Yesterday I got to confuse the bejeebies out of of the family based team. I told them and our BSC rather casually that he would be going to rehearsal with me that night. My BSC didn't flinch. The FB team did. They both stared at me like deer caught in headlights.
Skeptically, "How does that go?"
Me: Just fine.
"You mean he sits quietly?"
"Wait, he doesn't come looking for you when he needs something?"
"He just sits and does his own thing?"
"How does he know to do that?"
"He just knows when he can talk to you and when he can't (when onstage)?"
"You have never had an issue with him disrupting anything?"
No my kid isn't the out of control monster you seem to think he is. Nor am I this totally ineffective mother who can't do jack to teach her child appropriate mannerisms.
My response to their questioning was so simple, "He literally grew up in theater. He just knows."
Those of you who know my story know that I have B.A. in Theater. I had my son during this time and took him back to college with me. There are many stories of the kiddo doing some thing or other in the theater spaces, backstage, shops, etc. I would set him down and he'd disappear as one of his adopted 150 aunts and uncles would whisk him away to play.
His greatest moment was when I was doing the Costume Design for Candide and he slipped away, toddled up on stage (in the middle of rehearsal), interrupted everyone, and started pointing his chubby little finger and gave his own stage directions. The director (my mentor) nearly fell out of his chair laughing.
He grew up in theater.
He knows when the lights are down, you are quiet.
He knows when the curtains 'fall', you clap.
He knows when Mommy is on stage, she is unavailable.
He also somehow intuitively knows when we take breaks, even if we are still on stage, and will come on up to ask his question then.
He knows to never leave the space. If he needs to, he will find an adult he knows and ask for help.
He is loved in my theater circles.
He even got to be the voice of the little boy when I did Death of a Salesman a couple years ago.
He'll get the autographs of all the ladies on the program.
He lives for it. He knows it. He loves it.
I recall another time when we were rehearsing and on a break when he did a little Charlie Chapman dance routine, complete with hat and cane.
And another time when he gave directions to a lovely friend of mine on some dance moves. She went along with him laughing all the while (I think there may be video evidence of this one...).
During shows, if he has to come with me, he sits quietly off-stage in the back corner, watches a movie and draws. If he needs to leave the green room for any reason, he knows which adult to ask for help (don't ask me how me hows stage appearance order, but he does) and they are more than happy to help.
Autistic or not, when you grow up with something, something with definite rules and boundaries, they become second nature to you. You just know. You just do.
So tonight when we go to rehearsal again, I know just where he will be. Sitting 3 rows back, left side (down stage right), 2nd seat in, playing on his iPad and munching on Cheetos.
He is my theater baby. :)
Playing in the wood shop....
In the green room with Mommy...
In the dressing room while Mommy directed the Wardrobe crew. (He loved Brandon's spot the most!)
This mannequin in the Costume Shop brought him great joy.