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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Engineering perfection

Two of my four children to not like the ‘great outdoors.’ [translation = my autistic boys] In order to overcome, or at least ameliorate this obstacle, we have been working on a campaign to desensitize them. [translation = since each was able to walk]

Timing is crucial, but that aside there are many other temptations available to the wily parent. [translation = deviant] I select my lures with great care, ensure that everyone has protective clothing on, [translation = sunglasses, baseball caps, clothing to the wrist and ankle] add preferred snacks in a shady corner and I’m just about ready.

I run through my check list. What might I have either forgotten or overlooked? Nothing. Perfection has been achieved. [translation = everything is in my favour] I gather the troops and advice of forthcoming proceedings. Two faces scowl back at me. [translation = it’s still a transition and we hate transitions] My daughter skips out into the garden and calls to her brother’s with glee. [translation = an added bonus] “Hey, come and look at THIS guys! It’s awesome!” The boys step out in the garden with caution, I lag behind a second or two to grab a couple of extra, extra towels for security. I hear them through the open window.

“ooo, what is it being?”
“I fink dey are dancing!”
“Squirming more like!”
“No, no, no, dey are makin dah babies! Look dere bodies, dey are wriggling, wriggling, wriggling!”

I dash out into the garden, tripping over towels, to see all three of them in the glaring sunshine, not in the shade. Not in the carefully designed spot that I have been perseverating upon all day.

They peer into the open bag of Bonemeal, that I accidentally left out in the garden a couple of days ago during my latest planting spree. I take a step towards them, gingerly.

“ooo, looky, looky, looky! Dey are all whitey!”
“No, no, no! Dey are not white dey are creamy translucent.”
“They’re pretty slimey!” [translation = reciprocal speech is when you respond appropriately and on topic in response to what someone else has said rather than going off on a tangent of your own e.g. Pokemon are winners]

I take another step closer, jam my sunglasses onto my nose and take a deep breath. I peer, with half closed eyes at the contents of the bag. I can hardly bear to look. I know I should have put it back in the garage. I should have been more careful watering. I should have closed the bag, sealed the bag, put the bag in another plastic bag to avoid sogginess. I can feel my stomach heave.

“I’m gonna be calling mine ‘Jiggle’ and I’m gonna be writing his name wiv curly wurly ‘G’s.”
“I’m gonna…..name him…….trans, trans, trans,….George cos he’s a very curious one.”
“They’re too many to give them all names guys!”

I watch the surface of the bag ripple. What is the conversion rate of one 10 pound bag of organic Bonemeal to wildlife?

“ooo, I love dah little guys!” he guffaws with laughter and slaps his knees.
“I fink we could, we should, we might …..be putting dem in the bo, box, er……aquarium so dat dey can be our new pets!”
“That’s a great idea! Good job! I hope Rascal and Unis like em too! I hope they won’t eat em like the lizards. Perhaps we ought to put a top on this time. What do you think Mom?” she looks at me expectantly.

If they think I’m going to have a tank full of maggots on the dining room table, then think "again."

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