When I was a kid I liked to imagine that our air-conditioned bedroom was the South Pole, and I had successfully completed my own Antarctic expedition. The temperature, of course, was not a degree under 60, and that was on nights when my aunt was experiencing what I now understand to be the overwhelming power of hot flashes. I thought, silly me, that I knew what “cold” was, and I did…in comparison to the average temperature of my childhood: 78℉ year-round. If, as a child and teenager, I ran to the closet in search of an extra blanket or a sweater when the temperature dipped below 65, I now am a little more tolerant of the mercury sinking quickly in our thermometers.
Because today was a holiday and J is ready to be far away from home, tomorrow looks like a possible snow day. The forecast calls for snow starting before dawn (of course,) and continuing throughout the day. The high temperature for Wednesday is supposed to be, oh, ten degrees. In my early years I had no clue about what “wind chill” is, and now it’s an all-too-familiar concept. If my eight year-old self could see me now she would be impressed, and then she’d ask me if I’ve lost my marbles and why am I not wearing socks in bed when the thermostat reads 65 indoors.
If all goes as the weather forecast is expecting, the 2013-2014 school year will end sometime in late June. At the rate we’re going, spring will arrive bundled up in a cloak and dragging summer by the ear. Summer will be kicking and screaming with displeasure, complaining about how cold it still is. Every time this comes into my mind (at the oddest moments, too,) I grab a seed catalog and start using J’s methods of yearning and cajoling Nature to acquiesce. She is, after all, a mother, and if she will dump snow on us because J wants a snow day, I’m sure I can get her to understand this from my point of view: there’s only so much productive mothering that can take place when we can’t open the door and step outside. Thirty-one-hundred square feet is not enough space for all this mothering in cold, cold, atrociously cold weather. A month in, and we’re all ready to open the back door and let winter exit and go back north where it belongs.
In the meantime we keep busy with our everyday lives. J continues to surprise us with his willingness to eat whatever we put in front of him (mock risotto made with orzo tonight,) and by displaying a significant amount of energy for even the most exhausting tasks. He is alert and enthusiastic, and he’s HAPPY. J has been in a consistently good mood since November…for the most part. He’s got his moments, of course, when he’d rather not deal with any of us, but he doesn’t go about them in a negative way. The only difficulty he continues to have with behavior is at school, and last week was much better than before.
J’s teacher told me that one of the aides, an older lady who tends to proactively seek the fly in the ointment, pointed that she didn’t think J liked his yogurt. This impression, the teacher tells me, seems to have been gleaned from J scraping at the dregs of yogurt in the cup with his spoon, and running his finger in it to see if there was any more to be had. The other day, she tells me, they sat there watching J happily dipping his six whole-wheat crackers into his small container of hummus…and eating them with what they described as absolute joy. I hear those things and part of me is still stunned, and the other part of me is just going “right on!!!!!!!!!!”
I haven’t wanted to weigh him. I don’t want to go by numbers here because numbers can be very disappointing. Instead I’m focusing on how his clothes fit, how much energy he has, and what kind of energy it is. Is it the frantic energy provided by sugar? Is it the burst of energy that peters out suddenly when whatever was providing it is spent? Can J put his pants on without sucking his belly in, and do they cut into him when he sits down? All the answers lately are positive. J is doing just fine, I just don’t know what number “fine” is.
I am going, forgive me for saying, with the approach that is being bandied about by the nice people at Special K…instead of worrying about “size,” I’m focusing on how my son is moving, his attitude, his new habits. Today I saw disappointment because all the pear chips are gone, and I forgot to ask TGG to buy a lemon when he went to the store so I can’t make more until I get ONE lemon. I explained this to J…he rolled his eyes. Today was the tenth day without Ramen Noodle. I wonder if the good people at Nissin Top Ramen and Maruchan Ramen have noticed J’s absence. I doubt it because this is a college town and, as we know, college students live on ramen noodles, but maybe that minuscule downturn in sales has been duly noted.
It almost feels like J is in a twelve-step program to quit ramen noodles, and we’re taking it one day at a time. Then I think of how he hasn’t even tried to ask for them; even though the PECS card for RAMEN NOODLES is there in the drawer where he keeps all the ones for his everyday snacks, J has made no move to grab it or to put it on the board, or to use his iPad to ask “hey…how come????” Nothing. Not a peep. The early-morning staple, J’s personal interpretation of “the breakfast of champions” is gone from the rotation without so much as a by-your-leave…
But if there’s one thing we can count on for now it’s snow…and there’s more coming, and I’m sure there will be some more behind it. That’s the way the healthy, whole-grain cookie crumbles.
Back to the seed catalogs…two months to spring…to long, cold, seemingly endless months…