"No," he responds calmly.
You know who's not calm? Me.
I ask him again, twice. Finally, he changes his tune and gets himself ready to go to school.
My son is ten years old. And he's grown; my goodness, he's grown. He's become so much more confident and charming and easygoing. Much of the social anxiety that we saw in the past has dissipated. He walks into the playground and kids call his name. And (Aspie parents take note) he stops and responds!!
There are many things going well. And then ... there's the testing that he does at home.
I'll ask him to turn off the television and he'll ignore me until the third or fourth or fifth ask.
I'll tell him to go to bed and he'll start whimpering, like a puppy dog. (It's obviously fake and I don't even think he thinks it'll work. He just does it instinctively.)
And then there is the simple act of "No." Not that he wants to put up a fight or an argument. He just quietly says "no." To everything.
With a smile on his face.
When he was a baby, he would run experiments on us. What happens if I drop my food off the tray? What if I smear it on my cheek? Now, I think he's doing experiments again. He's testing how I'll react if he ramps up the disobedience.
So I've approached with a certain amount of caution. Sometimes I'll ignore him and just ask again. Sometimes I walk off (making sure he sees that I'm irritated) and then come back a minute later.
Sometimes, I'll crack the whip on him. I've had to use my dad voice™ more in the last two months than I did for the previous year.
"When I ask you to do something, I expect you to do it the first time."
And then I get the whiny response. "Okaaaaaaaay!"
The whining. I HATE the whining.
Or I'll get the angry response. He snaps back at me as though somehow I've angered him, instead of the other way around.
He's testing, though. And he's still an Aspie, so I know that I can't just tell him to cut it out. So I'll check him. "When you respond like that, it sounds like you're angry at me. Are you angry at me? No. Okay, well your tone says something else. So make sure your tone matches what you actually feel."
All things considered, he's doing fine. He's just testing some boundaries right now. I need to remember that he's always going to be testing me out. What's he really doing is testing himself out. Right now, he's testing out conversation, testing out emotions. He's trying to see what he can get away with, what he does that will upset the people he loves. He's growing into an older kid who needs to figure out how this human interaction thing works. I'm doing the best I can to help.