With hesitation, we put BUS and BACKPACK on the board…

Weather.  Weather is coming our way, and it has teeth and snarls.  It is not so much snow that is causing us great concern, but cold…bitter, bone-chilling, skin-freezing, heart-stopping cold.  That it follows a day when it was 50 degrees and no one was wearing a jacket makes it even stranger.

Our trek to the store today was intended to prepare us for possible power outages.  The rest of the town was there for the same purpose.  Not a person left without packages of batteries in hand.  J bought batteries, flannel sheets that were on sale (because J can never have enough flannel sheets in winter,) and two movies: The Wizard of Oz and Mirror, Mirror.  Lily Collins, I’m sure, had a lot to do with his selection of Mirror, Mirror, but The Wizard of Oz was a bit of a surprise.  J has never actually SEEN the movie, but he did see TGG playing The Cowardly Lion his Junior year in high school.  The show was amazing.  The kids did a wonderful job, and J really, really, REALLY loved the whole thing…until he ran into his costumed brother in the hallway and, rather than hearing the Lion speaking, that sweet, familiar voice said “hey, J!  Did you like the show???”  J backed away so fast we had to block his path to a window…we were sure he, like the Lion, was about to jump an escape out of there.  So when we got home and I unpacked the movie for him, I showed him that the Lion was on one of the discs, and I said “do you remember when your brother dressed like this???”  His eyes opened a little wider than usual, and that was enough for me…the memory is still there, but I’m sure he no longer expects his beloved TGG to turn up covered in carpeting and wearing a tail.

Not much else to report other than J did not request Pringles or Ramen noodles at the store.  He is running very low on Ramen, by the way…I think by mid-week we’ll be looking at sounding the trumpet to announce the end of his stores.  I’m not proud of this fact, but J’s breakfast of champions is a package of Ramen noodles…drained of all broth…consumed dispassionately, and quickly forgotten.  We’ve inserted eggs, sandwiches, toast, cereal and so forth into the morning routine, but J has insisted (all along and without fail) on his Ramen noodles.  What will happen when the last package is gone is anyone’s guess…

Maybe it’s time for the Ramen noodles to go the way of the boxing gloves.  Maybe he’s tired of them, but is too proud to admit this even to himself.  Maybe he will put up a token fight about not having any left.  Maybe he will remember at the last minute and demand that we run to the store to get more.  It could be that this is one carefully crafted crisis, or it could be that, as he has done in the past, J is about to surprise us.

That is my thought on this Sunday night when the weather is about to kick our asses, and we’re running low on an important staple: J is probably about to surprise us.

Why not?  This is the kid who now chooses yogurt over popcorn.  This is the kid who had steamed broccoli with a pat of butter as a side for his dinner of home-made gnocchi with pesto (and a minimal amount of Parmesan.)  Why not surprise us?  Why not throw in there one more thing that we can rejoice about???  I believe it’s possible, and I believe that the “surprise” will feel very natural if it does happen…

Just like the mad dash to the store to buy Ramen noodle while J screams and stomps will feel very natural, too…but I’m gunning for the alternative.  If anything has been proven over the past month it is that J is a lot more willing to accept change than we ever gave him credit for, and that we have to stop getting in our own way when it comes to these things.  And there will be days when he’s good ol’ J the Cranky, and we have to get out of our way for those things, too.

I think I can get used to this…

 

Cue Monday…

The aroma of spiderwebs being consumed by the sudden (and necessary) maiden voyage of our central heating unit filled the air on Saturday evening.  We had been living A/C free for weeks, and the temperature was being regulated by ceiling fans circulating air that came in through strategically opened/closed windows. For a short while, we lived with the stench and the knowledge that we were evicting many arachnids (not that we like them, but one does wonder where they go…under beds?  Into boxes?  Lurking in corners???  Quoth the raven…especially with Halloween coming,) but were comforted by feeling the temperature go from 62 degrees indoors to a comparatively cozy and whopping 67 (we are NOT the Rockefellers.)

J, suddenly hearing the vaguely familiar sound of the heater turning on, dashed out of his TV room, eyes wide with surprise.  That sound, even more than the Christmas tunes he’s been drowning us with, indicates that cold weather has arrived and, finally, all the really fun holidays are around the corner.  The smile on his face was well worth the smell emanating from the vents.

The pumpkin we promised him has arrived.  He went with Dada to find one that suited his taste, and he is very happy.  Right now it’s sitting on the balcony, waiting for pumpkin-carving night (which we think will be tomorrow.)  Once in a while, J goes out there, runs his hand over the orange orb and says PUMPKIN as if to inform it of what it is.  Then he taps it gently and smiles, as if to remind it that it’s about to get its insides torn out and its surface carved into some sort of facial expression.

Three pairs of pants were found.  And, because one is lucky in ways one sometimes tends to underestimate, they are the same exact make and model as the ones J loves.  Not only that, but one of the pairs is exactly the same color, albeit not yet faded.  It was this fact that allowed me to extract the torn, ripped, faded ones and set them aside for mending.  They are now, as I informed J, “weekend pants.”  J doesn’t mind that much; he has new pants and they are perfect.  He surrendered the pants that need mending and the red compression shirt that has a seam undone before turning back to organizing his closet.

Turning on the heater prompted several changes in the household.  J, for example, went straight for the hallway closet upstairs and took out the new flannel sheets he’d bought on Friday.  These are “winter-themed.”  J doesn’t much like the plaids and fall-themed ones; he always goes for bears in the snow, snowflakes, penguins…this year he danced joyously in front of the display until some music in his head moved him to grab the sheets with birds and pine cones.  Seeing J make his bed with the same enthusiasm other males reserve for waxing and polishing a sports car is pretty cool.  He crawled into his bed with the look of one who is being enveloped in the sweetest embrace.  Of course, part of this might be Kate Upton’s doing.

While TGG has grown out of the “scantily clad girl on the wall” phase, J is still very much about the girls he can see in his room.  Selena Gomez (circa the days of early Wizards of Waverly Place) has been relegated to the TV room along with Phineas and Ferb.  Kate Upton, in all her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover glory, now hangs on the wall opposite J’s bed.  The poster is revealing enough to make a boy happy, and discreet enough to not scare mom out of the room.  It also caused a brief pilgrimage into J’s room “to admire how neatly he made his bed and look at his new pants!” from TGG and Dada.  This purchase was my idea so I have no right or desire to complain.  I’m just glad that everyone seems to be falling into some new sort of normal.  After a few rough weeks, we are starting to dig a new groove for ourselves, and its familiarity is growing.

In spite of some of the recent upheaval in J’s behavior, we are still planning on reducing the medication one more time.  You’re probably wondering why we would do this if J has had issues at school recently, and if he’s being somewhat stubborn at home (which, by the way, he totally is,) but the fact is that we can’t hide behind the Risperdal forever.  There are things we need to adjust ahead of this upcoming transition, and I’m working on them even as we speak.  I don’t think, in J’s case, we were premature in medicating him, but it does feel like he has run the course of this particular treatment, and we are ready (because he is more open to so many things) to move on to something else…like less and less med until it’s all gone.

So we have introduced the clock in his room with the times when he can come get us for COFFEE.  I am fine-tuning the board that goes with it while I type this. We have also introduced the laminated cards he can exchange for the contents of his snack box, and I am adding a “wild card.”  We have noticed that our beloved son is a lot more inclined to skimp on the contents of his snack box so he can finagle extras later.  We review the box with him, post the cards where they are easily traded out, and will put a wild card up for him to earn with chores.  I’ll let you know how much outrage this causes.  The schedule board in the TV room is working wonders, and I make sure to print enough materials related to his storybooks so that we have what to work on when we’re done reading.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, for the next big step in me losing my mind: J and I are going to start working on counting to 30.  You know how he repeats things 20 times now?  Well, if I succeed in getting to 30 with him, then we’ll be hearing everything repeated thirty times.  In preparation for this task I purchased a tray of large beads, foam board to make a game with, stickers for rewards (we don’t pay for learning in snacks, thank you,) colorful buttons in assorted sizes, and the biggest tub of acetaminophen I could find…

And that, my friends, is the way the Monday is starting, and let’s see how it shapes up the rest of the week…