Desperate Times Call For…

Autism safetyK: “No, you can’t put the timer in the toilet.”  It seemed such an innocent; such a benign statement at the time.  Me: “No Kirsten, you can’t put the timer in the toilet.”  K: “That’s too dangerous.”  Me: Yes. That’s too dangerous.  You can’t put the timer in the toilet.”  We went round-and-round like this for months.  Until… the toilet didn’t flush so well.  Exactly.  Everybody just take a deeeeep breath.

Me: “Kirsten, what happened to the toilet?”  K: “I don’t know what it is?”  (Her favorite stop-asking-me-questions response).  Make eye contact this time.  Me: “Kirsten.  What – happened – to the toilet?” K: “No, you can’t put the timer in the toilet.”  Really?  R-E-A-L-L-Y?!  Me: “Kirsten, why did you put the timer in the toilet?!”  This is where Kirsten’s receptive language issues are to her benefit.  She has yet to figure out the meaning of “why.”

One dismantled toilet, a coat hanger, and a few hours of delightful father-daughter bonding time and we again had a functioning toilet.  Lesson learned:  When Kirsten repeats something… pay attention.

Fast forward a couple of years…

K: “No, you can’t put the blow dryer in the water.  That’s too dangerous.”  Seriously?!  You know that sound a submarine makes when it goes on high alert? I swear that was playing in the background.  I calmly get the words out, “No, you can’t put the blow dryer in the water.  That’s very dangerous.  Never, never do that.”

When this conversation continued for several days, I knew it was time to pull out the big guns.

K: “No, you can’t put the blow dryer in the water.”  Me: “No Kirsten.  You can’t put the blow dryer in the water or you will turn into an ANGEL.”  You should have seen the look of shock on her face!  Her rapid response, “Kirsten’s not an angel!  She’s tooo little!!  No, you are NOT turn into an angel.”  Me: “Then don’t put the blow dryer in the water.”

Kirsten, being the bright girl that she is, immediately brought me the blow dryer declaring, “Hide it!  Hide the blow dryer!!” and so I did.  The next few months were spent with Kirsten convincing me that she was MUCH too little to become an angel.  My thoughts exactly.

Your turn!  What tactics have you used to keep your child safe?

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6 Responses

  1. Cheryl Boyd says:

    The other day I took my 3-year-old twin boys- Evan and Wyatt to Wildwood, NJ. Wyatt has autism and is more prone to wander. The small gift I got for each of them on our outing was a helicopter that they pushed along on a stick while it made some fun noises. This helped me keep track of them through hearing. If the fun noises stopped, they had stopped.

    I dressed them in a bright color – neon yellow matching shirts. This helped me visually keep track of them and helped other people know that we were together. I will wear something the same bright color in the future so my boys will have an easier time spotting me.

    Whenever one of them would roam a little too far, it would take a while for them to hear me yelling. Then, once they heard me it, would take a few seconds for them to see me. I think I will try this high-pitched shriek we used to do when we were kids and couldn’t find each other in the woods. Or maybe a whistle. which one would make me look less crazy?

    Side note: Wyatt threw his dad’s girlfriend’s ipad in the tub while Evan was in it.

    Another side note: Whenever I ask Wyatt a yes or no question, his answer is always no. After a while I figured out that he usually means yes. ‘Wyatt, would you like some juice?’ ‘No.’ ‘Does no mean yes?’ ‘peeeeeeez!’ –which is wyatt-speak for please. (unfortunately he does the same thing to the word clock)

    • Autism Makes Me Laugh | Tammy says:

      Oh, the high-pitched shriek would be best. Definitely won’t think you’re crazy theeen… Hold on. Just let me get my video camera ready first. ;)

      –>Smart ideas! Noise maker and matching bright shirts.
      –>OUCH to the iPad!!
      –>You can never rely on Kirsten’s Yes/No either… rephrase and verify!

      Thanks for the laugh Cheryl!!

  2. Tara Black says:


    Hey…whatever it takes..right?!

  3. karen says:

    i LOVE this! i was cracking up! she is SO funny and smart! i love her sense of humor :) What a great girl!! xoxo