Jan 28, 2013 0 Share

Changing Rooms


Guinea pig in wooden home with tiny laundry line outside.
iStockphoto

Things are changing in our household. And if you know someone with ASD, you can probably relate to the fact that change isn’t necessarily a good thing according to Cameron. We’re doing a rather substantial (and disruptive) master bath renovation—and no, I’m not going to go into the “if anything can go wrong, it will” details of this project. I would need an entire website for that. Suffice it to say, I’m typing with my gloves on, because during this arctic blast, right when we think we’re on budget with the renovation, the heating system goes out. This project has taken its toll on the family, but I find it particularly interesting to observe Cameron deal with it all.

Cameron’s primary irritant with this renovation is that he has to share the bathroom he normally has to himself with the entire family. (Trust me, NONE of us are thrilled about that.) Cameron isn’t so concerned about conflicting schedules with bathroom time, as he is about the soap and shampoo being used too quickly. Or someone “wasting” the soap he washes his acne-prone face with by using it to wash their hands. (The nerve!) When I try to explain to Cameron that we use the same amount of soap and shampoo when we’re in separate bathrooms, he doesn’t get it. To him, one bottle emptying twice as fast as two bottles emptying is wasteful.

One good thing has come out of this household upheaval. In preparation for the demolition, I was pondering what could be done with my daughter’s guinea pigs, Janet and Carol. They had resided in our basement, but plumbing work was going to be going on, and I didn’t think they would be happy with all the noise and debris, any more that I would be. My husband started having a conversation with my daughter about her seeming to have lost interest in her pets, and he indicated that perhaps it was time to consider that Janet and Carol would be happier with a more attentive owner. The thought of walking into an animal shelter with an animal—as opposed to walking out with one—goes completely against my grain. So maybe my daughter doesn’t give the pigs enough attention. At least I know I’m taking care of them. I was suddenly struck with a brilliant idea: I asked Cameron if he would be interested in taking on the responsibility for the guinea pigs. And he was. I think he has the same opinion as I do when it comes to returning animals to the shelter, and he was receptive to having Janet and Carol as roommates in his attic bedroom. Cameron is happy to have the company, and I am happy to not need to remind someone to feed them every day.

So sometimes change can be a good thing for Cameron. Admittedly, he didn’t jump up and down with excitement when I first presented the idea of Janet and Carol moving in. But he was willing to try, and that was all it took. Now, when I asked him if he would like to have his room painted an interesting color… that was met with a resounding “NO!” I guess for Cameron, a little change goes a long way.