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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Art for arts sake

“What are you doing?” he says in a tone that appears to be genuine interest.
“I’m planting the old teapot.”
“You are planting?”
“The old teapot?”
“Why you are doing that for?”
“Because I can’t use the teapot for tea because the lid is broken, so I thought I’d use it as a flower pot instead.”
“The lid is broken? What is ‘lid’?” Often ordinary words lose their meaning or cannot be retrieved.
“A lid is a top.”
“Why it broke, I mean, why it broked, I mean why it is broken?”
“Old and mould?”
“Yes. Don’t you think it looks nice?” He gives his standard response;
“I don know.” I dither whether to pursue him and risk a meltdown? I risk it.
“This isn’t an ‘I don’t know’ kind of a question. This is a 'yes,' 'no' or 'a little bit,' kind of a question.”
He flinches. He teeters on the brink of a meltdown and then sighs. His body rearranges itself. He seems to take the matter seriously and gives it his due and careful attention, muttering under his breath, ‘now then, let me see.’ [translation = self talk] He examines the teapot with the ivy cuttings in it minutely, from every angle, both spout and handle. His body is contorted on the step in case he misses a bit. ‘Hmm, I think may if I turn it, oh no, oh no, oh no,’ he murmurs.

Many people would describe this son as 'clumsy.' [translation = a klutz] It's not so much that he has invisible butter on his fingers, more that his whole being is an oil slick. As he grows, he has become more aware of the fact that his body cannot be trusted, that it lets him down and deceives him. He mutters, sotto voce, [translation = whispers] so I can hear some of his thought processes and awareness. When he is in this whispering mode, his language can be quite fluid. His 'real' voice comes back “you can maybe be turn it for me,.... please? I don wanna be break it” he grins. I oblige by 180 degrees. He peers at the yellow china, his nose skims the surface. He stands up straight on the step ready to give me his considered opinion; hands on hips, tummy stuck out, shoulders back, looks me straight in the eye with a jaunty expression to announce, “You know, maybe, I think it looks like a teapot with green bits stickin outta it.”

Can’t fault him for accuracy.


kristina said...

Telling it like it is------there's something of the oil slick about my own boy but when he holds on, you're stuck fast in honey-strong glue.

Tera said...

Great objective! My son breaks "every" little thing he touches. This week he was twirling with a rock in his hand and now our kitchen window has a hole. I just try to take a deep breath...

Anonymous said...

Coming out of lurking because that was just too cute. I love reading about all of his observations on things.
My son's usual answer to questions like that is - "I guess."

Ellen said...

I think my husband just might have the same reply! Personally, I think it's lovely!

Anonymous said...

My eldest isn't as litteral as he once was... but when all of a sudden it "pop" out... You're right... can't fault him for his accuracy :)


Patience said...

I like the teapot; love the kid!

Unknown said...

I think it's lovely! I have a yellow one that I got at a garage sale sometime back and that's what I always meant to do.

And no, you cannot find fault in his assessment.

Joeymom said...

I think the pot looks lovely. I used to collect "novelty" teapots. Well, actually, my grandmother did, and when she died, I was allowed one thing, and I picked one of her teapots (all of her fancy work had been spoken for), and so people started buying me teapots. Maybe I ought to put plants in them...

n. said...

definitely the better for green bits.

i like how your kids still sound british sometimes, after some time living in the US... it's good to be bicultural, right?

daedalus2u said...

Actually it can be an "I don't know" answer. If you don't want to take the mental effort to figure it out, the default is always "I don't know". I understand abstractly that on some level the answer "doesn't matter", but if you have a certain process for figuring stuff out, you have to use the process even for stuff that other people might not consider warrented that level of mental effort.

It is these simple questions that can be mine fields, like "does this make me look fat"?

Heidi said...

oh how sweet. I read this and wanted to give your little boy a big hug. Gives me a glimpse of what the near future holds with my own butterfingers...

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks so much for leaving comments on my blog. I've been lurking on your blog, reading about your wonderful boys and the rest of the family. After I read today's post I thought, gee, I look forward to the day when my grandson progresses from the words he says to telling me like it is. I will love that, I am so thrilled to hear him say a little word like blue!

And shingles, grrrrr, I would not wish these on my worst enemy, thanks for the sympathy! :)

Lora said...

Love the teapot idea and the conversation.....how cute!

John Robison said...

I was like your son. I broke things, I took them apart, and I gave them my own names.

Now, at 49, I appear more normal with every passing year.

But I read passages like yours and I remember how I was, and how I still am, to a lesser degree.

I remember walking up to my mother and saying, "He is hungry." and "He wants some water."

It's a mystery why some of us become more integrated into the world and others don't. And it's so hard to know what may happen. Never in a million years would I have predicted my life today a decade ago, and I have no idea where I'll be next year.

I looked at your other blog first but you said no one visited this one, or perhaps I misunderstood.

Beck said...

The teapot is lovely. Your son is beautiful.

Sunshine said...

I think the fact that he was interested for that long of a conversation about the teapot is phenomenal...not sure my brother would engage that long!
And, the teapot looks adorable!

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