Sunday, March 24, 2013

An Idiom is Born

People with autism often have difficulty with idioms.
Although he has come a long way, David's language has not developed to the point where I had even given a thought to David's interpretation of idioms.
Until today, when I had a few familiar idioms pop into my mind after I rounded the corner into the kitchen and saw David.
Stop and smell the roses.
A watched pot never boils.
One of the traits about David that I absolutely love is that he notices things that other people do not.  He truly enjoys what he wants to enjoy, in his own way, and really does not care what anyone else has to say about it.  (Or, that we might be running late for an appointment, but that is another story.)
And, something that I may not notice can hold David's attention for what would seem to me to be a mind numbingly long time.
Over the course of several days.
That could actually stretch into weeks.
Ahem.  Anyway, I walked into the kitchen and David had decided to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.  He had pulled over an extremely heavy, Yugoslavian-made kitchen chair (yes, from when there was still a Yugoslavia, which tells you how old it is), then apparently went to the family room to move in an ottoman and grab a blanket, all to cozy up in comfort so that he could watch the coffee perk.
Let me repeat it.  He wanted to watch THE COFFEE PERK--the WHOLE pot.
And I will never know if he liked seeing the coffee drip, drip, drip, slowly at first, until a pool of fresh coffee started to collect in the pot.  Or, if he was intrigued by the foamy bubbles that gather around the edges of the glass carafe.  Or, if he simply finds it amusing to move as much extra furniture as possible into my kitchen work triangle in order to hear me mutter under my breath as I try to unload the dishwasher and begin breakfast.  I do a great deal of muttering under my breath.
If David even understood the two idioms that had immediately popped into my head, he certainly would not have found them appropriate.
Because, for David, the more appropriate and newly created idiom would be:
Stop, but don't smell the roses because it is infinitely more enjoyable to watch the coffee perk into the pot, but please do not expect it to boil, watched pot or not, because coffee in a coffeemaker never does reach a boiling temperature.
Catchy, isn't it?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sick Day

I heard it for the first time early Saturday morning. David was coughing and not the shallow "let's see if I can get out of going to school today" cough, but a cough with some congestion behind it. Of course, next came the runny nose plus what my husband grossly but accurately terms "snot rockets" and it was official. David was sick.  

This week is Spring Break and David has the whole week off, plus the two bookended weekends, so my first thought was that there would be plenty of time to recuperate.  

And then I smiled, thinking David must have inherited his sense of timing from me. My grandfather used to tease me that I was not smart enough to get sick while school was in session, but always seemed to be ill around major holidays during what was already a break from school. I vividly remember one Christmas--I was about David's age and had a particularly virulent combination of bronchitis and an ear infection. My sister unwrapped presents for me and begged me just to get out of bed long enough to play with my new Walk-to-Me-Wendy doll. (And please don't go googling to see a picture of said doll, because I may have made that name up and it would seem that perhaps "Hobbling Stiff-Legged Holly" would have been a more appropriate moniker.)  

Anyway, David is nowhere near that sick, but still requires some special Mama-lovin' which is good because--quite predictably, when you combine a sick child, a long break from school and shake you get the recipe for Daddy to be away all week on a business trip. Did you see that one coming?  

Now, normally David likes to be tucked in on the sofa with his assortment of favorite pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and, of course, the requisite surge protector powering all of his assorted and numerous electronic devices.    

But not this time. When I went to tuck David in, I found him curled up in a different spot.  
Yes, he had crawled with a pillow on top of the washing machine, ready to watch the entire 45 minute regular cycle.   That is a new one. So what did I do? Why, I covered him with a blanket, of course.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Savoring the (not quite) Silence

Ideally, I would have stretched and been slow to open my eyes, savoring that last delicious moment, the one just between sleeping and waking, aware of having had a long, luxurious, late Sunday afternoon nap.

Instead, my eyes popped open the moment my consciousness registered the muffled phrase that I heard David calling,

Wait…Wait…Don’t Go!

That utterance woke me, combined with the vague realization that David had just flipped the deadbolt on the front door and was about to fling it wide open in hopes of having a chat with the city council candidate who was walking back toward the sidewalk, campaigning for the upcoming primary election.

I wonder what she might have said if I had not been successful in shooing David from the door and keeping clear of all front facing windows—a move taught to me at a young age by my mother, wanting the avoid the Jehovah’s Witnesses who frequently used to proselytize in our neighborhood, distributing copies of The Watchtower door-to-door.

I wonder if that candidate could have kept her train of thought when she caught sight of me, groggily heading towards the door, one hand trying to massage the kink in my neck which was stiff from having slept sitting up in a chair, while at the same time trying to decide whether to use the other hand to shake hers, which she had extended, or to remove the Peltor Noise Reduction Junior Earmuffs that I had borrowed from David.

Would she have stayed to deliver her campaign spiel?  Or backed slowly away from the door, having received David’s new standard salutation, a heartfelt “AHOY,” all the while wondering if I had donned the noise reducing gear because I had hastily returned from the shooting range, or was, in fact, having target practice in my backyard—a clear violation of city ordinances.

Whatever the scenario she might have imagined, I am sure that she could not have guessed that I was desperate to rest for a moment.

Yes, I wanted to sleep, but more importantly I needed a break from the noise of my sensory-seeking boy, who was playing some classical music on a continuous loop on his CD player, Brahms’ Sonata No. 1 for Cello and Piano in E minor—enjoyable enough, but when combined with the omnipresent episode of SpongeBob Squarepants on the portable DVD player, a YouTube video of an agitating washing machine on the iPad and David catching air on the trampoline, whipped into a hand flapping frenzy, the washing machine was not the only thing becoming agitated.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

In Praise of Pepperoni

I was late for work this morning.

I was late for work this morning, because I was digging in the 18 gallon blue Rubbermaid bin marked "garage sale."

I was digging in the garage sale bin looking for the Pizza Pile-Up game because recently David asked for it, scaled the shelves in the basement looking for it, and then he cried about it last night when he realized it was missing.

The Pizza Pile-Up game was in the garage sale bin because David had not played with it for months, if he ever really did "play" with it and not just carry around the red (favorite color) circle (favorite shape) slices of plastic tomato.

David has a new found fascination with pepperoni, having recently decided that he likes pepperoni pizza—or, to be precise, Godfather's original crust pepperoni pizza.

The allure of the pepperoni was reinforced by the mention of pepperoni pizza on whatever episode of SpongeBob David had in his DVD player last night.

SpongeBob's reference to pepperoni pizza apparently made David long for the plastic pepperonis (or is it pepperonii) from the Pizza Pile-Up game, which was granted an early morning pardon from the garage sale bin and David and the Pizza Pile-Up game have been reunited.

So, what is the moral of the story?

Sometimes, Mom grasps ahold of a milestone too quickly. It became clear last night.

The picky boy's penchant for pepperoni pizza positively does not pertain to Pizza Hut personal pan pepperoni.

Friday, March 8, 2013

On school conferences and sunsets

Unable to concentrate on my book, I sat in the parking lot and watched as the sun dipped below the horizon with the utmost economy, saving its brilliant splendor for another day and a more mindful audience, leaving behind only a few faint streaks of orange in the haze.
My mind found comfort in the rhythm that came from the tires of passing cars crossing the seams in the street—thunkthunk, thunkthunk, thunkthunk—providing monotonous relief.
And I was vaguely aware of questioning which direction the late winter wind was blowing, which carried with it the faint sound of the church bells announcing the hour, 6:00 p.m.
The conference at school had gone well.
So I could not help but wonder what had caused the imperceptible shift of temperament, like the transition that I had just observed from day to night.
I had slipped.  The melancholy returned, if only for a moment.
But today is another day and the sun hangs high in the sky, dazzling and bright.