I trundle through the day with all the usual hic-cups, the known and the familiar.
“I am done.”
“Oh good. I'm glad you're finished.”
“No! I am not done done, I am done.”
I look at him covered in dot to dot paint spots, a rare achievement for those battling with tactile defensiveness. I doubt if his tolerance will last much longer, especially as the paint begins to dry and flake and itch. For the moment he is still at the soggy stage of body painting, but it's none the less impressive for that. The paints are easier to manage in this format, where fine motor skills are thin on the ground.
“Well are you finished or are you not finished.”
“I am not finished I am done.”
Well really! This pernicketiness over words is beyond the pale! Must he always be so American! I remind myself, again, how lucky I am to have 'non-verbal,’ autistic children, who choose to communicate with me verbally.
“Alright, fair enough. So you're done. Shall I clear away and help you get cleaned up?” Tis truly a foolish woman, who offers a child a choice. This tenacious adherence to 'done' rather than 'finish' is so tedious. How can I take them all back home to England in December, if they insist on bellowing “I'm done” every five minutes? It will give my mother a fit of the vapours!
“No! I wan you to look at my done.”
“?” I am unaware what 'done' might look like. “Er which…..what 'done' do you want me to look at?”
“Dis done on my tum…yes, on my tum. It be rhyme like dat.”
I look at his tummy. He extends it to it's maximum capacity, no doubt to aid my bifocaled vision.
“See?” I look. I see brown paint on pallid skin.
“It be done. I be mix.”
“What did you mix?”
“I mix dah red and dah blue and dah yellow and I bin done make done!”
“That's called brown dear, not done.”
“Nooo. Not brown. Brown be dark like chocolate. Dis be light brown, dah tan or dah done which it dah light.”
“Oooo you mean 'dun'!”
“Yes, you're absolutely right, it is dun coloured.”
I hear his father stumble in from the garage and turn to advise him of the turn in his son's tertiary colour wheel, but he trips over something in the utility room and curses, “damn! I stepped on a lance!” My immediate thought, is the vision of several gallons of blood. My knight in shining armour has just fallen off his horse and impaled himself.
But of course I so rarely get these things right.