A drastic change in diet can often bring with it, some dramatic changes in disposition. In my son's case, his disposition hasn't so much changed, as been restored, and not by diet but my medication. His anger has been dispelled, but the pills have cast a spell over his digestive system. There's no beating about the bush here, we are constantly assaulted by grievous frequent flatulence.
Sometimes he tells us in advance, so that we can practice our 'duck and cover' skills. At other times the bombs come without a health warning. So much depends upon how in tune we are with our bodies and the surrounding environment. All too often we hear tales of how a sixth sense is at work in some individuals. These people, and often animals, are so highly attenuated that they are able to detect an oncoming heart attack or a diabetic crash. Sometimes they warn of hurricanes or floods. Uncanny, mysterious and slightly bewildering.
I hang the last few decorations on the tree before the guests arrive for the “sleepover.” I am uncertain which parts of me are malfunctioning? Either the tree is bigger or the decorations are smaller and perhaps more numerous? Either way it might be the beastly bifocals or the dodgy fingers because control of time seems to escape me. I am permanently stuck on fast forward.
The boys loll around on the floor, absorbed with the grain work of the wood and watching dust particles in the bright Californian light. This is their way of participating, their physical presence. We are duly honoured. I wonder if I'll have time to vacuum before the fray?
“How come these decorations are so puny?”
“How come these decorations are so fiddly?”
“Because they're English.”
“Owg Mom yur not gonna hang that old thing! It's gross man!”
“It's gross man!” It's gross man!” It's gross man!” he echos from the general area of the floor boards. I smile to myself, because this is one of my favourite decorations, one made by her big sister's oh so fare young hands, a couple of decades ago. I am smug because this is almost a repetition of the same debate. Oh the joy of being mature and wise.
“It is not gross, it is merely old,” just like everything else around here.
“Yah mean it's an antique?”
“It's an antique? It's an antique? It's an antique?” he echoes as echolalia is ever present. With everyone at home, double echolalia, one version from each boy, is the musical background to nearly every waking moment.
I pause, reflective and experienced. I always forget that 'antique' is defined differently depending upon the continent.
“Um….well you might say that. May I hang it if it is an antique?”
“No! We should sell it and be billionaires!”
“And be billionaires! And be billionaires! And be billionaires!”
“Some things really are priceless you know dear,” I advise is a wise and obscure manner.
“It's more than a billion?”
“More than a billion? More than a billion? More than a billion?”
“Not exactly. It's hard to put an exact figure on it.”
“Figure on it. Figure on it. Figure on it.”
“Geez guys, cun yah jus let mom answer a minute why dontcha!” For some unaccountable reason, they remain silent. What is her secret? We regroup. I collect my thoughts, every tiny little one of them, but as I open my mouth to reply, the little one bellows, “Earthquake! Earthquake! Earthquake! It is a compound word?” My daughter's eye balls lock onto mine as we freeze, motionless and waiting, paralyzed by fear, aliens unable to control tectonic plates. Why didn't I pay more attention during 'Awareness Week.' Doth the child have Savant powers? We shall all be killed and no-one will ever know! Is this the silence before the end?
The other one confesses, “Oopsie! My butt! My bad!”
It seems that I’m always mis-interpreting matters and jumping to the wrong “conclusions.”