Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Take This!

I seem to have a theme going this week and unfortunately, it's the toilet. When you have a child with autism, I don't know if the toilet being a theme can be a good thing, unless of course it is the excitement of them finally being potty trained. Even then that probably comes with some skepticism and worry. I believe I said we hadn't had problems in years. Talk about jinxing yourself! Although this was completely an accident, I found myself, literally, ankle deep in it yesterday morning, approximately 5 minutes after my eyes opened to what I was imagining to be a lovely summer day. WRONG.

Daniel was already up and around yesterday, which is pretty typical. Unless my husband is here, Daniel is usually the first one up. These days he keeps busy on the computer or watching movies until someone gets up to make him breakfast. (Three pieces of whole wheat toast NO BUTTER, three slices of bacon and a huge glass of water please!) Zachary was still sleeping and Todd, was at work. Probably very happily at work after my call. I heard some excessive movement, OK I'll admit it, it was 8:15 and I was still in bed. It woke me up and I figured he was rifling through the pantry grabbing some pretzels. I dozed off for another 15 minutes or so, and I clearly remember thinking, "I can go back to sleep for a bit, what's the difference!" That question was soon answered when 15 minutes later I walked into my kitchen on my 18 month old Brazilian walnut hardwood floor and it was all wet.

I then realized that the water was leading from the 1/2 bathroom into the eating area of my kitchen and was stopped there by the 10' round wool rug. My fears were soon realized when I saw that the toilet was plugged up after a morning "visit" there by Daniel. It plugged and overflowed and he WALKED AWAY. I grabbed towels as quickly as possible and started soaking up the water (while thinking of my floors warping and curling). I (count to ten) very calmly and go downstairs to Daniel who was playing computer games and said, "What happened buddy?"

"The toilet is leaking, oh dear." (so he did know and it didn't occur to him to come get me)

I then explained that in our recent "rules" that this would be under the category of "emergency" which means mom or dad should be told right away. EVEN IF THEY ARE IN BED, or outside, or where ever! Come and find us and immediately tell us. I said this all unbelievably quietly and calmly. I even surprised myself this time.

"OK, next time." (this is his favorite answer)

I walked away, dreading the rest of my day. I cleaned up the wet floor, moved the kitchen table and chairs, dragged the heavy WET rug outside onto the (very thankfully) very sunny deck. It crossed my mind that maybe I should wet vac the rug so I went to the basement on the other side from where Daniel was. 3/4 of the basement is finished and 1/4 is the furnace room filled with tools and storage. I walked into the furnace room to see water still dripping from the ceiling, the floor soaking wet, with a trail to the drain and Todd's tool bench covered in "water". Sigh. This was going to be a helluva day.

I asked Daniel to come into the furnace room with me. He said "oh dear everything is wet".

"yes" I replied, "that is because the toilet overflowed and when you let it sit there on the floor it went down vents and between the floor of the bathroom, and then the ceiling of the basement."

His eyes got very big as the realization hit him. Ah consequences. He had NO IDEA what could happen if he left the water on the floor, overflowing. NOW he does. I am going to pat myself on the back because I was so relaxed. He apologized over and over. I told him I just wanted him to understand what could happen and WHY IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO TELL SOMEONE! The fact that the rug spent the day on the deck was disturbing enough to his world. He must have asked me 10 times throughout the day when I'd move it back. I would reply, when it's dry and CLEAN. Finally at the end of the day I moved everything back into it's place. Everything was dry, clean and back in it's rightful spot. This made him visibly relax. He was never really upset or crying during the day, but it obviously made him anxious that things were out of order and he knew he was the cause. He has since told me several times that if that happens again, he'll tell us right away. I think if it's the toilet overflowing he will. But what if it's the sink? or a pipe bursts? or a hose is left on outside? Will he generalize these situations? I don't know. Honestly, I don't think so. But I guess we'll find out, won't we? You never know what's waiting around the next corner in our life. It always seems to me that as soon as I start feeling cocky about how far we've come, something happens as if to say, "hey lady! don't relax too much! You have to be prepared ALL the time. You feeling good? TAKE THIS!"

We've talked a lot about fires at our house recently. We've gone through escape plans, it's in the rules of staying alone, for 30 min or less. Who to call where to go what to do. I guess we didn't cover floods. There are so many things that can come up, you can't cover everything. So last night after my "crappy" day of work, I had Baskin Robbins for DINNER. I deserved it. Take THAT!


Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Oh, I hate the overflowing toilets! Although at least Daniel seemed to understand the consequences of not telling you about it. Nigel is getting better at that too, but the generalizing is still not there yet.

mama edge said...

It must be something in the water. We've had two major clogs this week. Thankfully, my boys love to yell "OVERFLOW!" and then run away from the problem as fast as possible, so that I can work my Plungerella magic on the heaping, stinking mess.

So I guess I should be -- grateful?

JoyMama said...

The insurance companies agree -- you can't cover everything! :(

Maybe I shouldn't be eagerly awaiting the day that my child finally figures out how to use the toilet?

At least you got your Baskin-Robbins...

Anonymous said...

Oh dear.

Wow, though, I admire how you handled it. After seeing that mess, I'm pretty sure I would not be saying, "What happened buddy?" But there's a good lesson for me - Daniel did not realize the consequences until you showed him. Next time I'm tempted to get angry, I'll try to remember that they're just kids and there's still so much they don't get yet.