Not Jerusalem*


We drive home after school.
“I love bananas. I love bananas. I love bananas,” he chants in the seat directly behind mine.  This is his latest quote.  He has quoted it continuously for the last 16 minutes, the minutes, short ones, that it has taken us to get from his class room door , to the car.  At least it is truthful, as bananas are one of his seventeen foods.  [translation = neophobic.]
“Are we going to my playdate?” she shouts over the din.
“Are we going to my playdate?” echoes her other brother.  She sits between the two of them, sandwiched.
“I love bananas. I love bananas. I love bananas,” he continues.
“Mom, can you make him shut up, I can’t think straight!”
“Think straight!” echoes the other.
“MOM!” she bellows, “DO SOMETHING!”
“DO SOMETHING!” he echoes.
I focus on driving safely from point A to point B.  [translation = and people moan about cell phone users!]
He changes his tune without warning or preamble, “ oooo wooo, déjà vu! oooo wooo, déjà vu!  oooo wooo, déjà vu!”
“Déjà vu!” echoes the other one.
“What is wrong with you two!  Are you bein ghosts or summat!”  I silently decide that my psyche is happier with the ‘banana’ ditty, but I say nothing as I  pull up to the lights.  We idle at the traffic stop.   [translation = traffic lights on red]  A car is next to us, all stars and stripes.  [translation = patriotic]  I debate whether turning the radio on will make things better or worse?  [translation = louder or quieter]
“Oooo wooo, déjà vu! oooo wooo, déjà vu!  oooo wooo, déjà vu!”
“Déjà vu!” repeats his brother.
“Stop it already!” she screams at one.
“Already,” he repeats, so she gives him the same treatment, with no discernible impact.
“Nearly home dear, not for much longer now.”
“Longer now.” I hear my own voice and tone waft back at me.
“Tell me about your day, dear, just try and shut it out, ignore it, let it drift over you.”
“Over you.”
“Oooo wooo, déjà vu! oooo wooo, déjà vu!  oooo wooo, déjà vu!”
“Er, we had, we had assembly,” she struggles to remain focused, tuned in but shut out.
“Great!  What happened?  Any awards?”
“Oooo wooo, déjà vu! oooo wooo, déjà vu!  oooo wooo, déjà vu!”
“Déjà vu!” repeats his brother.
“We er, sang songs, Star Spangled Banner and er…..a couple of other ones.”
“I actually know that one.  We had to learn it for our Citizen’s Exam.  Shall we sing it now, together, loudly?”
We sing together as the lights turn to green.  I sincerely hope that my mother never overhears such treason on my part.  [translation = she’ll put me up for adoption]
“There we go dear, thanks for singing with me.  Certainly did the trick don’t you think?” I ask rhetorically.  “You know I always muddle those two, the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful,” I add for no particular reason.
We pull into the driveway to park.  As I open the doors, Junior springs from the car singing  “America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”
His brother falls out of the car after him, several stanza’s and steps behind him, “shining sea!”
How on earth am I going to fade this before we fly back to the UK?  Will two weeks be enough?  I debate whether a long distance phone call to remind my mother of the meaning of perseveration and echolalia, might assist?  The thought of talking to my mother on the phone on this topic, whilst my son sings in the background, is enough to help me decide against it.  I do not wish to have a discussion about his “American accent,” frightful or otherwise.    I couldn’t care what kind of an accent he has, now that he has words at all.

*”Jerusalem” is a patriotic song sung in England.  It is approximately the ‘same’ in tenor, and isn’t the ‘God Save the Queen.’

Written by William Blake

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green
And was the holy lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen

And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills
And was Jerusalem builded there
Among those dark Satanic mills

Bring me my bow (my bow) of burning gold
Bring me my arrows of desire
Bring me my spears o’clouds unfold
Bring me my chariot of fire

I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my (my) sword sleep in hand
‘Til we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land
‘Til we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land

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“Do they breed?”
“I'm sorry?”
“Lizards. I mean, not do they breed but how do they breed?”
I’m not convinced that his emphasis clarifies his question? I look into the bleary eyes of my husband. [translation = significant other] Is it morning or night, if you return home from work at 3 and it's still dark?
“Well don't quote me, but I have my suspicions.”
“Do you think we should check on-line what sex they are?”
“I'll add it to me 'to do' list if you like. Put your mind at rest.”
“Don't you think that one is looking a bit pudgey?” We peer into the aquarium.
“What it is?” pounces Junior.
“What is what dear?”
“Dah 'pudgey'?” he blurts.
“He is not dah fat! He is dah cute.” Never insult a lizard regardless of the time of day.
“Maybe he’s about to have a growing spurt?” I offer.
“Maybe, perhaps grow a bit longer.”
“Dey don’t shed, it is dah “snakes dat are shed,” not lizards.”
“That's as well as may be,” spouse adds, raking his hair. “Let’s not get bogged down in “that” again.”
“What it is?”
“What is what, dear?”
“Dah 'may be'? It is dah same as dah 'maybe'?”
Spouse leans on the edge of the table, fingertips tented and breathes deeply. He swallows a yawn at five minutes past six in the morning, before continuing, “well he may also be pregnant.”
I look at my husband. He looks at me. His eyes widen, slightly. We both know, that it didn't come out quite right. We look at junior and wait for the question.

It doesn't come. Instead he asks “how many?”
“How many what dear?”
“How many dah babies he is having? Er…….eggs dat are havin dah babies inside of dah shell?”
Oh great. Just great.
“I'll leave you to explain that one dear, I have toast to burn.”

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Change of Name Deed

I wait patiently, lurking in the shadows, as my boys hang over the edge of the aquarium, bidding a fond farewell to their reptiles.
“We love you ickle wickle ones. Be good boys why we are away!”
“Dey are not boys, idiot!” admonishes one non verbal child, to the older but more severely speech delayed child. The soothing tones with which they coo, are reserved for the animal kingdom. Mankind, does not fair so well in the humane department.
“Do dey have food?”
“Yes, idiot. Look dey have dah healfee foodz!” blurts the neophobic one. He may not eat any of it himself, but he is more than capable of appreciating what a healthy diet might consist of.
“Look at iz lickle claws! Day are so cute. Ain't you jus dah little gorgeous one!”
“He dah beautiful. He is dah stripey. We love him cutsie wootsie one.”

Oh please! Get on with it won't you boys. How many compliments can a few small cold blooded creatures take? Don't you think you're going a bit over the top? The 'compliments' lesson with the speech pathologist, was weeks ago now. How come this skill has to percolate through to the surface right now, just as they're about to go out. Couldn't they have delayed the arrival of this skill until they arrived at the restaurant? Couldn't the average over worked, underpaid server, benefit so much more greatly from the odd kindness? Why waste all these words on reptiles?

Spouse yells at them from the garage, 'now or never,' to lure them to the car, to take them to the restaurant, just the four of them, whilst I wait at home, the non eating member of the party. They scamper past me in a blur. I scamper after them just in time to see the garage door close. Hey! What about me! Don't I get so much as a non verbal hand wave?

Talk about immature, attention seeking behaviour!

I'm seriously thinking of changing my name to 'lizard.'

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