There was a time when I would often find myself sitting upon the toilet with a small boy perched upon my lap. I would be there to answer one of nature's calls, and the child would find me sitting (having sought me out as I'm not allowed to stray) and would climb upon my lap.
This presents a number of issues. First of all no part of my toilet training ever included "How to void one's bladder or intestines while holding a child." In fact, I can admit I never was able to accomplish is regardless of how desperately I might have needed to do before that moment. They were confusing and frustrating times. How do you explain to a child that doesn't understand that THIS seat is different from every other seat? When I sit on THIS seat you can't sit on my lap, but on every other seat we're good?
I'm not sure how we actually ever graduated from that phase except there was probably some screaming and some locked doors involved. Locked doors might seem like the obvious answer but the twins have an intense need to be ABLE to get to me. Their father gets away with pooping on his own. I, however, can at LEAST count on someone chanting/counting/stemming/singing outside my bathroom door at the minimum. They seem to need me to acknowledge them, to confirm a small piece of object permanence maybe they're missing. "I'll be out in a minute," I'll call. "Everything is OK Mommy will be right out."
Sometimes they simply pop open to door and look at me. They don't stay, they take a look and leave - swinging the door wide open so it doesn't accidentally shut again. The oldest child has come upon me more than once, moaning in horror "MOM WHY IS THE DOOR OPEN" and shutting it. I'm not sure which of us he's more embarrassed for.
Dude sometimes I gotta poop, what do you want from me kid? I can't ALWAYS GET UP AND SHUT THE DAMN DOOR AGAIN.
If we return to the subject of locks, you might just say "Damn woman, just lock that door." Well I do, on occasion. There are whole days that pass when I can safely lock the bathroom door, do what nature requires and exit feeling lighter with hands scented delightfully from some fancy soap. Those are damn good days, I gotta admit. However there are many more days where me locking the door equals a 12 year old boy in full on autism panic yelling "OPEN DOOR OPEN DOOR" when he realizes I am behind a door he can't get through.
He can't be separated from me. He might not need to be with me 24/7 any longer but he requires it as an option.
Some days this one thing makes me feel like some bizarre alien. All parents experience this with their small children. We tut-tut and giggle over the joy we get when solo showers happen, or being just alone in the bathroom with no spectators. But the prospect of that being your LIFE is sobering. It stops being cute.
It is a form of torture played out on a minuscule scale. A small human dignity shall be disallowed. You won't be harmed by it. It's not worth truly complaining about. In fact compared to all the terrible things that happen in the world you're just fine and seriously hush, you haven't got any problems. Yet, there is it, this thing that other people can expect from their 12 year olds that you as an autism parent can't.
Life isn't fair, my mom used to say. Get over it.
She was right. It's probably the most important thing she ever taught me. It's pretty much all that gets me through some days.