Little by little, I’ve been phasing out J’s cold weather garments from his closet. A recent request for J to try on a pair of old shorts was met with horror of the sort one seldom sees outside of over-acted movies. The reaction was so extreme that it elicited a loud HEY! and a firm clap of my hands to stop it. I took the opportunity to remind J that we don’t scream when we don’t want something, that we say NO, THANK YOU. Ten minutes later, I repeated the request (with a different pair of shorts,) and J managed to handle the situation as I’d reminded was appropriate when, it was evident, he really wanted to go WAH-WAAAH! while flailing his arms around in disgust.
I tried hiding his big brown boots. THAT got a loud WAH-WAAAH that sent Dada scrambling for the missing footwear until I said HEY! and reminded J, once more, that we don’t SCREAM when we want something. “I WANT MY BROWN BOOTS, PLEASE!” Dada, frozen in place as if I’d just yelled STOP ACTION, waited for J to ask nicely. WAH-I-WANT-BROWN-BOOTS-PLEASE-WAAAH!!!! From TGG’s room we heard “oh, just please give him the boots, guys!!!!” to which I replied NOT WHILE THERE’S WAH-WAAAH IN THERE!!!! J rolled his eyes, asked nicely (through gritted, grinding teeth,) and got his boots.
We already peeled off the heavy winter jacket, only his red hooded jacket remains in circulation. The scarf and gloves are forgotten now. One by one, like members of a tribe in Survivor, the heavy sweatshirts and pajama pants have been voted off the closet. His flannel-lined cargo pants are folded and stored. The boots, however, remain a sticking point…until today.
The comm book announced that J was fine all day, until it was time to change back into his boots. That’s when he started complaining, and was rude to other people. The boots, I think, need to go and it has to be now. As we walked up the hill (in 80 degree weather with more than 40% humidity,) I told J that I’d heard about the boots. Do I need to mention that he wanted to shake my hand????? Well, he did…his hand shot out like a politician’s at a meet-and-greet. I shook his hand; I’m not angry or upset, I just want him to be comfortable. And that’s what I told him: the boots, dude, have GOT to go. It’s time.
When it was time to change clothes, J ran upstairs to his room, and the clomping of those boots reminded me of Herman Munster when he’s happy. I know he loves them, but I also sense he’s no longer comfortable in the afternoon hours as the humidity and temperature climb. As a token of my intentions, I put a pair of shorts on his bed, and removed the boots, replacing them with his regular closed-toe sandals and adding a pair of sandals to his wardrobe. I am waiting for the WAH-WAAAH of discovery later today.
J’s recalcitrance about this transition is surprising. If anyone dives into a new season with gusto, it’s usually J. He has enjoyed starting seeds, buying plants, putting patio furniture where it’s supposed to be enjoyed (rather than in the dining room where it’s been saving us from sitting on the floor to watch TV,) and going for walks around town. The thought of abandoning his winter clothes for lighter duds he seems to not be ready for, and -while I don’t think I should force him- I need to start nudging him in that direction lest he starts smelling funnier and funnier.
Like Esther Smith’s grandpa in Meet Me In St. Louis, J enjoys a little song and dance with his hat-changing ritual. He gets home bareheaded, and no sooner are we indoors, he gleefully chirps, coos and does a little jig as he retrieves his hats from his bag. I remember the days (not that long ago) when not wearing his hats at home was rewarded with hugs and kisses, but I understand that it’s more important that he not wear them at school than here. Out there, where the world doesn’t quite understand his quirks, J needs to work on fitting in a little better. Not completely, of course…that would be just plain wrong and so-not-J, but a little. We wouldn’t want him to completely surrender his personality in the name of normalcy, would we???
As the mercury (or whatever it is that thermometers are filled with these days) crawls up, J has taken to spinning more and more Christmas tunes. Like that’s gonna work, I tell him. You can’t scare cold weather into coming back, can you??? He’s trying, that’s for sure. We have gone through Fake Elvis, the girl who can’t pronounce her way through Joy to the World, and even Barney’s Christmas (which I consider an insult to Christmas in general and, if I had my way, would send floating down the river with rocks on top so it quickly sinks to the bottom.) There’s no bringing cold weather back, kid, I tell him, and when hot weather and cold weather meet it’s dangerous and people suffer. J doesn’t get this, and I don’t really want to explain that the tornado in The Wizard of Oz had a very different effect from the one actual tornadoes have.
I sit here with Sting crooning All Four Seasons in the background; last week it was very cold in the mornings, warm in the afternoons, and cooler in the evenings. Closer to four seasons in one day than it is now, and J has to realize that no measure of clinging is going to solve this issue we’re having: time passes, seasons change, get over it. I know he knows it; I know he knows that I know he knows it, but he also knows that I’m not going to tackle him to the ground and force him to accept spring and summer until he’s well and good with it. It’s what we do around these parts: we use subterfuge and sleight of hand to introduce the inevitable…
Maybe next time I’ll try serving him some carrots???