We had an emotional breakdown last night. It happened like this:

She-Who-Hates-To-Be-Named asked me to slice her some strawberries for her favorite dessert--straberries and whipped cream (heavy on the whipped cream.) I sliced, she sugared, and when they were ready, she hunked on a generous helping of whipped cream. He-Who-Laughs walked through the kitchen, observed her pile of whipped cream, scooped up half, and kept walking with the comment, "There's too much whipped cream on that."

World War 3.

"I can't eat it now, he touched it with his filthy hands." "You put too much whipped cream on it. That's too much." "He always takes my food." and "MOM!" Tears, Slamming doors. Desserts left on table. More Tears.

Having only heard the voices without registering the content, I leave the estimate I am trying to write up for a potential website client. "What's going on?"

More tears. "He always takes my food. His hands are filthy and he touched my food. I can't eat it now. Why is he so mean to me?"

Tears on his side. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. She had too much whipped cream on it. I thought I was helping. I'm sorry. I'm a terrible person, I hate myself." stomping, door slam.

Tears on her side. "Now you're going to go to  him. Nobody cares about me. Why do I have such a terrible family?" stomping, door slam.

I sigh and start to try to unravel the mess.

You see, She-Who-Hates-To-Be-Named  is 12, almost 13, and her friends are scattered for the summer and she has NOTHING to do all day. And she wishes her brother were like other people's big brothers and liked the things she liked and would play with her. And she wishes we had more money so she could go shopping, or go do something FUN because being home while Mom works is BORING.

And He-Who-Laughs has Asperger's and is picky about certain things. Like the rule on how much whipped cream can go on any dessert. And impulsive, like grabbing things to eat even when they belong to someone else. He has been grabbing food since he was 3. Have I taught him not to do that? Of course. Does he always remember? No. Combine that with an emotional reaction to being criticized for ANYTHING.

In the end, He-Who-Laughs makes a magnificent apology -- not too heavy on abasement, full of sincerity and a recognition of his sister's pain. She-Who-Hates-To-Be-Named magnanimously forgives him. I make her a second dessert with LOTS of whipped cream.

Peace is restored.

On a side-note: He-Who-Laughs refused to go to the circus with us last night. I got a bag of peanuts and saved half for him. When I gave it to him, He started humming "Entrance of the Gladiators" -- you know, the Circus theme song--- and then said, "Do you know what I like to do when I eat peanuts? Mock them because they are not true nuts."  She-Who-Hates-To-Be-Named rolls her eyes and mutters, "Oh. Dear. God."

---- So it goes.