We had things under control, however tenuously, until last week when Stow figured out how to escape from our elaborately constructed child-proofing. By "elaborately constructed child-proofing" I mean a cheap sofa hastily purchased at IKEA to block the archway between the playroom and the living room. I know there are extra wide baby gates out there, but the sofa was cheaper, and it opens into a(n extremely uncomfortable) guest bed. You know my hyper-frugality requires me to buy multipurpose items when at all possible. Couch = Bed = Makeshift Baby Gate. That's three for one! Score! It seemed like such an elegant solution. Until it wasn't. And it wasn't at 5:15 p.m. last Saturday when I was cooking dinner and looked down to find Stow right underfoot. I put him back into the playroom and seconds later, he was under my feet again. After that, there was no going back. None.
You might think I'm exaggerating.
I assure you I am not. He's only been wandering freely for three days, but the impact has been hard to ignore.
On Saturday, Stow decided to rearrange the girl's doll display (link). He is also fond of vacuuming and cleaning and was nice enough to clean the toilet with the dust mop, but only after he decided to draw on Pink P's floor with chalk.
On Sunday, Sky woke up to discover Pink P had left a lid off of one of her pens. Oh the horror! She'd let one of her pens go dry and wouldn't be able to use it any more. I'd already reprimanded Pink for this. It was old news. Besides, it did not directly affect Sky in any possible way. Unfortunately, this was one of our manic mornings that did not involve simple facts and random observations (see link above). Instead of letting it go, Sky proceeded to have a massive meltdown about it, berating Pink for her negligence and then taking away all her pens and telling her that, "Mom and Dad will never buy pens for you ever again!" Part of his meltdown involved yelling at and shoving Pink. With nowhere to put Stow, I could not intervene as much as I would have liked since I knew if I let go of him, he would just join the fray.***
On Monday, Stow thought I needed help making dinner. He did this by taking things (like egg shells and icky banana peels) out of the trash and dumping Sky's cup of milk onto the floor. He also felt free to help himself to some cereal out of the cereal cabinet that I'd inadvertently left unlocked.
I knew Stow's independence was coming, but I need at least another 6 months to adjust to having three kids. Pretty, please? By then, I'll be ready for it. I promise!
***Until you've experienced the irrational meltdown of a kid with ASD, you probably can't grasp the logic of Sky's behavior or my response. Just trust me when I tell you I handled it about as well as anyone might.