Manners maketh man, Manic Monday

Whilst Michael Savage storms into the spotlight to write off our children, the rest of us bimble along in the twilight shadows, busy and better than any microdot in his imagination.

I begin to type:-

'In principle, all children should be seen but not heard during dinner so that the other participants are to enjoy their meal. It's a very simple rule, one that I adhered to vigourously when I was but a wee young thing. It is essential that parents maintain scrupulously high expectations and standards, nay, tis their moral obligation to the rest of civilized society.' I pause in my piece for 'Ban Brats Daily' and gather the family for lunch.

In the 80 degree heat in the shade, we collect Al Fresco, as part of the ongoing ‘de-sensitization to outside’ campaign. These days, the underlying principle remains the same, behave in a kindly manner and hopefully you won't offend other people. For me, the unpublicized secret of good manners, is the skill to put other people at their ease.

We model 'sitting.' They approximate in return. We eat with knives and forks, their fingers work just as hard. Although there is a great deal of detritus over a three foot scatter radius, no-one purposefully throws food. During the meal we discuss a narrow range of subjects in depth, such as 'whether Chaotic cards are more desirable than Pokemon cards?'

During a pause my youngest shoots off like Billy the Whizz for no apparent reason, “hey! Where are you going Sunny Jim?” He stops, mid-fly, frozen, “er…..I'm done.”
“No you are not done! There's something you haven't done yet.” His whole body sags as he takes heavy steps back to his chair to take up the flop position, the nearest he's been to actually sitting in the last seven and a half minutes. “Please……..may I leaf dah table?”
“Beautifully said. Yes you may dear.” He scoots off on rewind back into the safety of the house.

My other son staggers off in his brother's wake, “hey! Where are you going Sunny Jim?” It takes a few more staggers before the message is processed. He turns, “wot?” he splutters, spewing crumbs. “Sit back down, you have a face full of food.” His hands fly to his face, whole hands on whole face, as they flutter for evidence.

“I mean……….your mouth is still full of food dear!” He stands rigid, stretches his neck, head back and gulps. A little shiver engulfs him before he opens his maw wider than a lion to demonstrate emptiness. “Very good dear, now come and sit down, you've still forgotten something.”

He returns to the table to perch on the very rim of the chair. He opens his mouth to speak, notices a discarded Ritz cracker and stuffs it in without thought, “pls……lif..table?” he sprays. He droops back into the chair, resigned to full munching, without a further word.

“Ooo, where's your Dad gone?” I say to no-one in particular. This is just as well since half my potential audience is hard of hearing and the other half finds it hard to hear. I scan the garden. Not a trace.

“Pleaz……may I lif dah table now?”
“Yes dear, well done indeed.”

Nonna's chair scrapes back as she heads off to dead head a rose or two. I sit at the table for six with the debris, in silence, apart from the sickly globuling sound of the fountain.

I swivel to see my son as he hovers around the strawberry pot and the algae covered fountain in the blistering heat. I watch his fingers travel to the one semi ripe bauble. He makes a valiant attempt at a pincher grip but it's more like a strawberry daiquiri. Little pick pocket!

I say nothing, as he hates strawberries.

“Hey mom!”
“Yes dear?”
“Look………what I…… found.”
“Yes……first this year.”

Same every year, same spot, same fruit, same familiarity although he never seemed to notice them before.

“Dya wannit?”
“Who me?”
“Yup!” he reaches over and uncurls his fingers from his palm. I take the red splat and pop it in my mouth.


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Cart me off to the funny farm

I take my BRAT's [*] to celebrate Nonna's unBirthday at Chilli's, a delightfully noisy and sticky establishment.

Both boys lack any muscle function and lie splayed on the empty benches. I park one on my lap and clamp the other to my side.

As they are now quite large children, I have the distinct impression that I resemble a Ventriloquist, but that's paranoia for you. A group of young persons giggle and whisper behind their hands, wrapped in the public eye of exposure and embarrassment in equal proportions. “Dey are be rude?” he enquires.
“Make a U-turn if possible!” bellows his brother, fortunately muffled by the bundle of fleece jackets tucked under my other arm.
“Not really, they're just at that stage.”
“Wot stage?”
“Make a U-turn if possible!”
“Try and use your indoor voice dear! Er the stage when…….you are the centre of the universe.”
“Nevermind……they're not being rude, just……private.”
“You are say it rude to be whisper.”
“Make a U-turn if possible!”
“Quiet inside voice lovie. Er…..there's different kinds of whispering……ooo look the thingummy is buzzing, our table must be ready.” Perhaps we should all try and whisper?

Our party of five lumbers in the general direction of the table with only a few false starts and stumbles. Nonna fumbles for her glasses so I offer to read it aloud.

“Pardon! What you say?” she asks in her thick Italian accent. I detect that her hearing aides are also adrift.

The server appears for our drinks order. My eldest son makes a valiant attempt. I wait until she's left, “well done dear, very polite indeed. Next time shall we speak a bit louder so that she can hear you better in this noisy place?” He grins hugely, so grown up.

“What is dis?” asks Nonna pointing at a menu description. I guide her hand to the picture, “ah! I see.”

By the time the server returns, we have our choices ready, so does my youngest son who bellows “I want chocolate milk and fries please!” An extreme event for a neophobic! The server leans back from the blast but manages a smile.

Orders placed, server departed, I reach over to him, “great job young man! Maybe you can try and use your indoor voice next time?”
“You said….er……louder!”
“Yes I know I did. Louder for him, quieter for you.”
“You say no whisper!”
“I know but….” I am interrupted by the arrival of a group of servers at the next booth, who break into an even louder “happy birthday chorus.” Both the boys clamp their hands over their ears. My sons look at me, accusingly. They slip under the table to engage in their brand new interest, lumps of chewing gum. Ideally I should like them to sit on their hands. Alternatively, I would just like them to sit, preferably on the chairs.

The food arrives in a timely fashion. “What is dis?” asks Nonna tapping her country fried steak with her knife.
“What you say?”
“It's steak,” I add, slightly louder with precise diction and enunciation.
“Country fried steak.”
“Again please, I can't hear you properly.”
“ S…t…e…a…k,” I spell.
“Pardon me, again?”
STEAK!” I yell, turning ever so slightly puce in the face. The boys look at me, eyes like saucers, frozen. I hear him whisper “she is mad?”

Maybe I am, or very soon will be.

[*] Beautifully Rambunctious Autistic Tribe
Rats to you Mr. Savage.

Here is another blog that’s newish to me that you might enjoy, “The Funny Farm.” Need somewhere to start? How about here on her post called
Love me some Bean,”
coz you know I’m a little biased. Don’t forget to say hello to her!

In addition, here’s another new favourite that’s really an old favourite before I lost all my bookmarks called “Send Chocolate.” If this IS new to you then you might like to start here on her insightful post called “What I learned.” If that’s not community spirited then I don’t know what is!

There again, I think I could do a lot worse that sign myself up for “Julie’s” “camp.” I wonder if they have a height limit?

What was that?

Age limit?

Ooo you big rudey!

Cheers dears

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