Spring has sprung in County Monaghan, and owing to the grim knowledge that this single day of springly (that's an adjective I found in The Descriptionally Challenged Autism Mammy's Dictionary) joy may be fashionably short-lived, we abandoned domestics and exposed ourselves to the elements.
I suppose I could have just said we went outside, but that wouldn't have been as much fun.
Himself (James) indulged in lots of manly man-pottering which seemed to require testosterone, much hacking of hedges and protracted disagreements with the stubborn Monaghan soil.
Ellen (11) and I were engaged in the much less mucky pursuits of tea drinking and Deciding What To Wear On A Nice Spring Day.
Jimmy (the Teenager) was at his Grandad's, while Finian celebrated the clement weather by cleaning the car with his face.
By the end of the day we had a nice, shiny car and a small boy who resembled a Dickensian street urchin who had his happy laudanum (OK, Ford Mondeo) fix.
It's fair to say he has a thing about cars.
|not my actual child, but a disturbingly close approximation|
Ellen and I were watching Finian from inside the house when a jeep pulled up outside our gate.
Even though there was a locked gate between the driver and my son, nothing as pedestrian as a five foot tall wooden barrier, nailed with extra chicken wire to hamper escape attempts, would come between an autie kid and his passion for all things four-wheel.
I hot-footed it down our avenue, half amused to watch an old man attempt to glean directions off an autie kid whose only agenda was figuring out how to jack his car.
Half amused, but mostly terrified that Finian would clear the gate, the chicken wire and the cast-iron bolts in a single bound, catapult himself into the passenger seat and demand that the old man should "DRIVE!".
Which, in absolute terror, he probably would.
But there was no need for me to hurry as Ellen shot past me and was at Finian's side in a heartbeat, with a protective sisterly arm around his shoulders.
All four foot nothing of her.
A child so skinny I sometimes consider weighing her down with breeze blocks in a high wind.
But her Big Sister claws were out and looked well sharpened.
If someone tried to prise Finian from her grip they may emerge minus a limb and a face.
I gave the man directions, and sent him on his merry way, happily oblivious to the narrow escape he had.
Had Ellen and I not been there, there could to this very day, be a sobbing elderly man driving endlessly around Ireland, helpless to stop against Finian's commands.
Or if he was an incredibly strange niche child abductor who specialised in autistic children, he would have to pass Ellen first.
I seriously wouldn't have put money on him winning.
I'd forgotten that, growing up as child #5 in a family of 7, we could with much contentment (and contemptment...hey, see what I did there???) tear strips off each other.
But dare anyone else threaten us and you'd have a posse of feral children guarding your honour with ferocity.
Human nature is seriously weird, but we will never be in danger of being bored by it.