Pranks and Autism

PranksThe Boy has had an increased interest in pranks lately, and has even gone so far as to persuade Grammy to purchase the old snakes-in-the-peanut-brittle prank from a joke shop for him.  She did, and brought it with her when they came to visit, and it was a big hit, at least with The Boy.  The rest of us quickly tired of trying to smush the “snakes” back in the can.  After a day or two, the novelty wore off a bit, and we were off the hook.

At school, The Boy chose a different prank.  An old-school prank that could actually hurt people: the old tack-on-the-teacher’s-chair prank.  And in a roundabout fashion, his ASD teacher discovered that The Boy was the culprit.

She handled it magnificently, understanding that at the root of this was his autistic self not understanding that the prank can be funny in cartoons, but could actually hurt people, and is so not cool or funny.  They discussed it, she told him she would keep his secret, and resolved to keep an eye on him, hoping that the talk did the trick.

And then he was caught being sneaky again.

He wasn’t doing the prank again, but he asked to get a drink and she followed him.  And he made several stops in vacant classrooms and hallways where he should not have been.  And he got busted.  He was unhappy, but she told him that she couldn’t trust him at his word anymore.  He values his independence so keenly, but that was what had to be taken away because of his actions.  They developed a plan to earn it back, and he will have to have supervision at the beginning of this week when he leaves the room, then the supervision will be gradually lessened until he earns his independence back at the end of the week, IF he has complied with the terms of the agreement: going only where he’s supposed to, no pranks, no sneaking, no meltdowns about the rules.

He’s learning – this is foreign territory and I am so thankful that he has a teacher that gets that this is an autism/social cue thing rather than a disciplinary issue.

All that’s left is encouragement that he can do this, he can earn his independence back, and hope that he learns from this experience!

A Different IKEA Effect on Singlemomdom


I can remember living in the same house the three of us lived in, only after the divorce, and the toilet seat broke.  Having a broken toilet seat is not just something you can live with, so I needed to solve the problem for myself, especially with an octogenarian landlord.  I went and purchased a new seat, and installed it myself, and for the first time, I realized that I really could do this being single thing.


After dividing up our assets, I needed some new furniture.  At the very least, I needed new things to look at if I had to stay in the same house.  My parents had come up to stay for a month or so, to help me purchase a car and get things settled before the school year started.  Enter IKEA.  I think I spent $800 in one day.  I had never, ever spent that much money in one place at one time, ever in my life.  But as some of you may know, $800 goes a long way at IKEA.


And as you may also know, IKEA purchases are almost always un-assembled, meaning you have to put them together.  It was a project, but with my parents’ help, we got it done, and it really started to feel like a different place, with my personal touches (including a duvet cover with flowers on it, just because I could).


And since that time, I have made more purchases, always putting it all together myself.  And every time it reminds me of how strong I have become, how capable, and how independent one can be, even when they don’t know it.  IKEA was good therapy for this single mom, and I suspect for many others out there.  If you are struggling with the emotions of a divorce, get yourself to an IKEA store, bring home a project, build it yourself, and give yourself a little reminder that yes, indeed, you can do this.


English: Logo of Ikea.

For the record, this post was inspired by this story on NPR, and also for the record, not all IKEA furniture is pressboard junk.