Prince Charming jumped out of the bushes and nearly scared the princess to death. The princess found very little humor in such entertainment and she quickly went all ogre on his a**. The princess, who at the time was performing her less than royal duty as a juvenile probation officer, fortunately was not packing heat that evening, for if she had been, Prince Charming may have laid alongside Snow White in a glass bed deep in the forest.
Sorry, we've been watching a lot of Shrek this summer and AWEnestly, Ryan makes a much better Donkey than Eddie Murphy himself.
Yes, one summer a long, long time ago, Dan thought it would be funny to hide in the bushes, jump out at me and make my heart stop beating for a millisecond. Needless to say, this princess almost soiled her pants, which would have been very undignified behavior for a princess. As I approached my apartment, I certainly was not expected someone to be hiding in the bushes, no matter how many horror movies had prepared me for that exact scenario over the years. So, when the unexpected happened, I was not the least bit prepared for it and my bodily functions reacted as poorly as my future husband's role as court jester.
Your pulse may quicken. You can feel your heart pounding in your chest...in your ears...and in your brain. Your mouth immediately goes dry and you feel like you may hurl your breakfast all over your new shoes. Then suddenly, your brain no longer works. You are momentarily frozen and at a total loss for words. Then finally, your fight or flight goes into overdrive and you either wind up running or swinging. When your body is so incredibly freaked out, it makes preparing for the unexpected very difficult.
Yes, the unexpected, can do a number on a person. Whether the unexpected is something wonderful or something dreadful, your body may still react the exact same way. An unexpected surprise birthday party, an unexpected marriage proposal, or an unexpected fortune bequeathed by a long, lost relative (does that really ever happen?) are all wonderful events, but, your brain just may not see it that way initially. If your brain didn't see it coming, your body reacts accordingly to such an unexpected event.
This week, Ryan is attending a Vocal Camp at a local music center. I did a poor job preparing him for the unexpected. I showed Ryan the website online, but, we did not do a drive by for him to get a visual of the music center. Ryan has been looking forward to this camp all summer as he loves his new found "instrument", his voice, so, he eagerly got up early, got himself ready and out the door we went. Ryan happily scripted Shrek and Donkey on the way to camp and all seemed right with the world, until the unexpected happened.
As I parked on the street outside the music center, the scripting stopped and the worrying began. Ryan quickly surveyed the music center and in a not so happy, more ogre, less donkey like voice, he grumbled, "This can't be it. This is not what I expected." Turns out, in Ryan's mind, a music center for a vocal camp should be held in a school or a church, not in a turn of the century house...where there is an unexpected dog and an unexpected window air conditioning unit that blows his hair and freezes him to death.
You could physically see Ryan's body react. His latest sniffing tick became more rapid. His eyes darted around inspecting this unexpected location for perceived danger. I swear if that boy had his driver's license, we would have been back home where it was safe...where everything is as he expected. It took some persuading to get Ryan to accept the unexpected, but, he did and he is LOVING vocal camp....in a house, not in a church or a school with a dog who just lays around and does not jump on him unexpectedly.
The unexpected is difficult for Ryan because processing too many things at once is hard for him. When he knows what to expect, he is better able to prepare his body for the sensory overload, he is better able to anticipate social interactions, and he is better able to develop a script in his mind about forthcoming conversations. Ryan's brain just needs a little more time to process the unexpected. A little more time, helps Ryan better prepare for the change coming at him, a change that may seem ever so subtle to you and me, but, to Ryan feels like an unexpected person hiding in the bushes that immediately transforms him from a sensitive, kind, little boy into a grumpy, "get out of my swamp" kind of ogre.
Just like all of us, the unexpected can be quite an assault on our system, so, don't we all function better when we are prepared? When the system is taxed even harder by autism, it makes perfect sense that Ryan would rather avoid that assault altogether by playing it safe, regardless of missed opportunities.
I may not know how Ryan's fairy tale will end, but, one thing I can promise you is, that if a fair maiden ever catches Ryan's eye, chances are high that my little prince will never lie waiting in the bushes to scare the daylights out of her because Ryan will never see the humor in such unexpected entertainment. No, this unknown, 20 years in the future, fair maiden will never have to worry about expecting the unexpected with my little prince. Chances are, she will always know what is lying right around the bend and what, or who, will not be hiding in the bushes by the front door.
Now, as for what this fair maiden can expect from her future mother and father-in-law, well, that's an entirely different, completely unexpected, yet relatively entertaining fairy tale. I just hope she doesn't pack heat.