In the rush, I forget. I arrive at the school for pick up, just in time. [translation = to get a parking place] I gathered my small people and shepherded them to the safety of the car. There seem to be far too many legs and arms around for me to keep hold of and I am again grateful for the lovely car, or rather the lovely car’s automatically opening doors. As they slide open to allow for easy entry, junior stops dead and screeches as the top of his lungs. [translation = approximately 400 people turn in our general direction to see which child has a stake through the heart] Two children enter the car and take their seats, one remains steadfast on the curb incoherent. He assumes the position, curled like a shrimp on the pavement, his body appearing to have convulsions. The retching, choking noises are interspersed with rooster noises. [translation = better than screaming and an indication that verbal communication should be returning shortly] People step around him. Several kindly persons offer assistance. My explanation that he ‘will be just fine,’ appear to be a patent lie. Clearly the child is having a near death experience, whilst I, his mother sit by his side and stroke his back. I peer through the moving crowd. His teacher is at the door. She gives me a thumbs up sign and smiles. [translation = he had a great day at school, sorry the ‘great’ part of the day is now over]
His sister leans out of the car to check on his progress, “maybe five minutes? D’ya think?” Her assessment is probably more accurate than mine. [translation = of his recovery time] I nod and smile. She turns her attention to her other brother, where they entertain each other with crumbs left over from their lunch sacks. [translation = thank goodness it’s only one child having a meltdown with no knock on effect to the others!]
Junior realizes that he is on the ground. [translation = tactile aversion is playing second fiddle to whatever the current horror is] He flips over to make a remarkably accurate impression of a Russian dancer as he kicks his feet out to shake off the dust. His squeaks are timed perfectly. [translation = coordinated in time with the leg thrusts] He leaps to his feet, brushing off specks of dirt like a whirling dervish. Once he is satisfied that he has achieved the desired level of cleanliness, he sighs and droops a bit. I take this is my cue.
“What is so bad dear?” He sparks remembering what it was that set him off in the first place. He points a tremulous index finger to the interior of the car. [translation = the same car that we have had for two years.] I look too, just in case.
“You’re gonna kill me?” I look blankly at him trying to connect dots that I cannot see. He helps me out. “You’re gonna kill me wiv dat fing?” I notice the dust buster on the carpet, left over from my ‘blitz the car’ effort. I am so lucky that he is now able to tell me things.
“Oh that’s a mistake, I just forgot to put it back on the recharger.” The dust buster is one of his more hated domestic appliances. [translation = because of the noise] It is my habit, to announce in a loud voice that I am about to use a domestic appliance. [translation = this is a vast improvement upon having to all housework at night, when they are in deep sleep]
This is thus a two fold problem? Firstly, there it is, the hated thing. Secondly, the hated thing has popped up unexpectedly in the wrong place at the wrong time. [translation = boo!] I remove the hated thing and sling it in the boot. [translation = trunk] He takes a cautious step towards the car, examines the floor and gently brushes the carpet fibres where the hated thing had been lying, just to make sure that it is truly gone and that there is no cross contamination.
We drive home. “So! Does the car look clean?” I ask under the foolish misconception that anyone might care one jot.
“You wash dah car?” he asks incredulous. I have occasionally used an automatic car wash service. Once, I had the children in the car with me whilst it was automatically washed. My idea of entertainment and my boys’ idea of entertainment did not match. [translation = rats in a trap that is on fire]
To me, the presence of the dust buster signifies that I have cleaned the carpet at least, but it appears that this is not an automatic conclusion. I remind myself that I have a whole book about teaching inferences to autistic children. I remind myself that maybe I ought to dust off that book, instead of the car carpet. Seems that I do everything too "late."
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
[Pre - holiday in England]
We return from the garden centre. I am full of beans. [translation = ready to plant]
My son is wasted. [translation = American term meaning excessively tired, as opposed to the English, term meaning inebriated.] I took him with me as he doesn't react quite as violently as his brother does to this kind of trip. Spouse cared for the other two.
Now don't get me wrong, I am entirely delighted that my two severely speech delayed boys now talk, it's just that the thought processes behind the production of those words, is still far too fast and complex for me to understand. More often than not, I tie myself up in knots. [translation = intractable ones]
My son collapses of the floor like the deflated balloon that he is, together with matching sound effects. [translation = shopping is exhausting for him]
“Whatcha got mom?” asks his sister with enthusiasm.
“Ooo I bought loads of lovely things just look!”
“Gee but you were only gone half an hour!”
“Really, it seems sooooooo much longer. [translation = ten minutes drive there, 3 minutes choosing, 7 minutes queuing, paying and packing, 10 minutes drive home] Anyway, now we have to decide what to put where? Want to help?”
“So you remember the vine that died on one side of the arbors because of the frost?”
“Well, should we replace it with this glossy Jackmanii, or this smouldering Stephanotis?”
Junior appears in the kitchen, “what you do! Plantings are in dah garden not in dah house! Dirty!”
“They’ll be in the garden soon enough, we just have to decide which one to put where? Do you want to help?”
“NO! I am hating dah gardin and I am hating dah plants also.”
“Fair enough.” He hovers close by, brewing.
I reconnect with my daughter. “So what do you think?”
“I love that velvety purple, that will look lovely next to the other three white ones on the back fence.” I pause. Two arches. Three vines. Three white vines.
“Hmm, maybe we had better put the Stephanotis there then they’ll all be white, and they’ll all be scented which will be lovely when you’re sitting there.”
Junior buts in, “what it is, ‘assorted’?”
“Um, various, mixed, that sort of thing.”
“Why you are calling him Jack den?”
“Because that’s what he….er, it is. It is a Clematis Jackmanii, it’s Latin, named after the chappy that bred him, er…. it…..I think.”
“What rhyme it is?”
“Yes. What be rhyming wiv Jackmanii?”
“Jackmanii, Jack boy e i, Jill girl e i, e i e i o e i!”
“That’ll do nicely, well done.”
"He is ancient?"
"Who, er who is ancient?"
"Well, he...it's probably got a couple of years growth I suppose."
"A couple is two!"
"Yes, that's right, good boy."
"You said he was ancient."
"Did I?" As usual I have completely lost the thread of this conversation.
"Yes, you said he was Latins. Latins is ancient too, he cannot be only two."
"Oh, yes, I see what you mean. Breeders give plants Latin names so that everyone in the world can understand them. It's a common language. It doesn't matter what language you speak, everyone......understands......Latin." I peter to a halt anticipating an onslaught of additional questions that I am surely unable to answer. However, to my surprise, he seems completely satisfied with this response. I turn to my daughter again, who has waited patiently [again] throughout.
"So, shall we make a start? Find the fork?"
Junior has been cogitating for a few minutes.
“But he is not a Jack, he is a ‘patio plant,’” he spits twanging the elastic of the label.
“He’s a patio plant too. A plant can be more than one thing. Just like you! You’re masculine, a scholar, a chanters, a lyricist, an American, a fleet of foot, a Brit, a feline friend, a chocolate connoisseur, a jester, lots of different things all at the same time, all rolled up into one little boy.” I stop my brief list. I wonder if he can translate all those terms. Should I have used simpler language? I wait for him to process. Why do I keep doing that? Using too many words?
"I not little," he asserts after a brief pause.
"True, you're quite big now." I wait a bit longer....reminding myself of the discrepancy between his receptive and expressive language skills. [translation = understands what comes in but can't necessarily come out with the right words]
“What it is ......‘a Brit’?” [translation = oh no, tragedy!]
We will be in England in less than three weeks. Pass me the Globe!