At 5:11 a.m. the phone rang. My heart sank. It’s been doing that a lot lately; my heart sinking when the phone rings that is. Another two-hour delay…this time I didn’t cry (like I did Monday night when they called to announce yesterday’s school closing,) but my spirits were not entirely afloat. J, poor guy, has been bored out of his gourd with so many school closings in quick succession.
Since Friday morning he has decided that he is in charge of cleaning the kitchen after breakfast. This is a good thing, yes, and that he wants his Blossom Dearie station playing on Pandora is another good thing. There is a certain charm to a big, brawny dude cleaning the kitchen while music floats around the room. The good thing about his Pandora account is that we enter one artist and it creates a whole playlist from that…Blossom Dearie brings with her selections from The Great American Songbook, Jazz, Samba, Bossa Nova, and so forth. J, raving francophile that he is, loves listening to American standards cooed and crooned in French, and he has developed a profound love for Antonio Carlos Jobim and Astrud Gilberto. Yesterday morning I was summoned, quite insistently, to look at the playlist, find the song that he was interested in, and then go to iTunes to purchase it for him.
You might have noticed that I said “summoned.” One thing that J insists on, right after I set up his music, is that I immediately leave the room. Cleaning the kitchen is personal to him. I think he finds some sort of comfort and pleasure in rolling up his sleeves, grabbing a scrub sponge and working his way through a sink full of dishes. That he does this type of work joyfully (because the giggling and laughter don’t take long to compete with the music,) dancing (because I can hear him swaying and bopping to the beats,) thoroughly (because I have actually gone back and looked at the spaces between the tines of each fork,) and carefully (because I’ve yet to hear one thing breaking, falling, clanking into any surface) is amazing. I don’t say this to imply that J wouldn’t be capable of doing the job well, but rather to compare with the whining, grunting, groaning, complaining, half-assed, and careless way in which the rest of us complete this task.
Yesterday afternoon we made the trek to the psychiatrist’s office for J’s latest appointment. Since J didn’t want to go in by himself, we went in with him. The doctor was very impressed with J’s iPad and the Proloquo2Go. I have to admit that more and more J is coming to the realization that saying what he wants (or doesn’t) and how he feels makes a huge difference in our lives. We don’t much veer from HATE and LOVE, but that’s what teenagers are like, isn’t it? As long as he doesn’t fall into a perpetual sulk, I’m fine with it, and I don’t take HATE personally when he uses that expression. How could I? I used to HATE everything when I was a teenage malcontent; age is the one that fills our vocabulary with synonyms, and we turn into a more case-by-case specific thesaurus. J might never get to that point, but HATE is infinitely better than wailing, screaming, grunting and pounding his head with his fist.
During our visit to the doctor, J wrote his name (just his first name, of course) on the sign-in sheet…I added the rest of it. He also took out his wallet and paid his deductible, and I then sat him down and explained that he should wait for a receipt and, if he wants to, he can inform the person taking the money that he wants a receipt. He has seen us do this many times over the course of years, but now is the time when he has to take over and do this for himself. Thankfully, the receptionist was very patient as I went through the whole “lesson” with J, and he was mildly confused but paying attention nonetheless. How many times will it take before he learns this step? I’m sure we have a long way to go, but that’s what we’re here for, right?
This morning, finally, J went back to school. Snow fell overnight, and the road was slushy and slippery, but J -he who dislikes trudging through snow and slipping on black ice- practically boogied his way down the hill towards our “waiting spot.” TGG and I slipped and slid our way to the corner while trying to anchor J. (Memo to me: we ALL need to jump back on the exercise bandwagon…we are SORELY out of shape!!!)
And so the “week” begins…or, at least, the weekly routine. J is back to what he normally does and has the satisfaction of seeing people whose company he has not been steeped in for the past five days. I am sure he was very happy (and perhaps humming a little samba to himself) as he walked into his classroom.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Baia segment from The Three Caballeros was a faithful representation of J’s morning at school…
And now to make the house less like a house that has been constantly occupied since last Thursday…time to open windows, doors, let fresh air in and cats out…