous a risk . Sad too. He is 18 and SHOULD have house key (and under other circumstances would). Well, I thought about it when he came home “asking” for a house key. Instead of saying “no” (always a mistake with the presence of autism front and center), I sent him out after homework along with his caretaker to get a “fun” key from the hardware store alternatively. That would look nice on the lanyard and carry a bit of realistic,( and probably distracting )weight. He had no idea what a ‘fun” key was. It sounded a lovely idea though until he crossed the threshold back again, quickly realizing (by trial and error throughout the house) that the “fun” key was really not going to get him into anywhere! Yes, I am most definitely responsible (in the name of safety) for some of his out-of -control “madness”.

When left to his own devices, Timothy turns on our very technical dishwasher for no apparent reason and has figured out..all on his own… how to print pictures of musicians that he likes by AIR PRINTING FROM HIS IPAD TO OUR PRINTER ( which is behind the locked office door)!

He sat on the floor disappointed this evening when he realized that he could not open the living room door with his “fun” key. He sat looking at the much- coveted digital piano beyond the glass-paneled door just there. I let him in of course but that is not the point.

I am thinking of an LP that I had as a child. ALICE IN WONDERLAND. She wants to go through a tiny door. She drinks something that could be anything (someone wasn’t too concerned about HER safety) and says,” if it (the drink) makes me taller I can reach the key(on the table) and if it makes me smaller I can fit under the door…and either way, I get to the other side!” She gets taller. The narrator goes on to say,” she picked up the little key in her hand, but when she bent down, she realized she would never get through. Why even one of her eyes was bigger than the whole door…” I was reminded of that as I saw Timothy expectantly trying to open the glass-paned door to our living room. I decided then and there that he should have a key to the living room to get to what has become HIS piano (even though it was a wedding present to me from my husband!). I am planning on getting him a duplicate key (we practiced saying that word today) tomorrow so that his lanyard will hold a real key that he can happily use to open just one door without me opening a can of worms in the process.

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