This morning, bright and early, we went out for my doctor’s appointment. J wasn’t particularly excited about the prospect of leaving the house, but since the doctor’s office is next to Target, he made an exception.
Without the wind chill we were at 13 degrees when we left the house. Not much had changed an hour and ten minutes later when we started making our way back. We had parked the car in the garage last night, and this had only ever happened before when we had a Tornado Warning, and it was hailing. We drove straight into the garage when we got home, and J scampered into the house quite agilely. For J to scamper it takes quite a bit…he stood in the dining room, encased in scarf, gloves, hat, earmuffs and jackets until he felt like he could trust the temperature indoors.
None of this should surprise us. This is not our first winter here, but we have definitely grown accustomed to being inside the house rather than waiting for buses in the wee hours of the morning, or walking against the wind on our way home in the afternoon. J found his fleeciest fleece pants, and his most thermal thermal top, and he bundled up before returning to the dining room.
That the forecast predicts sixty degrees for Saturday, and snow for Sunday is not surprising either. The thermostat will be set at 68 degrees during the day, and at sixty-five at night until winter passes. Such a big townhouse with three levels (if you’ve been reading this a while you know the basement is the frozen tundra, the kitchen level is more temperate, and the third floor is tropical) cannot be kept satisfactorily warm or cool depending on the season without the assistance of multiple blankets (walk around this house from top to bottom and you can gather layers as you move towards the basement,) or box fans (the third floor usually sounds like a turbine test facility during the summer.)
The Second Day of Christmas was successful. We baked cookies in the afternoon, and J was looking forward to the after-presents dessert. Last night’s dinner was a typical Puerto Rican dish, and J stood in the kitchen (smiling from ear to ear with anticipation and delight) while we cooked. He was so giddy we even took pictures. Every time I lifted the lid of the pot he would open his mouth like a baby bird…but he ate a prudent amount of food (he was reminded that there were cookies,) and he giggled throughout the meal.
It’s nice to see him happy. It’s nice to see that he is enjoying those little moments. It’s also nice to see his sense of humor and funny bone are in excellent shape. Today TGG stopped by and I made a comment about something J had done to confound us. J, who was sitting eating his lunch, started giggling. I told him “yeah, you think you’re funny. What you are, my friend, is a brat!” And J then started laughing heartily. It was contagious. Before long the three of us were laughing, and -once we slowed down- J would suddenly get a fit of giggles whenever he looked at us. I know…you had to be there, right?
Tonight we are making turkey meatball soup. J has been in and out of the kitchen all afternoon, inspecting what I am doing to prep for that. Once in a while he stops in front of the glass doors and says BRR, and dashes back to the basement. His mood is light. He is happy with his Christmas village, and our ins and outs from that room. He lets us cuddle up to him, and is very affectionate, until he’s tired of being affectionate and, laughing, kicks us out of the room. As I said: he’s a brat. An adorable brat, but a brat nonetheless…
The only fly in the ointment today was that J wanted pizza. We told him he could have it tomorrow. He got angry. He didn’t have a meltdown. He had a small tantrum. It’s lovely (and very helpful) to know the difference. Tantrums are, in a very real way, much easier to handle than meltdowns. A tantrum has an obvious cause, and it is a battle of wills between he who throws it, and those who are on the receiving end. A meltdown is an existential issue; a battle with something that is hard to define, hard to process, almost impossible to control. The factors involved are many, complex, and inexplicable to those who don’t experience meltdowns as a “way of life.”
A tantrum is also easily resolved with a simple, firm NO. Once J saw we weren’t budging, J accepted that PIZZA is tomorrow, and he moved on. OK, he was miffed for ten minutes, but then we made breakfast burritos (small ones…like the smallest breakfast burritos you’ve ever seen, and they had pureed carrot in them) and he forgot his displeasure. That is how we confirm that a tantrum is what we saw. A meltdown wouldn’t have found consolation or satisfaction in a burrito…much less with pureed carrots.
And that’s where we are. On the brink of making meatball soup (that has pureed carrot in it, too,) and getting ready for Third Day of Christmas presents. Inching forward a little more every day, sitting for a bit to reassess once in a while, hoping for the best always….