Day Three of the Big Chill…

Beware warm January trends that require no jacket, and give you the impression that this winter will be a piece of cake.  Fruit cake…heavy, dense, impossible to digest, best used as a doorstop fruitcake is what you’ll probably get.  I speak from experience…

I don’t know how many times I overheard Dada saying “how about that?!  Not a flake of snow all December!  It’s been downright warm compared to last winter!”  If there is one thing I’ve learned over years of being with this man is that he SHOULD NOT be allowed to talk about the weather.  Every single time he comments on how it’s too warm, too dry, unusual for the time of year, BOOM!  We get a triple-dose of whatever should be expected, and the weather forecast turns into an exercise in grotesque hyperbole.

On Tuesday morning we got Kierkegaard’s call and school was delayed for two hours, and then canceled.  Tuesday evening we got the call delaying school for two hours, and at six-thirty a.m. yesterday it was canceled.  Last night we got a THREE hour delay.  We all exchanged looks and said “that’s a closing waiting to happen.”  This morning, with the wind howling and the forecast calling for subzero temps, we looked at the map our local weather guy puts up with color-coded closings and delays.  Amid a sea of red, indicating school districts that closed their operations for the day, two or three yellow areas indicated hold-outs clinging to their 2-hour delays.  We couldn’t help but wonder if superintendents sit watching the screen to see who will be next to cave, and who will be the last superintendent standing.  Do they give out awards at the end of the school year?  Judging by the stubbornness that leads to a three-hour delay on a morning when the temperatures are expected to hit -20 with the wind chill, one would suspect this is a “thing” among school district heads.

J is taking the whole thing in stride.  I think last year we experienced enough school closures to teach him that this is par for the course where we live.  He asks for his Bus Song, but he can tell when we’re singing half-heartedly, and we observes who’s calling on the phone’s Caller ID, and our movements around the schedule board.  With a sigh of acceptance, J moves to gather laundry, take out puzzles, and line up chores we can do…if that’s not maturity, I don’t know what it is.

And, speaking of maturity, tomorrow is going to the psychiatrist day and we’re talking about reducing J’s med one more time.  I think we’re ready.  We will have, of course, a few days of rough-patch behavior, but we don’t expect (fingers crossed, knocking on not-compressed but ACTUAL wood, doing the sign of the cross, muttering a fervent prayer and wishing on a star) any difficulties aside from the usual “why is my body chemistry slightly off????”  I’ve read the notes of our previous forays into reducing the Risperdal, and I’m confident that we’ll do well…

(Let those not be famous last words, please…)

The truth is that J is maturing, and that it’s a joy to witness this.  It’s also true that I am grateful that J is becoming more and more his own person; as I age, a little of the pressure is taken off me and he takes control of more of the things he wants and needs.  At the same time, some of the feelings of “I could be doing more” return.  I think every parent experiences these feelings, and I think parents of autistic individuals know these feelings all too well.  I know J likes being by himself; it’s easy for him to find entertainment, and he relishes being so self-contained.  We all do our best to encourage him to spend time with us.  I know that J is ready for “togetherness time” when he shows up offering his DVD of Daddy Long Legs, and TGG has encouraged him to do the same with Danny Kaye’s Hans Christian Andersen.

A few mornings ago, TGG saw a bit of Hans Christian Andersen on TV while he had his breakfast before going to work, and I told him that I’d bought it for J for Twelve Days.  TGG, of course, acted as if it would be a supreme chore to sit through the whole movie, and dragged his feet when J took it out to play.  An hour later I walked into the TV room to find the boys cuddled under an electric blanket and happily watching the movie.  I brought a bowl of popcorn and they looked like the two little boys who used to watch Toy Story together so many years ago…and then J kicked me out of the room because, well, I’m mom, and mom isn’t allowed to interfere during “togetherness time” between the brothers…

For Twelve Days, TGG got J a Five Guys gift card, and J was over the moon with joy at being able to eat there (because he loves the food and the music they play,) and because TGG explained that they’d be using the card together.  On the Sunday after Christmas, J climbed the stairs to TGG’s room and announced that they were going to lunch.  This made us all laugh because it was totally spontaneous.  The following Saturday the same thing happened.  TGG says that not only is J well-known among the employees, but he also has a favorite spot from which to watch the food being prepared.  Once they have their order, J chooses a table and they eat and hang out together.  It’s nice to know they enjoy each other’s company, but can function individually the rest of the time.

In other news, we’re considering the possibility of traveling with J to Puerto Rico.  I have to visit my parents, and this requires going by plane.  J hasn’t been on a plane since 1999.  The world (and security measures) have altered a great deal since then.  The eternal quandary of how J will deal with a situation that is run-of-the-mill for others is always in play, but…we’ll see…

Before any of that, of course, we reduce the med…again.  We will brave the cold, the mild anxiety of being in the doctor’s office, and we’ll see what happens next…

Stay tuned…



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