Capture and release

The comment, 'these children will never respect you,' has haunted me a while. I think of all the things that I want for all of my children. Quite a few of them begin with the letter 'R.'

There are a great many parents who have their children at the center of their tiny universe. [translation = I'm in that category too] It probably is unhealthy, but I am not qualified to address that matter. [translation = many Brits know little about health] I am reassured to know that there are a few things that I do know, that there are a few constants on the roller coaster of autism. The things that I know, that are constants, are few and far between. I know that these few constants may change at any time without warning, but I still relish the reassurance of the constants.

I hear the ruckus next door. [translation = early warning that they are awake] I roll out of bed and stagger downstairs in an effort to achieve 'awake' before they make their appearance. I know that my daughter will sleep in, because it is the weekend, but the boys are relentless.

Light on, coffee on, feed the cats.

I wait in the kitchen trying to force my brain to turn 'on.' [translation = as well as the powers of speech] Before too long I hear them emerge from their bedroom. One stomps along the corridor, irregular steps, contact with the wall several times, bumbles down the stairs. Although I can't see him from the kitchen, I know that half his body is supported by the banister, cheek to the wood, hands as guidance as his body is folded over, his superfluous legs are several steps behind, little tippy toes deep in the carpet pile. I know that when he reaches the newel post at the end, he will spin around 360 degrees by accident, before he steadies himself and renews his path towards the kitchen.

I stand there, in the centre of the kitchen as he makes the final few steps from newel post, en route to the family room. I bar the way, a large form in a brown dressing gown. I open my arms so that I am even larger, a net to ensure his capture. I am now so large that he cannot possibly miss me. He bimbles into the kitchen eyes cast down following his path. He stops dead, one step prior to collision. His eyes rove slowly up from my slippers to my face, before his head clonks into my ribcage so that I can enfold him. We do no exchange words, but I give him a few of my own anyway.

I let him go and resume my position for the next one. I hear his tippy toes machine gun down the hall. I know that the rate of his movement forward, may not necessarily be reflected by the rate of his rapping. [translation = he can 'rap' on the spot too, without moving] I know that his hands are holding something, although I don't know what it will be today. I know that since he is only just awake, that his mouth will be open. [translation = poor lip closure]

His transition from bedroom to kitchen is spectacularly speedy. He arrives clutching a box piled high, a pyramid of Pokemon. How he has managed to balance them is beyond my imagination. [translation = future conjuror or plate spinner] He whirls around 180 degrees, so that he can reverse into me for a hug and not dislodge his hold on the box. I curl my body around his for a second or two as he vibrates, sucks in a mouthful of drool and smiles. My arms unleash him and he spins away.

Like all children, they have a great deal to learn. I hope that they learn to respect themselves and others, all 'others.'

So today, I am another year older, and oh so much “wiser” as you can see demonstrated over “here.”

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In my Grandmother's Chest

One of my favourite childhood 'in the car games,' for long journeys from my own childhood of course, not my own children's. As I stand at the check out at Target, I stock up on essential supplies for the forthcoming holiday. I have a smug and self satisfied expression at my collection of purchases.

I have enough Play dough for several days because now I am the proud 'owner' of a seven and a half year old and a six year old who no longer consider playdough to be the substance from hell. They can touch it, they can squish it, tolerate the stench of it's perfume, permit their bodies and clothing to be contaminated by it. Ah yes, life is good.

A very smart woman behind me, [translation = nattily attired] surveys the conveyor belt and smiles at me in a friendly manner. The huge carton of pull-ups, 65 – 125 lbs catches her eye. Bit of a give away.

I have enough mouth wash to kill every bacterium from here to San Francisco and back again. Enough 'Ensure' to ensure that I will be able to refuel at high speed.

Otherwise I have three of everything. It is always a mistake to try and match gifts to the personality and preferences of an individual child. The net result is always the same, everyone likes one particular item and no-one likes the other two. If you wish to commence warring factions in the confines of your own home then this is the best place to start. Having said that, although each item is identical to it's fellow, due to the joys of mass production, someone will determine an identifying feature, flaw or anomaly, that will ensure that each is distinguishable, preferred or disowned.

I now have enough cleaning materials to make sure that the house remains sterile. This in turn will enable me to continue the on-going food campaign. In most households, food that falls to the floor is discarded as unsanitary and contaminated. In this household, that rule is reversed, because small intelligent people learn fast. Their solution to any food campaign is to deposit my nutritional choices on the ground. Parents need to acquire nerves of steel, so as to be able to endure the sight of their children licking the floorboards. This is not a job for the faint hearted.

My eye drifts over the contents of the trolly behind me. [translation = cart] I am a dry, old stick of a woman. I refuse to permit myself to make any disparaging assumptions, cast any aspersions or otherwise make judgments about her catering pack of multicoloured, flavoured con I have it on good authority that they serve a wide variety of purposes. I determine to remain “open minded,” it would be dreadful if my

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