Look to the future

Look into the future

“I be need!”
“What do you need dear.” When will he learn to reference back and give me a clue!
“I be need goggles.”
“No. I be need glasses.”
“No. I be need shades!”
“No. I be need eye fingies.”
“Eye thingies?”
“No. I be need……binoculars.”

I look at my son. Four years ago there were several items, ordinary items, that he was unable to name.

The few that I particularly recall were television, microscope, binoculars and telephone. He refused to name anything that could remotely be called food. All of them were off his radar and therefore of no interest.

The expert tester encouraged him to point at the pictures he chose, the ones he was unable to name. He was unable to point at the pictures for fear that his finger tip might accidentally brush the texture, as paper was poison. Instead he broke silence and read out the fine print on the margins of the pages, their reference numbers and letter codes, a gesture that struck me as generous to a fault.

“Well, you know, I don't think we have any binoculars dear.” They were given away, just like so many other things that were grouped together in the category of 'boring,' or in the alternative category of 'items of torture.'
“Oh.” He looks a little crest fallen and I await the meltdown. Moments later he skips away, as happy as a lamb, or a sheep on speed.

He returns shortly thereafter, clutching a cardboard tube and dives into the kitchen drawer where his magical fingers tackle an 'item of torture,' the seleotape dispenser with it's little serrated edge, the one sure to slash jugulars.

I step forward but he bellows me away, “I do it all my myself!”

And indeed he does!

“See! Ta dah!” he thrusts them towards me, less than an inch from my nose, “dey are beed super spy binoculars!”

I feel a little light headed as I watch him snatch them away, the binoculars of torture and place them over his eye sockets, the most sensitive part of his face. He hesitates and both hands quiver, his eyebrow arch to make more room until miraculously his vision is obscured by cardboard rings, surely the most superlative day in the universe.

In the bathroom, I step over the unraveled mounds of toilet paper, another mountain conquered.

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Leisure time

For the Spring break we are at home, with time, lashings of it. 72 days on a “purely liquid” diet, and counting. I whiz up a quick protein shake for myself after a loudish verbal warning to those who object strongly to the sound of all electrical domestic appliances. On completion my daughter requests a banana milkshake. What luck! I avoid adding the spotty bananas to the compost heap. I invite her to join me, a quick lesson. Everyone is in a good humor as we are without a timetable. [translation = schedule] With the routine temporarily shelved, everything is peaceful, apart from the whirring of the liquidizer. [translation = blender] I am careful to instruct her upon the importance of always putting the lid on prior to turning the power on. We giggle at the prospect of a banana spattered kitchen, how bananas quickly oxidize to resemble black slime. What a hoot! I do a quick head count to see who is watching and who might be listening, but we are alone. The boys clean their teeth, or rather eat toothpaste in the bathroom, because the best time to do what you want, is when your mum is otherwise engaged.

By lunchtime, I am peckish. I prepare an adequate [preferred] repast for the smalls and then turn my attention to the nauseating protein shake. Once the ingredients are ready, I plug it in. It is only then, that I notice that I have mislaid the lid. I check all obvious locations. Nothing. My stomach growls rather than gurgles. Perhaps I could put cling film over the top, [translation = Saran wrap] with a tiny hole to allow for air expulsion? A plate? The palm of my hand isn't big enough. I pause as a naked child jack knife's from his chair, as a crumb has touched his skin. The other two cover their ears for protection, an instinctive reflect during every meal. He is in full meltdown for a couple of minutes. We are all grateful that it is only a couple.

I re-dress him and advise upon the many benefits of clothing – think of it as armour! Mollified, but not convinced, he complies and returns to his chair for a second attempt, hunkered down if not entrenched.

By mid afternoon, I am more than a little peckish. I sneak away to the kitchen for the protein drink, contemplating when I might find the time to clean the braces. The milk is now less than attractive, room temperature. [translation = warm in California] I decide to have it anyway, as punishment for being so lax. I check the dishwasher for the lid, and the sink, and the cupboard. Where have I put it? A crash from next door sends me scurrying, even though it is not accompanied by death shrieks. Three lizards have 'escaped' from their aquarium. Three children attempt capture and containment of same, with less than adequate equipment, namely, their hands. The day progresses.

By the time it comes to tuck them all in to bed, I am sorely tempted just to climb in with them. It hasn't been that busy a day, quite a pleasant one all told. I can't imagine why I am quite so exhausted? I go downstairs to start clean up and see the liquidizer harbouring it's nutrients. I debate. Nearly 12 hours in mid 70's heat. If I eat it now, will I die of food poisoning or merely have an upset stomach? I am miffed. I should have just mixed it up with a hand whisk or shaken it in a jam jar. I am an idiot. Where on earth did I put the lid? I run a quick inventory around the house as my brain is accustomed to registering things that are in the wrong place – the toilet brush upended in the bathroom to tempt spiders, the plunger upended in the bath to provide a soft landing for the spider, the towels heaped in the centre of the bed to provide a nest for the spider. No. I cannot recall having seen the top to the blender at any time during the course of the day.

I tip it down the sink and finish off. Upstairs again, I deflate into my own bed, wondering when spouse might reappear after another long day's work. I wonder if he took the lid of the blender to work? By accident? I wonder if by the time dawn breaks I will be a skeleton?

I slumber, restless until he returns. I drift in and out of sleep, with a rumbling tummy.

In the peaceful black of the night we lie together, wordless. I sigh. He’s home. A gurgle that would do justice to the sinking of the Titanic erupts from my stomach. “Blimey! What have you been eating?” he accuses.
“Nothing actually.”
He props himself up on one elbow and rakes his hair with his fingers. I explain the finer dénouements of the day.
“You didn't take it with you by any chance?”

“Of course not! But wait a minute! I seem to remember……..”
He leaps out of bed. I am hot on his heels as he takes the stairs two at a time. He unlocks the front door and nips out barefoot onto the gravel. I hobble behind. He picks up a pink piece of paper in a plastic sleeve with a pebble, a freebie advertisement. It reads ‘Weight Watchers – special introductory price.’
I hope the that “neighbours” aren’t on watch?
“There you go!” he exclaims, “not exactly disguised but enough to blend in!” Clearly our own “visual acuity” needs recalibration.

We retire to the kitchen, where he rinses it for me and assembles ingredients, as if I have returned to 'invalid' status.
“He's such a little monkey,” he beams. “He must have had to unlock the door and everything…….”
Our eyes meet. Did we both fail to notice that Houdini did a runner? [translation = escaped without our knowledge] What if he hadn't come back?

“Of course he came back! He'd made his environment safe, sound proofed as it were!” he gestures open handed. [translation = “auditory sensitivity”]

I have a premonition of my future life spent in an unending search for domestic appliances in the garden.

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Time to clean up your act

Around this neck of the woods where fine motor skills are in short supply, the management relies upon the use of liquid soap to keep hygiene at acceptable levels. Cleanliness for one of my boys, is a high priority, falling into the OCD category. My other chap is indifferent. I sometimes consider allowing the dirt to build up to the level where I can simply chip it off like a crust with a chisel, to save time.
Liquid soap of course is one of those new fangled extravagances of modern life, but I hadn't realized quite how insidious such shopping preferences can become, especially for one such as myself, someone “allergic to shopping.”

I decide to indulge my family. I ponder if I really want to squander this gift upon my unappreciative herd, but the thought of those beautiful bars of soap spending another year on the top shelf of my closet, makes me wince. It smacks of the 'best china' or 'parlour,' things that are only used on High days and Holidays, imposing an unnecessary paucity on daily life. I pull off the lid to be enveloped in wafts of lemon scent. It even smells clean, which is just how a cake of soap should be.
I am apprehensive in view of junior violent objection to cleaning solutions that involve fruit. I determine to choose my words carefully.

“What it is?”
“It is soap”
“Soap! Soap? It is not soap!”
“It is really. You use it to wash and get clean.”
“Er, no, I am finking dat you are making an accident, not a deliberately.”
“Because dah soap is er…..I dont know er……dis is not soap because it is being hard.” Oh of course, why didn't I think of that?
“I see. Well this is an old fashioned cake of soap, this is what people used before liquid soap was invented.”
“Cake! Cake? I am never eating it, it is terrible for me!”
“Ah, no, you don't eat it, you wash with it, just like liquid soap.”
“Not cake?”
“No that's just the descriptive noun, like 'pod' of whales.”

I demonstrate usage of the strange item to my kinesthetic learner. He makes no comment upon the lemon fumes, merely wrinkles his nose. “Here, you have a try.” I realize immediately that it's a large item to hold for small hands. I also realize seconds later, that it has a hitherto forgotten flaw as it shoots out of his grasp and skids into the other room, an erratic spinning top. He squeals with glee and chases after it. His delight alerts the others that something is afoot. I observe three children gamboling in my kitchen, as smears of soap begin to adorn every surface.

Junior has his own light bulb moment, stops abruptly and takes a marching step towards me. “You know, I fink dat it is fun to be playing wiv cake. We should be having dah chocolate soap because it is smelling nicer than lemon fruit stuff.”

Those moments of self generated problem serving reward us both – isn't that killing two birds with one stone?

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