You can go your own way…

Yesterday’s note from the teacher read “we tried to turn left and J threw a hissy fit.  We thought we’d mix things up.  We ended up turning right, and he was happy then.”

You KNOW I read this as soon as he was off the bus.  You KNOW we had a “conversation” on the way home and, to top it off, I changed the route to one he usually dislikes, and I -in no uncertain terms- told J that what the teacher says goes.

I heard a lot of grumbling, but he followed me as I lead him on the alternate route.  When we got home, I once more gave the “you don’t get to choose for the whole class” speech.  He was only repentant enough to elicit an outing to get lunch from TGG.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, J puppy-eyed his brother and got a burger out of it.

You must be saying “WHAT????” to yourselves right about now, and you’re probably calling me a coward.  Well, from yesterday morning until Saturday morning it’s all about picking battles carefully.  Dada, you see, is out of town for training, and that is stressful enough as is.  I am walking a fine line here, and I need to keep my balance.

I slept with a rather anxious cat on my feet last night.  This, of course, didn’t happen until after TGG had left for work and I’d had to tell J that, unequivocally, it was bedtime and he needed to turn his music OFF and crawl into bed.  I got a big AW out of that from him.  He had turned off his light and TV earlier, and he was “in bed.”  No sooner had I crawled into my bed and tried to tire myself by reading that I heard the distant thumping of Brian Setzer jitterbugging his way through a Christmas song.  I got out of bed and played bad guy.  It was probably 11:00 P.M.

If I can get J to somewhat understand that Dada is away working and he’ll be back this weekend, I do not have such powers over the cat.  Both J and Miss Pipa are still waiting for Miss JuJu to return.  They sit anxiously waiting on the deck, and J is a little more resigned to the empty chair beside him than Miss Pipa is.  Day after day she goes out to sniff around, searching for her former nemesis and now long-lost friend.  That the cat has become our shadow is an understatement; I have found her curled up on the toilet seat when I step out of the shower.  Last night, when she realized that darkness was falling and the tall guy wasn’t home yet, she started pacing around and going to the garage to sniff at the van.  She would come back to the kitchen and do something she seldom does: MEOW!  I tried to explain, in as easy-for-a-cat-to-understand terms as I was capable of, that she’ll be fed, watered and petted while Dada is gone, but that he won’t be home until late, late on Friday night.

J listened to this one-sided conversation as he ate his dinner, and made a rather awkward attempt at playing catch with the cat.  Yes, our cat thinks she’s a dog and she plays catch.  She also sleeps on her back and likes her belly rubbed.  She also runs to the door or window if she hears a suspicious sound and acts like she’s ready to protect us.  I never said this cat was sane, I just said she’s ours.

Some sort of semblance of calm had settled over us when, in what seemed like an out-of-the-blue development to Miss Pipa, TGG started getting ready for work.  J is accustomed to this.  The only thing that threw him off last night was the absence of the garage door’s noise and vibration, but he accepted TGG’s “see you in the morning!” and was relaxed about the prospect of Dada being back on Friday morning and TGG coming back this morning.  Miss Pipa, on the other hand, went into a very accurate imitation of Anthony Quinn’s Andrea in Guns of Navarone.  If she had been wearing a shirt, she’d have torn it off and pounded her bare chest with her tiny paws.  It was THAT melodramatic.  As I spoke to Dada on the phone before going to bed, Miss Pipa hovered over me, sniffing my hair, crawling under the pillows, scratching at closet doors (does she REALLY think he fits in there with all those clothes?,) and bringing one of her “danger mice” for me to toss and toss and toss to entertain her, she settled down at the foot of the bed, and proceeded to meow rather loudly until she felt it was enough.

The alarm clock rang loudly at six a.m. and Miss Pipa leaped towards me as I leapt out of bed.  I made the worst cup of coffee in the history of my world.  I am no longer used to making coffee for one.  At six-thirty I gave Dada his wake-up call and then I finished my coffee before setting about getting J out the door.  Dada’s absence seems to have been forgotten overnight.  J, too, was looking all over the place and went to the garage to check if the van was still there.  After he found the van (not that he could miss its presence at all…it IS big and red!,) he went upstairs and looked for Dada.  I explained, again, that he’ll be back late on Friday, and I showed him the calendar and counted with him.

I am sure I will have to help everyone settle in once more as the day progresses into night.  That I have time to spare is something that nags at me.  I miss Dada tremendously, and the days go by very slowly when he’s not here and yet I seem to get everything done earlier, and then I’m left to mark time until it’s bedtime.  I think it’s because J’s not much of a conversationalist.  This morning we had an awesome time singing our bus-waiting song, and we’ve added stanzas and he actually vocalizes enthusiastically, but the rest of the time our exchanges are brief.  Dada, on the other hand, is quite the chatterbox (even if people think I’m the one who can’t seem to shut up.)

On the way to the bus, I went over the “you do as the teacher says” thing, and I wrote a note (which I read out loud to J) saying that if he needs to stay behind while the other kids walk due to his lack of cooperation, so be it.  J rolled his eyes and said YES.  We’ll see how he fared today when I read the book again.

Here we are…day two of the altered environment.  I have a cat on my feet as I type this.  J is at school and TGG is sleeping.  Is it Friday yet?

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