Dog Therapy

My older son is a boy of few words. He rarely fills the world with idle chatter but it takes all sorts when it comes to the autism spectrum.

He has been known to wax lyrical on occasions, usually on the subject of Pokemon and more recently Spore, but other than that his silence is particular and dogged. That said, there is a particular dog, his own, who has an undue influence upon him. The influence of Thatcher the dog is all too apparent as we walk the ten minute trip to his first puppy training lesson. As we trot down the road I prepare my son for the hour of tuition, what to expect. I know what to expect because I have already spent six weeks attending the very same class with Thatcher and my daughter. Now it is his turn, my sons.

I worry that the trainer uses more words in the average lungful of breath than many an average Californian. The trainer has a warm and attractive personality. She says the same thing many times and in many different ways which is fabulous for the average learner, but for the differently abled her words are a sea of jumble, verbiage to be tuned out. My only hope is one of her even more advantageous skills. She models the desired behaviour that she teaches with a dog. Forget the words, concentrate on the body movements because my son’s mimicry skills are second to none.

I think these thoughts as I trot next to my son who hangs on to the end of the lead with Thatcher’s long strides on the other end, just enough rope to hang himself. I exude calm over silent panic but of course he’s far more astute than I give him credit for as he hauls the lead into a heel. He pauses, breathless next to Thatcher, poised in a perfect sit. All of a sudden his word bank bursts open with a torrential flood of “reassurance,” “iz okay Thatcher, you’d gonna do great, you’re gonna make lots of friends, I’m gonna be there to help you, you’re gonna love the teacher, I’ve got lotsa treats for you, Kindergarten ain’t so bad…….” He continues in this vein for a full 7 minutes of uninterrupted, stutter free syllables until we reach the entrance door. Never say never my friends, we have a pal for life.


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The Theory of Mind is still with us

It’s a given when it comes to autism, or rather a misconception. Like all misconceptions it is both commonplace and all pervasive, the myth that autistic people lack empathy.

***

We arrive at the restaurant, install ourselves in a booth in a rather haphazard manner and begin to examine the menu. Everyone knows off by heart.

A father and a baby arrive at the same time. They wait to be seated.

“Where for it is?”
“Where’s what dear?”
“The kids menu?”
“Oh did we only get one kids menu sheet?”
“Yup.”
“Hmm.” I look at my son’s face which is growing closer to my own height. “Maybe they thought you were too big for the kids menu?”
“Twelve and over?”
“Quite possibly. You do seem to be awfully large these days.”
“Awfully?”
“Um…’quite,’ quite large.” He grabs the unwieldy 8 page laminated menu with alacrity and begins to peruse his choices. He drops it again in favour of the less daunting single page of ‘specials.’ I watch him, animated and engaged. I don’t believe he has ever actively chosen to read a menu, even at MacDonalds, even if MacDonalds can be described as having a menu in the first place.

His eyes are sucked off the page by the arrival of the quite adorable baby and his father in the opposite booth. They had no problem ‘waiting to be seated,’ unlike my unruly brood. The baby cooes and kicks with contentment whilst his Dad quips his order to the server. I examine the specials so that I’m better able to prioritize and limit my son’s choices, as choice is always a hurdle.

The boys gasp collectively for no apparent reason. “What is it?” I ask two people who are staring across the room. I look across the room at the baby and father. The father reads the newspaper and eats from a plate piled high with pancakes, sausages and salad. “What is it dear?”
“Dah baby.” I look at the baby but my view is obscured by a large cuddly toy.
“It’s o.k. his dad will probably feed him in a minute.”
“No! Dah baby!”
“What about the baby?” I look at the big furry mass with the still legs underneath, the stiff arms poking out either side, the silence.
“He dun like it.”
“He doesn’t like what…..I mean…..what doesn’t he like?”
“Dah wolf is scary for him.” Whilst one child speaks, the other takes action as he flits across the passage, grabs the cuddly wolf and turns it’s face outwards, teeth bared, the wolf, not the boy, and slips back to our booth like a whippet. The father snaps down his paper, but not quickly enough. He glances at his baby son who chews contentedly on the wolf tail in his face.

Rats to “the theory of mind.”


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Oiling the wheels

I already know that the process will involve squeaks, so I pick my time.  I hope to keeps the screams of agony to a minimum but you just can't be too careful with this kind of thing.  I wait until the boys are engrossed in electronics time and then coax her to the table.  I don't know how it got in there and neither does she, but some how or other, the bubble gum shall be removed from the tresses.  Ice cubes have proved a failure so now it's onto olive oil and picking.  She doesn't believe my promises after the previous debacle with ice and I've noticed that all the scissors from the kitchen drawer have disappeared.  The offer of a new hair style was shunned.  This is definitely one of those chores that I would prefer to delegate to her father.

I make soothing noises as I massage the sticky mess, messages of reassurance with few real words but still she whimpers in anticipation of pain or pending baldness.  I hear the scrape of a chair in the hall, quickly followed by another clatter.  Over her shoulder I see two boys move in slow motion.  One adopts the marine on manovres approach, on his tummy, the hand over hand crawl.  The other is in a sitting position, his back towards us as his feet propel him in our direction, very, very, slowly.  They take up position under the table in silence.  Their sister squeaks, shudders and snivels.  The big brother takes the universal protective stance of flat fingers over eyes and thumbs in ears.  The little brother takes the alternative protective stance of thumbs in eye balls and index fingers in ear holes.  They wait in silence.  Every few minutes one of them bends down to peck a kiss on her feet.  Precious electronics time minutes ebb away, as they stick to their vigil of solidarity.


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An aid to understanding

We wait nearby on the playground.

We adopt our usual formation of unstable rugby scrum, as everyone appears to have lost the ability to stand independently.

My daughter comes charging up, the last out of her class as usual. She careens towards us, a bowling ball, but I can already see the tears. I brace myself for impact.

“There's been a mix up and I know yur gonna say nooooo!”

I consider this statement to be a sophisticated pre-emptive strike on her part. I already know what is coming, because I too have learned my lesson.

“Now just calm down and breathe a bit dear.”

Her pal is close on her heels.

Her pal's mother, brings up the rear.

“I can't go to her house so can she come to us?” she pleads between sobs.
“Yeah, my mom's busy. I got it wrong.”

Mom arrives.

“Hi Natalie!” I beam with my teeth but my eyes are hidden by my dark glasses.
“Hello there. What seems to be the problem?”
“I've got stuff to do, so I can't have her, so if you can have em, then I'll taken em tomorrow.”
“That's very kind of you but we have other plans for tomorrow.”
“She can't come tomorrow. O.k. mebbee next week.”
“No matter.”
“But mom…
“It’s o.k. I'm happy for her to come home with us.” Home territory is the only safe bet.
“Great. See yah!”
“Could you pick her up at about 5 please?”

I'm not sure if she's heard me but we lumber off in the general direction of the car.

The main topic of conversation between the girls has been the forthcoming birthday celebrations, which have been delayed from December as we trundle through March. Any child that can endure such delayed gratification deserves an award. The plans change and grow, well rehearsed. Whilst the boys are not included in this conversation as such, they are physically present during the many car rides, the giggling and the strategizing. Their social skills percolate up from nowhere in particular, in meticulous detail.

“What colour it is?”
“What colour is what?”
“Dah limo.”
“I don't know.”
“How many kids are be come?”
“I don't know.”
“You gonna go Build a Bear?”
“Yeah.”
“You gonna go dah Olive Garden?”

“Yeah.”
“So when it is be?”
“What?”
“Yur pardee?”
“I don know.”
“I thought it was be Saturday?”
“No, it's been canceled for this week.”
“No sleepover?”

“No.”

I can see her face in the rear view mirror, complete with fallen crest. I am startled that they initiated a conversation, had every fact in place, that she was patient enough to understand them and answer.

It is because I am so dumbfounded by the developmental leap that I'm slow to react, to defend her from their persecution and end the inadvertent torment. A different child might recognize her crumpled state. Another child would realize the shattered dreams and the quake of the tremulous. I look at her diminished and ever shrinking form, on the back seat. I have a sudden urge to hug her or bundle up her sophisticated pre-teen form in several yards of cotton wool.

“Tell you what, once we get home we'll skip homework until later. You can all just play for a while. I'm sure we can find some biscuits or something,” I add, all will power dissolved, brain power at a low ebb.

“She means cookies,” she whispers with glee.

I look in the rear view mirror, my daughter, her pal in the middle and my son on the other side, squished together like sardines in sympathy.


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Grumpy is as grumpy does

 


I drink coffee through as straw as instructed by the Dental Devils and sulk. Another visit to the dentist brings more bad news. Ten months after surgery we are still struggling. I am sorely tempted to clamp a bag of espresso to my hip and drink it intravenously, just to avoid all possible current and future mouth issues. However, I don't want to tempt fate. It seems only a tiny step until I'll be old enough to wear a colostomy bag instead, an area of fashion as yet untouched by Calvin Klein.

The word 'dentist' and all derivatives have been banned from the household. I refuse to allow my children to pick up negative vibes. They will have American attitudes towards dentistry if it kills me. Spouse and I will not whisper about the subject either, because our offspring have more finely attenuated hearing that the average owl. They absorb our body language and the instinctive shivers that pass between us. Their father's facial expression needs no interpretation. When he clamps his hands over his mouth and screws up his eyes, all three small people wince in response.

I tried so hard to be jolly with the new pharmacist but we do not appear to enjoy the same sense of humour. This is probably just as well for other patients patronizing this establishment.

I toss back another couple of antibiotics as instructed by the dentist. This is a preamble to another fishing expedition for various assorted hardware, to include but not limited to, loose screws and lumps of cement. I am sadly disappointed with the dental community, not for their lack of dentistry skills but for their complete failure to comprehend Elephant jokes. What manner of medical professional is unfamiliar with such hilarity? Are they all childless or are they just foreign?
“Don't worry,” he soothed, as I submitted to yet another x-ray to ensure that I am totally radioactive, if not magnetic.
“So you're just looking for just those two things then?” I ask, an unnecessarily.
“Yes.”
“Just allow ten days for the infection to calm down?”
“That's right. Everything will be just fine.”

For two pins I would just curl up under the desk and admit defeat. Take up permanent residence. In fact I would, but they don’t have an espresso machine.
“I'm sure we'll find whatever they are, when we open you up. Very tiny.” I should probably ask an intelligent question, or maybe two? I should probably ask an intelligent medically question, but I can’t think of any, apart from ‘does it hurt?’ but I already know the answer. I am heartily sick of being the tiniest percentage of dental patients, I want a different spot on the bell curve.
“I didn't do anything wrong, it's just bad luck?” I beg.
“Good luck that we found it just in time!” It doesn't feel lucky to me.
“Right. Let's hope you just find those two then, and not any elephants?” I offer, as a means of dispersing the tension, although it may only be my own. The radiologist and the surgeon exchange meaningful glances. The radiologist steps closer. She has more qualifications after her name than would fit on the average business class envelope. She smiles to expose her birthright, a perfect line of pearly enamel tombstones. “You know,” she says tapping the x-ray, “an elephant would show up on this.” I examine her face to locate a smirk, spot a wink or some other tiny clue that we are on the same wavelength, as I don't want to keep making the same mistake over and over again. Blank. I give up. I go home.

What is commonly referred to as 'dry mouth' in the States, would more accurately be described as glue mouth. I pout at my son as he demonstrates his vastly superior lip closure, him of the speech delayed camp.
“You are dah suck again?”
“I am.”
“I am dah suck too. See?” he slurps, just to show off. “You can be do dat too?” he taunts. I temper my reply, “well no actually. As it happens I'm having a hard time getting to the bottom of the mug.” I try and remove the sneary tone from my voice.
“Ooo, you are dah dribble.” I dab my chin and demonstrate my perfect mastery of etiquette and table manners.
“Ooo, not dah mouth. Dah mouth is being clean.” I examine the napkin. It is clean, not a coffee stain of dampness. I suppress swear words and dash off to the mirror in the bathroom because my nose is still numb and lies to me frequently. Footfalls follow me at high speed. Oh for a bit of privacy! I peer into the mirror. My son inserts himself between me and the mirror, so that we can both look at my reflection, although not admiringly. Oh the joy of joint attention!
“See! You are dah snot!” I grab a handful of toilet paper and dab gently, as nerve endings are thoroughly unreliable around here.
“Don be sad.”
“I'm not sad,” I respond far to quickly and in the wrong tone.
“Soon you are not dah snot. Soon you are dah big sucker.”
Whilst it sounds like an insult, it’s really a rallying cry, a supportive gesture. Yet another demonstration of the heartless, soulless autism that we know and love so well. Rats to the “Theory of Mind.”

Ain't that the truth.


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Drones – message received and understood

A chum of mine, [translation = British] refers to her daily life with her autistic child as 'Groundhog days.' This refers to the film where the actor repeats the same day of his life, again and again without apparent end. Parents of young children often repeat the same life lessons until they are acquired, but for autistic children the process may take longer.

Last summer one of my boys had a chance encounter with a bee. The bee and my son were outside the house, in the garden at the time. [ translation = a rare event, now sadly, all the more rare as a consequence] The bee did not attack him. As my son floated in the pool so did the bee. The bee was in it's last death throes when they happened to come in contact and it stung him. My usually silent son, made known his condition. Fortunately he removed himself from the pool prior to his quite reasonable meltdown. [translation = otherwise he and the bee might have come to the same untimely end]

He survived, the bee did not.

Thereafter, again quite reasonably, all insect life became untrustworthy. [translation = a source of fear] Although he has endured many hours of vision therapy, his ability to accurately determine what something 'is' varies. [translation = if in doubt, stay well away] Our daily meltdown count was still quite high a year ago. This additional trigger, began to make life unbearable. [translation = Summer produces a higher incidence of fast and slow moving creepy crawlies and flying insects]

Something had to be done.

Sometimes, logic doesn't work. Fortunately for me, one of my sons is keen on rules. [translation = reflects the need to place order and form on chaos] In such situations, the best thing to do is lie. I highly recommend it, especially if you have already used up ALL the usual arguments in your favour.

……….. …… …. .. .

“BEE!!! BEE!!!BEE!!!”
“Yes, it is. Tiny bee, big you. Who is most scared?”
“ME! Bee! Bee! Bee!”
“Do you know that there is a rule about bees?”
“Rule?” Aha! The magic word. Now what is the rule? Think of a rule! A helpful rule. The right rule. A rule that will work and not backfire and make the situation worse!
“Yes. The rule is……..you know how a bee dies after it's stung you?”
“Yes.”
“That's one rule. But the other rule is….. that……every person in the world is only allowed to be stung once per lifetime.”
“That is rule?”
“Indeed it is. Everyone knows that rule. I have been stung, Daddy has been stung and now you have been stung, so you will never be stung again. Otherwise it wouldn't be fair. Would it?”
“Stung is dah same as sting?”
“Correct! Good thinking!”
He looks at his sister and brother, “they are sting, er stung…er…stunged?”
“No.”
“It their turn sting?”
Oh dear! I dither, hoping that other small people are out of earshot.

Overall, he is dubious, but placated. Bee phobia diminishes considerably. [translation = over time and with the changing seasons]

We move forward a year to a day when a wholesome looking young lad and his crew come to deliver my replacement sofa. Spring has sprung and the Spearmint bush in the front garden is a glorious mound of white spiked blooms. If you look more closely or open your ears, it is easy to note that there may be as many as a hundred bees labouring away. Mr. Wholesome is engaged with the removal of several miles of plastic wrap from the furniture.

My son observes him from the front door, half in and half out. [translation = keen to make a new friend, fearful of an old enemy] Mr. Wholesome's attention is drawn to the buzzing noise. His eyes are of additional assistance and track across to pin point the location of the sound. At the moment that his brain registers the bees, his body ignites as he stumbles back to pin himself to the white picket fence. [translation = the effect of a burning bush] My son reacts also and flees, for a second. [translation = a perfect reflex to perceived danger] This is the same child who walked into walls that he didn't notice, would not reconise me if I took my glasses off or wore anything other than blue jeans and a white t-shirt, and has a high pain threshold.

His better nature catches up with him. He gallops over to Mr. Six Foot Two, cowering but not impaled near the fence. “It's o.k., it's o.k., it's o.k., don't be worrying, they are not be harming you!” As he says these words he approaches Mr. Wholesome on soft feet. [translation = the same way come close to an injured animal] “It's alright now, I'm here, I'm here, I'm here,” says Master Four Foot One. Mr. Wholesome's gaze flicks between the bush and the boy as he wraps his arms around himself. His biceps pump and flinch, whilst his knees quake. “You can be dah brave one now. Look at you. Tiny bee, big you!” [translation = with appropriate hand gestures to assist a potential visual learner]


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The Theory of mind and other minor irritations – don’t cry for Pluto, who still has chums

I do not like the “Theory of Mind.” A few years ago I’d never heard of it and didn’t know what it was. With the arrival of a couple of autistics chaps in our family, I rapidly became aware of this pernicious irritation. For current purposes, we may simply say that it is an inability to put yourself in the shoes of another. [
I would respectfully guide you to a more scholarly account of the dratted theory at
“a bfh”
as I believe that I know [a few of] my limitations.]

It is a very popular theory with experts. I suspect, but have no evidence in support, that it is not quite so popular in other pockets of the population. The hot bed of loathing against this theory, resides right here, within the four walls of my home. I see the ‘truth’ of the theory often, daily. But I also see the opposite. “What exactly is the opposite of the ‘theory of mind,'” you ask? Good question as always. Frankly I don’t have the right answer. I don’t know what you call it [offers gratefully received] but I know it when I see it, and I see it often, more often, and soon, perhaps more often that I see incidents of the Theory of mind. I am seriously considering adopting ‘opposites day,’ everyday, where instead of looking for ‘symptoms’ we will search for ‘the opposite’ to counter each and every one of them.

Round here, such issues are complicated by the speech delay factor. How can I know that my child is capable of viewing the world through someone else’s eyes, if he is unable to tell me that this is what he is seeing? Well, if I pay attention, as I sometimes do, they do have other ways of telling me: body language, mimicry, action.

Now that the speech delays are less so than they once were, I only wish I had paid more attention, or had been better at interpreting what they were trying to communicate by other means.

That aside, I am appreciative of the small acts of kindness that the average child bestows upon the world, seemingly with little effort, to melt the heart of a parent.

It’s true, I’m biased and not a scientist. I leave such cerebral exercises to the experts. I’m just a mum, so I’m allowed to make up my own rules. But I do not think that should detract from similar moments displayed by an autistic child. Indeed, lets be totally outrageous and posit that the theory, that autistic children, in many respects, outstrip the limitations of the Theory of Mind with their superior qualities of empathy.

Without digressing into the staggering powers of Temple Grandin in this respect, we can still find many incidents of this phenomenon, in our own autistic children. Not for them the scripted stagnant waters of ‘I’m sorry you hurt your knee,’ together with appropriate facial expression and body language. Oh no, we soar to un-recognised heights of concordance, where little Sally, Boa, Arcadio, Adarsh, Jerzy, Kona and Muhammed, together with their pals from across the globe, acknowledge that Pluto may be too small to be a planet in today’s universe, but that the books that once held truth do not necessarily lie, just because somebody changed the rules.


p.s. Here is a picture of my daughter’s plant grown from seed at school. A long tendril comes out to slip round my son’s asthma inhaler chamber and then further forward to entwine my soap dispenser gizmo.

First of all, they both notice the tendril and where it’s heading. Junior, who has excessive washing tendencies, remarks that ‘maybe the plant needs more air.’ My older son, with asthma, remarks that ‘maybe the plant wants to wash.’

O.k. so I admit it, I’ve indoctrinated my children with respect to the environment, my lesson plan obviously needs a little tweaking, but who is in whose shoes now! Pass me my slippers before I confuse myself any further.


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Addict in part time supervisory capacity

I pop more pills because my body ceased to be a temple with the surgeon's first incision. All the staff express concern for my well being and tell tales of other patients suffering drastic weight loss. I try and pay attention to the dentist's instructions, but I have childrens' timetables to attend to in my mind. I hear the world 'unstable' drift onto my radar screen. Unstable? How does he know that? I tune back in. Oh good, it's only my jaw that is unstable but the sack full of elastic bands should hold everything in place. I have thoughts of it falling off, that I might lose it in my hurry to be off. He scribbles notes on my chart and I'm off before the ink has dried.

I drive home deep in thought of weight maintenance, debating whether it would be possible to drink a bottle of olive oil like the chappy in the
At home, all is well. I speak to my children, loudly, kneeling. They all look at me.
“It's off! Cool!” She gives me a hug and kisses my forehead. The boys step closer, cautious.
“Let me see?” he asks, screwing up his face in anticipation, squeamish but braced for bravery. “Oh yes, it gone!”
Junior shuffles forward, covers his own mouth for protection and commands “open it up!” I oblige. “Why you have dah string dere now?”


“It's not string, it's elastic dear.” He ponders, a finger to his mouth in the classic 'thinking' pose. “Dat's good. Den it won fall off.”
‘Great’ minds think alike.


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Leaking

I sit at the dining room table with my children as they eat their snacks. My prompts are limited as my words are indistinct after jaw surgery. I try to glug my next bottle of Ensure, the most vile liquid substance on the planet. The crunch of munching crackers makes me slightly jealous, the salt crystals glitter in the weak Californian sunshine. Only five more bottles to go before bedtime. Three pairs of eyes long to share the sickly sweet drink.

“Eeow Mom, yur dribblin!” she squeals. Junior scrambles from the table and rushes into the kitchen. He slams a few kitchen drawers before returning with a floor cloth. He hesitates, falters, recovers and dabs ineffectually at my chin, “dehr you go mom, all better now!”

Rats to the theory of mind.


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School report

Communication with the school about daily events is a pivotal point of contact between both parties on the front line. Junior’s school report is not a happy one. It is a recurring theme, spitting at school. Bad habit or perseverating? He spits at home too but we are here to deal with these incidents. When he is at school we are virtually powerless. It is sad to note, that of all the many skills that we would love him to generalize, [translation = be able to repeat in different geographical locations and times] spitting isn’t one of them. We have used a variety of tactics to curb this habit, thus far they have all failed.

There is a veritable panoply of tools available to the parent of the autistic child and whatever current crisis that you are currently experiencing.

We started with the most obvious first step, namely the basic threat – ‘stop spitting or we’ll whip your gizzard out.’ [note to self – research location and function of ‘gizzard’] We moved swiftly onto step two –’it’s duct tape for you matey!’ [translation = an option limited to fellow Americans] We then trolled through our usual options, the social stories, [translation = “Carol Gray’s site”] the sticker motivational option, the negative count. [translation = count the number of times that you didn’t do it, when you wanted to do it, and compare with the number of times that you couldn’t resist, then gradually tip the balance in favour of the later] This method is useful for the child that loves to count. I suspect that they enjoy it purely for the counting exercise, but that is immaterial if it brings positive results. Then the logical ‘germ’ talk, which often works well with the OCD kind of a kid, but to be used with cautious due to backlash of temporarily tamped down neurosis. The superclean child who is learning to be less so, is likely to react negatively to such a suggestion. This may result in all the reduced OCD habits re-emerging like a plague. It is a brave parent indeed, who will risk fiddling around with the status quo of the OCD.


We occasionally try out more conventional measures such as the ‘big boy’ appeal or ‘make me proud’ guilt trip, just in case something might have changed and we failed to notice the development. On the whole the last two are a waste of breath since no-one has any desire to grow older, nor be regarded as older, and ‘maturity’ is not rated as a strength. This is to say nothing at all about the unlikely or remote desire, to engender pride in anyone or anything. It always amazes me that these two most powerful tools in the average parents’ arsenal of tools, are actually the most worthless ones for the parent of an autistic child. But we haven’t forgotten their existence and we throw them into the mix every so often just to check the status quo. I fear, that should someone ever unexpectedly respond to either of these two appeals in the future, that I might suffer an attack of the vapours if not properly mentally prepared in advance.

In summary, the ‘spitting’ issue is a recurring one that we have yet to deal with successfully by any of the above means, as well as a whole host of others that I haven’t mentioned, due to time and space constraints, as well as the boredom factor. In the meantime, I think.

I prepare myself mentally and take him to one side so that we may both ‘clean our teeth.’ It’s a slow business for me, as access to my mouth is minimal after jaw surgery. I use a lot of face cloths to clean myself up before we retire to my bed, where my wipe board waits. I write, he reads.
“I SAW YOUR SCHOOL REPORT.”
“I had a bad day today.”
“I WISH I COULD SPIT LIKE YOU.”
“You cant spit.”

“NO.”
“Why you cant spit?”
“AFTER THE SURGERY MY MOUTH DOESN’T WORK PROPERLY.”
I pull an exaggerated sad face. His finger tips brush my lips.
“I can see? Open dah mowf please?”
I oblige revealing braces, lumps of plastic and enough elastic bands to play cats cradle to professional Olympic standards.
“I HAVE A DEAL!”
“What deal?”
“HOWABOUT YOU CAN SPIT AGAIN WHEN MY MOUTH IS BETTER AND I CAN SPIT AGAIN TOO? CAN YOU WAIT UNTIL WE CAN SPIT TOGETHER?”
“You want to spit with me?”
“SURE I’D LOVE TO SPIT WITH YOU.”
“You are the sad one?”
“I AM A LITTLE BIT SAD BECAUSE MY MOUTH IS ALL WONKY.”
“I fink maybe I can wait a bit. You are better tomorrow?”
‘I GET BETTER EVERY DAY BUT IT MIGHT BE A LONG TIME UNTIL I CAN SPIT LIKE YOU DO.”
“How long is dah long time?”
“I DON’T KNOW. TELL YOU WHAT, WHEN MY MOUTH IS BETTER WE CAN SUCK UP CHOCOLATE PUDDING WITH STRAWS TOGETHER AND THEN BLOW IT OUT.” [translation = an exercise recommended to help with lip closure and breath control!]
“You cant blow evver.”
“I KNOW. CAN YOU WAIT UNTIL WE CAN DO IT TOGETHER.”
“May be……….but I will not be blowing dah chocolate pudding out because I am liking to be eating it. You can blow it out though, coz I know that you are hating dah chocolate pudding.”

The ‘Theory of mind’ dies again. Horray!

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