Shock and Autism*

[*Forewarning: R-Rated for bawdy language. Senstitive readers should not stray below the photograph.]

Sometimes, Roman can't leave words well enough alone. He's constantly stringing them out, and marrying them together in unholy ways.

Playing around in the neighborhood when he was five, Roman asked me to get his coat for him. When I couldn't find it, he informed me "It's on the hooker." Mercy!

When his older brother Quinn was at summer camp, we went to visit with 6-year old Roman. Thing was that we couldn't find Quinn- we tried the docks, the fields, and were walking some back trails when we passed a couple of boys. Roman stopped them and asked "'Scuse me, have you seen Kin-kin? I think he's in his cabinet."

And just a couple of weeks ago, Roman needed me to get his snow pants. They were "on top of the coat racket." Obviously.

Cuter than aminals and pasketti, right? But there are times we wished he'd been a little more discreet. (Hold the little.) *Cue PTSD flashback music, I’m going in. Do not let this cute Kindergarten picture fool you.

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That time in the Whole Foods. 7 years old and still in the little grocery cart seat, he'd asked to smell the shampoo that his sister and I had just put back on the shelf. Good language- he’s connecting!, I think. And I feel other shoppers lingering to hear his verdict as I pop the cap and hold it under his nose. He takes a dramatic whiff, and says "Ew! Smells like pussy!" I grant you- it’s not the best shampoo slogan.

After a lovely dinner in North Carolina with my father, sister, and niece, the waiter asked what we would like for dessert. Unable to stand the silent tension, 10-year old Roman pipes up with "pussy!" Whatttt? I didn't even see that on the menu!

A couple of years ago at the German restaurant in Portland, the waitress came by to take our order. She was waiting with her pad and pencil, and I leaned over to ask "Roman, what would you like to eat?" He is unpredictable, once ordering a "side of fire" at a barbecue restaurant in Georgia. But not this night. He looks straight at the waitress and says "I would like some dick." Awesome. I’m thinking he meant sausage? But points awarded for changing up the punch line this time.

Where he picks up these smutty words is anyone’s guess, but one has to admire the absolute precision of his timing. He wields choice words like weapons- pulling the pin at just the right moment in the script. Perhaps it’s more a matter of proximity and personal space; we unwittingly set off Roman’s tripwires, leaving him just enough of a dramatic pause to trigger the verbal landmines. Shock and awe, camouflaged just below the surface of polite conversation.

In any case, lesson learned: when your sense of humor is running a bit gimpy, it’s probably best to eat at home. *wink*


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