Let's Make a Deal
In Which I Get To Mention Eric Dolphy


Charlie waiting in line

No, I'm not trying to be flippant and say that 'whatever whatever' goes around here.

Charlie said 'whatever' for the first time on Thursday night. He was upstairs and we were downstairs and, on hearing his very clear 'whatever,' we echoed the word back.

'Whatever, whatever,' said Charlie. (With a little hint of whatevah, in proper 'yeah whatever' teenage-slackadaisical fashion.)

After his 1am wake-up the night before, Charlie had gone back to sleep. He got up in time for us to get out the door on time for school but I was somehow moved to address the green shirt/brown pants dilemma/issue.

Charlie responded with a long round of NO's and then I tried social stories and various iPad apps, to no avail. There was talk of 'getting rid' of those items (NO). Then I sat down at my desk and started typing this post. An hour had just about passed when I asked if maybe we might compromise and just change one item of clothing?

Pause and Charlie said 'no pants.' And changed into the green Dublin shirt my cousin's daughter bought for him while studying in the UK. And then said 'hug.'

Bony, sinewy shoulders this boy has, I have to tell you.

And yes, the photo above is not from Thursday but Sunday, when we were waiting in line at a Jersey horse country bakery for breakfast items. Whatev, a photo with a happy boy is always, eminently, postable.



Could you let him choose a new green shirt/brown pants combo (either in-store or from a catalogue or online) with the understanding that when the new outfit arrives he'll relinquish the old one?


Regarding clothes: whatever!



How did Charlie get this word? From a speech therapist with attitude? Or did he discover and claim it on his own?

I'm very interested in how Charlie is either taught or discovers language for himself?

Kristina Chew

@Linda, we just occasionally need to wash the shirt!

@Sarah, I've said 'whatever' sometimes to Charlie when he has been really really really insisting that something must be so---one way I've tried to communicate the idea of 'no problem' to him.

@Jill, I've got a plan to get a bunch of green shirts for Charlie. He's not at all inclined to going into stores! I think he also likes the shirt because it's very soft.


Awww- love that kid! He is becoming a teenager, but never too old for a hug from his mom!! Love it!


It's all about identity, sense of autonomy, and comfort -- my son Isaac, who just turned 14 and is "neurotypical" (!?!) refuses any and all intervention in the area of hygiene or appearance: including, but not limited to, haircuts, shampooing, face washing, nail clipping, and "certain clothes" (i.e., clothes that I may have selected for him).

Your description of that green shirt makes it sound so comfy and soft, now I want to slip into it!

All of this is SO FAMILIAR ... and I just love Charlie's response. "OK, whatever, I'll change ... now give me a hug!" Give him a hug from me!


Kristina Chew

I gave him one!

He has been saying 'whatvever' over and over---I think he's realized the word has a certain power!

Maybe I ought to stop even trying to select clothes for Charlie....... Jim has always gotten Charlie his haircuts and has a great deal of sympathy for what it feels like to be 'scalped.'

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