over as I was walking into a meeting yesterday. There was a small boy running around and around the foyer of the building. He was shouting and squealing as he did so. His mother was at the reception desk talking to someone but was apparently taking no notice.
I gave the child a look and he promptly stuck his tongue out at me. I resisted doing the same to him and pushed the button for the lift.
His mother hastily grabbed him and followed me into the lift.
"You'll have to excuse him. He's got Asperger's," she told me. The child grinned at me and repeated, "I've got Asperger's."
Mother was going to the same meeting as myself. I wondered what was going to happen to the child. There are no childcare facilities in the building and I doubted very much whether the secretary was going to look after him.
No, he came to the meeting too. Mother was full of complaints about how difficult it was to get help, how she could not get him a place at day-care so she could go back to work and how they had seen so many specialists before her child was "diagnosed". She spoke of the "diagnosis" almost with pride.
Her son wandered around the room. He wanted to take things from people's bags and did. He did take things out of the cupboard. He used a marker to scribble on the board in the meeting room - thankfully the right sort of marker for the board so it would come off again.
He interrupted the meeting more than once.
Nobody said anything. I did not let him take anything from my bag however. I put my paw firmly over my bag and looked him in the eye and said, "No."
He seemed surprised by this.
"I don't like you," he told me.
That was fine. Right then I did not like him either - and I like most small humans. I get along just fine with them.
Mother and child had to leave early because of yet another appointment with another specialist. The rest of us sighed with relief and finished the meeting in a much more orderly fashion.
"You took a risk Cat," someone said to me as we were leaving, "He could have had a real tantrum when you wouldn't let him look in your bag."
"I don't think so," I said, "He doesn't have Asperger's syndrome or anything other than Naughtiness syndrome. He has a parent who is out of control and seeking attention."
I should not have said that but I know it is true. I have seen the same child with his grandfather at story telling in the local library. He has been sitting there quietly, totally wrapped in the story. His grandfather expects him to behave and he does. I said this to the person who was talking to me.
"Yes, not much we can do about it though."
I am not so sure. I can keep my paws firmly on my bag and I can say, "No."
I might also carry a book in the bag.