When did I turn into Miss Emily freakin’ Post?

Z’s psychologist and psychiatrist finally decided that yep, she’s autistic. They are the last people on Earth to come to that conclusion. Seriously, there is no one who has ever met this child and thought to themselves, “Why, that there is one fine specimen of a neurotypical child!” There is a gulf between Z’s brain and a neurotypical 10 year old’s brain large enough to lose the Grand Canyon in.

One of the ways this manifests itself is a complete and utter lack of learning ability about anything other than Disney. One of these things that is not Disney is table manners. I’m not sure why I have chosen this as my windmill to tilt at. I think it is because watching her eat completely grosses me out.

Consequently, I’ve spent years working on her ability to use a fork. I’m not exaggerating there. I’m considering just recording, “Wipe your mouth please” and “Chew with your mouth closed” so I don’t have to say them over and over at every meal.

We were just out for dinner. She had a hamburger. I had already said each of the above phrases (I’m not kidding) at least 5 times. Every time it was like a new idea to her. Her father leaves the table momentarily. She decides to take another bite of her burger. She hunches over the plate with her lips about at the level of the table. She takes a gigantic bite of burger that can not fit in her mouth. She puts the burger down. Bits of bun and meat are hanging out of her mouth. There is ketchup all over her face up to and including all over her nose. Then she says to me, “I don’t really like it” around this humongous amount of food.

I held my palm up. “No,” I said, “Just, no.” She looked at me like she had no idea what I was nattering on about.