This is a picture our oven door, when it’s all the way open and laying flat.
One of Easton’s favorite things to do in the kitchen is open the oven door, and walk sideways quickly, looking at those tiny rectangles. He does it over, and over, and over. This photo is my attempt at trying to see it the way he does.
Take a deep breath. I know, I know. Yes, I do let my son open the oven door. I went through a phase when I would try to get him to stop because I thought, “Oh no! I’m a mom and I’m letting him think the oven door is a toy!” That was, until I realized that an oven door is just like any other door when the oven is off, we of course stay close to it when it’s on and we tell him, “No. That’s HOT,” and…to be quite honest…I’m fascinated that he would notice those tiny rectangles and how cool it looks if you walk by them quickly. I never even noticed they were there. Why would I discourage him from finding visual stimulation that makes him happy?
So…moving on…my son loves to play with the oven door. Not only does he look at the line of tiny rectangles, but he opens the door to a certain point, then pushes it down so it makes a cool clanging noise, and then he runs away from it, laughing. (If everything he does had an instruction manual, the last step would always read “repeat as necessary.” And it would ALWAYS be necessary.)
This is also a common occurrence at our house:
He likes to open ALL of my dresser drawers. He doesn’t take a single thing out. He opens them, he walks back and forth several times, and he leaves the room. If I try to close one while he’s still working on it, he gets MAD, and re-opens it.
Other examples of things around our house that he loves to do:
- Watch his reflection in the dishwasher door.
- Move his hand sideways along the metal radiators.
- Bang on the wire rack inside the oven. (I know…GASP! But ovens are amazingly cool when turned off!)
- Move his forehead sideways along the window on the front door (which makes an odd sound that used to make me think, “What the hell IS that?” Now I know. It’s skin moving sideways on glass.)
- Flush the toilet. (Not just randomly – he follows me to the bathroom and flushes for me and closes the lid. If I do it, he gets REALLY pissed. After he closes the lid, he puts his ear to the toilet to listen. He has just recently started attempting to get my toilet paper for me. That’s going to need more practice. He is the cutest bathroom attendant EVER.)
- Open and close the back doors, while saying “buh-bye!” every time he goes out. This is fairly harmless since our backyard is fenced in and I can always see him. The day he let himself out the front door when I didn’t know it was slightly mortifying. He was pounding on the outside of the door (not a mad pounding…he just likes the repetition of pounding on things). I thought he was pounding from the INSIDE. The neighbor was knocking on the door for a minute before I realized, “Oh shit! That’s an actual KNOCKING sound!” He nicely said, “Hi. I didn’t know if you realized your son was outside, but I just thought I was make sure.” Okay, cool. Thanks. Let me go crawl into the corner while you call social services.
- Play in the sink. He could do this all day, every day.
- Watch the ceiling fans.
- Take the tupperware out of the cupboards and put them all upside-down on the floor in a very organized way.
- Outside, he walks back and forth to watch the sun coming through the boards of the fence. He walks back and forth to watch the sun come through the branches of the trees. He swings the empty swing and squats down to watch it go back and forth.
- I lift him up so he can push the button to open the garage door, then he runs and watches it open from the exact same spot every day. If I forget and open it first, I will actually close it and let him re-open it. Some might think that’s a little silly. I think it’s these little things that make my morning go a lot smoother.
Adding this to the long list of “Things Autism Has Taught Me”: There are things he does that are DEFINITELY quirky. Some might say weird. I’m sure a few would find them a little irritating (and that’s okay…another thing I’ve had to check myself on…not everyone will find his quirks endearing). Autism has taught me to look at it from HIS point of view. As I’ve mentioned before, I will NEVER really see it the way he does. But, what I can do, is open my mind to understand WHY he may be doing it: Because it makes him happy.
And…I am saving a TON of money not having to buy expensive toys.