Permanence

“Austin, do you want your waffles frozen or toasted?”

I’m not sure if that’s a thing, eating waffles still frozen, or if it’s just Austin. I’m not sure I actually want to know. At one point, I found it gross, but now it’s more of a warning to steady myself for what’s about to come.

“Toasted.”
“So you want your waffles toasted?”
“Yes.”
“You don’t want them frozen?”
“No.”

I know I tend to exaggerate a bit in these stories, but I swear, this one is verbatim.

You may be wondering why something as simple as breakfast sounds an awful lot like a police interrogation. It’s an attempt — and seriously, let me stress that it is not a surefire method — ¬†at preventing… well, a meltdown, to put it lightly.

Austin has a problem understanding decisions. Sure, if we’re willing to be wasteful, there are ways around it. Or if we’re willing to sacrifice our own choices, which in literally every single case is well worth it to avoid the shitstorm that would follow.

“Fine, you can have my ice cream and I’ll take yours. Just… ugh, just please stop talking.”

This gets more complicated when we’ve made an irrevocable modification to something.

“Actually… I just want peanut butter, not jelly too.”
“Actually… I don’t want my stickers on here.”
“Actually… I don’t want my Play-Doh colors mixed.”

Meanwhile, back at breakfast…

“Do you want your waffles cut?”
“Yes.”
“Pieces or strips to dip?”
“Pieces.”
“You want me to cut your waffles into pieces?”
“Yes.”
“Not strips?”
“No.”

If this is tedious to read, realize I live it.

“And you’re going to eat your pieces with a fork?”
“Yes.”
“Not dip them into syrup?”
“No.”

And so, a few gray hairs later, the boy sat down to eat.

“Um…”

Shit.

“Mommy?”

No. No.

“Actually–”

NO.

“– I want them frozen.”

Naturally, this happens most frequently on the days he has school. Realizing that if we send Austin to school hungry we would be legally responsible for paying for his teacher’s inevitable therapy bills, a defeated Meg stamps over to the freezer to retrieve new waffles.

I do what I can to help:

“Meg, do you want your breakfast frozen or on the rocks?”

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