My Life with a Ninja Turtle (or, living with a 2 year old on the autism spectrum)


The last several months have been challenging, exhausting, exhilarating and eventful, all at the same time. How can all of those emotions happen simultaneously? If you have to ask that question, then I am almost certain that you do not have a child on the autism spectrum.

Living with a toddler can be challenging in and of itself, but when that toddler is on the autism spectrum, the emotional responses to everyday occurrences will vary much more widely.

For example, a typical day for us would put many parents over the edge.

To hear my child screaming at the top of her lungs that the washer is too loud and to “turn it down” might seem strange and daunting to many. To me it is a triumph that she is telling us what is bothering her, rather than just having the outright meltdown and tantrum that will often accompany an overload of some kind for her system.

See, we just got a washing machine. We had either done our laundry at laundromats or relatives’ houses, or more recently, we had taken to washing our clothes by hand. But a few days ago, I found a washer for sale for a price that was within our budget and so I jumped on it without hesitation. 30 bucks for the ability to have clean clothes and not have to scrub them in buckets? Hell yeah.

So I had no idea that the sound that the washer makes when it goes off balance was going to put my little one over the edge. Nor did I know that even when not off balance, the sounds emitted by the machine would still put her over the edge. She does not like loud noises, and yet can sleep through pretty much anything.

I am now on the hunt for ear plugs or noise reduction ear muffs that will help her with this challenge.

We are also on the hunt for door alarms. Which pretty much brings me to why she has been dubbed the Ninja Turtle. It is a bit ironic, really, because she is quite fond of the Ninja Turtle cartoons. This morning, after I worked all night and finally passed out around 6 in my recliner, I awake at 7:30 to my husband standing over me and telling me I need to get up because we have a problem. Ninja Turtle managed to get past us both while we slept, and proceeded to “help mommy” by cleaning out the refrigerator. There were about a dozen eggs and 3 pounds of sugar encrusting on my kitchen floor. Our floor is tile. This was a big mess. Not to mention the last of the sugar for a week. As my husband is assessing the situation, I get handed a gallon of milk. Apparently, luckily for us, she couldn’t figure out how to open the jug. I could tell that she had only done this level of destruction just minutes before because the milk was still cold.

Now for today’s journey, I am on the hunt for a door alarm so she will be less likely to leave her room undetected. I am also on the hunt for a way to childproof a side-by-side refrigerator.

Anyone have any tips?