I hurtle around the kitchen preparing breakfast and starting laundry. I remind myself that we do not 'start' laundry, as laundry is always there, a feature of human existence, never finished. I spill a little Borax by accident, my newest, latest and bestest solution to laundry and hard water, but I'm not a 'believer' yet. The science of laundry is beyond me, as is the science of IQ tests. I am glad that IQ tests are unsatisfactory when it comes to autistic children. I swig down a mug of cold Green tea, which is supposed to be good for me, my 'medicine,' before the caffeine fix.
I pause as light creeps into the kitchen and nip to the window, open it a crack to let in chill air. The road is deserted, I am completely alone. I remember clever experts and acknowledge that many parents may not be objective about their childrens' conditions. When they told me that 'statistically, there is a higher incidence of suicide,' and that medication is a must, it is hard to marry that perspective, with the image of those innocent, blemish free infants. I hear the words but want to cover my children's ears, because parents have inadequate protection mechanisms.
I sip thick coffee and breathe in the heady scent of Jasmine and Hyacinths, because I am permitted to live in California. I ignore the showy Geraniums, because they were only planted for colour, they have no perfume. Crushing the leaves to release their vapour could become a part time therapy, for me, if not for them. I am glad that as non-verbal children become less so, they reveal unfamiliar neural pathways too me. I remember the expert advising me to check for mental retardation when they were older. Although I am usually careful to adhere to my demure demeanour, I'm still glad that the shock of the words stopped me from slapping him. It is hard to remain credible once you resort to fisticuffs.
Contemplation is cut short by the clumping and skittering of tippy toes at rapid speed. They arrive in a stampede without warning. Junior collapses on the floor retching, as I heave the window closed.
I hug the two vertical ones as she asks “what cha doin mom?”
“Oh just enjoying the garden dear, and waking up.”
“Is that the flowers?”
“Yes, isn't it a lovely perfume? We're so lucky to have such clement weather!”
“I like those ones best,” she points to the outrageous Geraniums.
“Oh they're no good, they don't have any perfume. That the whole purpose of a flower, to create a beautiful scent.” Junior manages an utterance in a choked tone,
“It is the stinky dat is killing my throat!”
“So they're not just to look beautiful?” she adds casually.
“Well that too I suppose, but that's their secondary purpose.”
“What dere tertiary purpose is?” splutters junior, clutching his neck. Ooo I should have anticipated that one. Why do I speak before my brain is awake?
“Er, well, their tertiary purpose is to, er, let me see……I think they're probably here to make us all happy.” Please protect me from my own feebleness.
“Dey are not making me happy!” Well of course not. Wake up! Get with the programme woman!
“I thought they were to help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere?” She was paying attention! I knew that! I just wasn't thinking 'science' at 5:15. “You're absolutely right. Where would we be without plants!” I ask rhetorically.
“I would be on da planet wiv no smells. I go live on Pluto even doe dat is only a lickle star now.”
Clearly my 'in' and 'tuition' need re-calibration.