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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Contractions can be tricky

I nip upstairs to check progress, or lack there of. He stands in the middle of the bedroom, without stitches, surrounded by every shirt he owns, piled up on the carpet in heaps the size of earthworks, as well as his brother’s, a solid mass, indistinguishable, an impenetrable mountain range. But that’s only in my mind, an exaggeration, really there’s only half a dozen. It’s a metaphorical mountain and a distraction to the main event. The main event is to have my son dressed and sequenced through his daily routine in time for the school bus. However, this goal may be hijacked by other competing campaigns: self-care, personal responsibility, natural consequences for actions. I dither. I estimate that on a good day, without any other distractions or pressures, it would be possible to put one, maybe two shirts back on their hangers and into the closet, but that has to be balanced against the amount of time expended on a task that’s unlikely to be completed, could well result in major upsets and quite possibly destroy any possible of the first goal – ready of the bus. Speech and communication has always been the priority, reduce frustration, enhance understanding, but they’re bigger now, in a different place, way further along the road, and someone keeps moving the goalposts. In the midst of my indecision, he speaks.

‘It ate my shirt.’
‘I beg your pardon?’
He holds a tan colored top in one hand, blinking at the design on the front.
‘It ate my shirt.’
‘What are you saying.’
He flaps it towards me, but I’m a bit slow on the uptake distracted by his feet trampling the other clean shirts strewn across the room.
‘It ate my shirt.’
‘Who……or what ate your shirt?’
It’s almost a dance now as he travels around the perimeter waving the shirt.
‘It ate my shirt.’
‘That’s what I thought you said. Doesn’t look like it to me. You’re saying that this shirt, ate your other shirt, or shirts, or what?’
He stops for a moment, still, static and startled, as something clicks into place. He looks at the shirt and then at me.
‘Oh no, I meant…….it’s her shirt…..it ain’t my shirt.’
‘Fabulous. That’s much better.’
So stunned by the percolation of the missing ‘n,’ I leave stuffy shirts for another day. [diction]

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