- Making annoying or repetitive noises in the car - As if vocalizing alone is not enough, now he has this handheld gaming system called a 3DS, which is not only capable of recording his annoying sounds but is also able to distort the annoying sounds and replay them ad infinitum. Slowed down to Barry White range or speeded up to Chipmunk level and played over and over, the simplest phrases can become so irritating, I'm soon begging him to stop. Now that he's big enough to ride in the front seat, it's so much more fun to make annoying sounds from close range!
- Trying to make me fall over in public - If we're standing, singing in church or just talking to someone in the lobby, he likes to lean against me until I lose my balance. Sometimes this can be thwarted by my stepping lithely to the side and causing him to lose his balance. Apparently being the instrument of your mother's fall and resulting broken hip is hilarious entertainment. The Lean can also be accomplished while sitting side by side reading together. He wiggles closer and closer, until my shoulder is nearly breaking under the increasing pressure of his head. Good times!
- Repeating words over and over - Not so long ago, I would say, "Goodnight, sweetheart. Mommy loves you!" and he would say, "Goodnight. I love you, too." Now it's, "Goodnight . . . goodnight . . . goodnight . . . goodnight . . ." Sometimes he whispers so I can barely hear him, which is even more annoying.
- "What about the dogs?" - Whenever I ask him a question or try to broach an uncomfortable subject, this is his "go to" phrase for seamlessly changing the subject. "Did you brush your teeth?" "What about the dogs?" "Do you have homework today?" "What about the dogs?" "Anything interesting happen at school today?" "What about the dogs?" For a long time I thought this phrase was the Autism equivalent of, "Oh look! Haley's Comet!" But now that he realizes how crazy it makes me, he does it more and more on purpose.
- The human tape recorder - We've all done this to our parents and our siblings. We all know how crazy it makes people to repeat every single word out of their mouths right back at them. It's just so much fun to watch steam come out of the other person's ears as you repeat everything they say, "Stop that! Quit mimicking me! I mean it! Knock it off!" The best way I've found of turning this around is to say things like, "I have the best Mommy in the whole world! I love her so much I'm going to sell all my video games and take her on a nice vacation! I'm just so lucky to live here!" The more outrageous things I can think of to make him say, the more he'll start laughing so much he can no longer play his annoying game.
These are just some of the tools in his box of tricks, but everyday he finds some new way to drive me closer to the edge. Whatever he's doing, I'll stop and say, "You're just trying to annoy me, aren't you?" He's getting really good at wiggling his eyebrows while giving me a big grin. So glad I'm such a source of cheap entertainment. I guess it's only fair, since we used to spend hours just staring at him in adoration when he was a baby. Why mommies go gray!