Monday, April 8, 2013

There is a Season

Sometimes when David wants something, he will feed me the line, expecting me to repeat it back to him so that he can more easily make his wants known.

Actually, I have not determined what makes this method easier for David, but it has become a common occurrence in our house.

David, while handing the iPad to me: What do you want to type?
Me: David, what do you want ME to type?
David, with careful attention to his articulation: Lawn sp...sp...sprinklers!

Having been denied his recent request to watch the sprinklers water the front lawn as we are not yet out of freeze warning danger, David decided that he would just watch some sprinkler videos on YouTube.

Sounds fun, doesn't it? Come on over! I'll pop some popcorn.

As the trees begin to reveal the first hint of green, I realize that David has been anticipating longer days, warmer weather, time outside, wellspringas much as the rest of us.

Earlier, I termed my own anticipation of the changing seasons, Kathy Spring, so for David, who always puts his own spin on things and certainly has his own way of welcoming the new season, I will call it David being DavidI mean, David Spring.

For David, the six signs of spring are glaringly different from mine and look something like this.

1. Having watched my seedlings sprout, herbs and vegetables for the garden, and David decides to start a crop of his own.

2. David adopts an all or nothing mentality and insists that whatever garb he has worn TO school, winter coat/stocking cap, will also be worn home FROM school, zipped to the chin, even if the temperature has risen 30 degrees in the intervening hours. Sometimes he even strips off his outerwear on his way into the house from the bus, remarking with exasperation, "I SOOOO hot!" He will be reluctant to give up the winter gear until he never has to wear it again. Period. End of story.

3. Each day after school, he begs big brother Andrew to come outside with him and play basketball, or ride scooters. And Andrew tries not to complain that David rarely plays with him, but he usually expects Andrew to shoot baskets while he blows his gym teacher whistle, or watches the timer count down the minutes and seconds until it is time to come in, or exercises the automatic seat in my car, or even drags the four chairs from front porch onto the driveway and arranges them stadium style like he is waiting for the spectators.

4. Although no amount of advance preparation or noise cancelling ear gear can dull the agitation of the weather warning drill at school (please note that I did not utter the word tornado), David is quick to tell everyone he meets that there has been a drill. He also wants to conduct his own meteorological experiments each night using a tornado tube connecting two-liter bottles, allowing him to whip the entrapped water and glitter into a tornado-like vortex. And, he uses the same iPad script outlined above except when asked what he wants to search for on YouTube, his reply is now "school weather warning drill."

5. For David, there are no rules about what is and is not to be worn seasonally. There is no reason why red should be replaced by pretty pastels on Easter Sunday, as David made clear to us. The shirt, which I had deemed to be perfect as it was a more spring-like red plaid, did not meet David's high standards and garnered three strikesnot red enough, too many buttons (for the usually cotton t-shirt wearing, two button limit boy) and short sleeves (please see above item number 2, because David's rules for outwear also apply to seasonal changes of sleeve and pant length.)

6. David moves his life outdoors. If the weather is nice and David wants to be outside, he goes outsidethank goodness for an alarm system with a chime to indicate that a door has been opened. And, David has no limits about what can go outside with him. If, for instance, his current interest is a 40 X 40 inch tri-pod projection screen (don't even ask), then that screen will move inside and outside with David and be assembled each time he goes in or out.

So, spring has officially sprung and about the time I am finished getting David accustomed to the warm weather, the leaves will begin their descent from the trees, slowly at first, and we will need to reverse the process.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens"*
Ecclesiastes 3:1

*including, of course, fascination with a Da-Lite 40 X 40 inch tripod screen in matte white.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring has Sprung

The sun is shining.  The temperature finally hit 60 degrees, if even for an instant.  Easter was Sunday, which, of course marked the unofficial beginning of white shoe season.

Except that I do not like white shoes.  I do not own any white shoes.  I don’t think I have worn white shoes since they were paired with a bonnet and made of patent leather.

No wait.  I never had white patent leather shoes.  I did once long for a pair of white patent leather shoes that had long white ribbons that tied around the ankle, but I was informed by my mother that they were not nearly as practical as the standard black patent leather shoes with the buckle.

So, they stayed propped in the shoe store window.  No wonder I am not a fan.

And, thankfully, it has been years, decades since I wore a bonnet.

(And for those of you who are still wondering what I wear when sporting the white cropped pants, the answer is champagne.  I do own a pair of champagne colored sandals and yes, there is a difference.)

Spring is finally here, spring by my calendar.  I am not talking about meteorological spring, or the vernal equinox.  And my date is thankfully unrelated to prognostications from misguided Pennsylvanian rodents.

It shall heretofore be known as Kathy Spring.

I am not certain what causes the page to flip on the seasonal calendar of my psyche, but I am sure that the complex calculation involves the convergence of at least the following factors.

1. The number of hours of bright sunlight must be inversely proportionate to the percentage of land mass still covered in snow piles, dirty or otherwise, by a ratio of at least 40 to one.

2. The meteorologist must not utter the word “accumulation” any time during the seven day forecast even when preceded by the word “no.”

3. Daffodils and asparagus must be featured as loss leaders in every grocery store ad.

4. The deck furniture begins to call to me for rescue from the cocoon covers and retrieval from the huddle under the deck.

5. I have actually remembered to shave my legs without a somewhat pointed comment from my husband.  Evidently, the number of years of our marriage (almost 16) is inversely proportionate to the number of times I feel it necessary to shave my legs during the winter months.

6. I spend several minutes each morning in my closet, trancelike, frustrated at wardrobe that does not include bright spring outfits appropriate for a day with a wind chill in the teens.

Of course there are a number of other contributing elements including whether or not I have tomato seedlings under the grow lights in the basement, or have simply dreamt about it again until it was too late in the season.

But, to be honest, this year there was an extra catalyst.  Late last week I pulled into the driveway after work.  A neighbor had delivered a stunning Easter lily to the table on my front porch, which made me laugh because she positioned it strategically inside the artificial wreath that somehow did not make it back inside the storage bins with the Christmas lights and other decorations.

Spring is here and Kathy Spring has finally arrived as well.  It is time for walks in the park, pizza made on the grill, and long lingering conversations on the deck, huddled under a blanket against the evening chill.

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.