Evening fell and nothing cooled off…morning arrived and we were much in the same state. If I haven’t lost any weight, it hasn’t been for lack of copious perspiration.
I had to chop some of J’s hair off last night; he looked like a sheepdog with a thick fringe of hair over his eyes. He was not particularly enthused about my handiwork, not because it doesn’t look good, but because he likes the hair falling over his eyes. As I explained to him as I clipped away with the shears, that’s what the hats are for…I can understand one or two layers of vision-impairing accoutrements, but THREE????
J was mortified and kept trying to push the hair back over his eyes. There was a lot of physical exertion involved, and all of it was unsuccessful. The only thing that distracted him from his purpose to the point of completely forgetting what was bothering him was dinner. It was nearly nine o’clock by then. The day had been so hot that J simply did not want to eat early, and I can’t say that I blame him.
At 10 he went up to his room and promptly fell asleep. I told myself it would be nice to sleep a little later this morning…and that is why J was sitting on my bed asking to go the pool at six a.m. OK, the 82 degrees that were evident once one opened a door or window might have had something to do with his desire to go swimming early. GOING TO THE POOL??? I told him no, way too early to go to the pool. He curled up next to me and asked again. I said later. Sigh. Seriously, he SIGHED. Then he sat up and announced, quite happily, GOING TO MAKE COFFEE!!!
So on a morning when I could’ve stayed in bed until seven, I was downstairs supervising J while he made coffee at 6:10 a.m. The boy is nothing if he isn’t persuasive, and he makes a good cup of coffee. I then had him work with me through our morning chores, and I insisted on doing it slowly. I understand that J wants to go to the pool, but I also understand that if he can push me around and rush me through things, he will attempt the same thing at school. This is not something I want to encourage at all. Breaking everything down to the smallest detail and making J repeat the words and signs for each step is going a long way to improving his ability to communicate. I find more spontaneous speech now than I did at the beginning of summer vacation.
There are things that J didn’t know how to say or had trouble saying a mere few weeks ago. We used to sit at every doctor’s appointment pointing to each finger and each thumb saying FINGER and THUMB. At first there were no F or TH sounds coming out, and now J actually says FINGER and THUMB quite clearly. I am also getting more out of him in terms of what he wants, and he’s responding better when I tell him NO or LATER. J also is improving at answering simple questions and enunciating his words more clearly. We no longer point to our shirt and say CLOTHES, we now say SHIRT; the same goes for PANTS. I can now ask him what color his clothes are and he will tell me each item and say/sign the correct color. Earlier this summer, the word WHITE was not in his vocabulary and just today, while folding laundry, I asked him what color a shirt was and he said and signed WHITE.
I know this is not rocket science, and I know that I haven’t reinvented the wheel or done anything other people haven’t done ten million times before me, but I feel like J has worked hard and achieved something. I no longer have to say “make your bed” because by the time I finish coffee and come back to the bedrooms to get dressed for the day, J’s bed is made, and he’s ready to take out the things he uses to get ready in the mornings. Today, for example, I said “let’s do some laundry,” and by the time I came downstairs to the laundry room, J had already washed a load without any supervision. Same goes for taking out the trash and running the dishwasher.
We started out the year not doing well when counting from 1 to 20, and now -without even realizing it- J’s doing simple math. While we fold clothes, I set aside the garments that require hangers, and then J has to count how many hangers are needed. Because he usually grabs a handful from the clothes rack in the laundry room, it is inevitable that he will have either more or less than he needs, and then we do our silly little math that, to many mothers of 17 year-olds, would be one of those “but WHY????” moments… I don’t care how we get it done and how he practices it…the point for me is that we’re working on something he will put to good use.
Having Dada out of town this week has been…overwhelming. Exhausting. Boring. Tedious. I have so many things I want to tell him that the next few hours are going to go by very slowly. At the same time, I feel like what I’m about to relate to him about these days J and I have spent entertaining each other is best left for him to discover. I want to see how J does something Dada isn’t expecting and watch the wonder spread over my husband’s face because that tickles J’s fancy to no end.
And so, with that prospect of discovery and wonder ahead, the weekend begins…