And then there was light

I pick up the last few bits and bobs so that I don't trip over them in the morning. An assortment of tiny things that are of great importance for junior. At 1 a.m. I fall into unconsiousness to recharge the batteries.

A small figure appears in the gloom to yell “where it is? Da 'glow bit'?” I peer at the LED, one inch from my nose, two inch numbers, which tells me that it is 5:40 in the morning. Horray! They're beginning to adjust to Day Light Saving after nearly two weeks. Instead of waking at their usual 6:00, they changed their allegiance to 5:00 a.m. without so much as a by your leave. [translation = permission]
I run the question through my lexicon: 'glow bit'? What could he possibly mean? I blink but he is a blur without the bifocals. I am unable to glean any periferal information to assist me. I notice that he is po- going at a rapid rate. [translation = jumping up and down in the same spot jolly fast] This piece of information adds to the 'blur' affect but also tells me that he is hanging on by a thread [ translation = near a meltdown due to frustration, barely holding it together]

I need a clue, I need my brain to wake up and fast. I remind myself that this is better than 2 years ago when he was just a silent apparition. It is better than last year where he would appear and promptly explode all over the carpet. Now we have his physical presence, fully equipped with words, which he is willing to share with us, but lack the intelligence to interpret them accurately.

It's definitely a new one, one I haven't heard before. Why can't he keep the utterance of new vocabulary to a more reasonable timetable? [translation = schedule] We could introduce a new campaign! Half an hour a day when he can bludgeon us with his new words, preferably when we're awake. Thirty minutes for introductions to specific new words where he could appraise us of his progress. But no, we have to contend with these dictatorship assaults, and before daylight to boot. [translation = as well]

I trawl through the previous days events for clues, even though I know from experience that the 'new word' may have entered his being at any time during the last 6 months, and only now surfaced to be verbalized. Play with siblings, [translation = brother and sister] [horray he plays!] basket for of library books, visit to supermarket, [translation = grocery store] thirty minutes telly, [translation= reward for task completion {sub translation = doing chores}] Nothing stands out as 'new'?
Not for the first time, I wish I had a twin, or a clone, someone who could be with him every second of the day so that I can keep up, because every moment I miss, leads to additional incidents of failure, where I am stumped. [translation = lost]

I debate whether or not to ask for more information? [translation = further an better particulars] But I can't find my cheer leaders voice. Luckily it's too dark to need my cheerleader face. If I ask a question in just the right way, he might co-operate and answer. But if I don't understand the answer we'll be no further forward. [translation = probably make things much worse and provoke a meltdown anyway] I determine to be brave and risk the fall out. “Can you use your 'good describing words' for me?”
“Yes, it is pink and it is light.” Come on now, two further pieces of information! Use them!
“Er do you mean it's not heavy, small?”
“Yes, dat is right! You are da good one mummy!” Horray! Reciprocal exchange. [translation = a dialogue where both parties exchange information] I play for time.
“Stinky pinky huh!” I tease. [translation = a not so private joke, that makes him giggle and eases the tension.] “Let me see, what can I think of that's pink and small?” I say out loud using my 'thinking' voice.' [translation = lets him know that I'm functioning at half speed but trying]
“No, it is the small and it is the light also.”
“Er…..light? Like a torch? [translation = flashlight]”
“Yes! Good one mummy. You are da great rememberer! I am looking for the new little pink flashy torch thingy that you were buying me yesterday, so that if I was a dog and you were taking me for a walk, then I wouldn't be squished by da cars because da driver, he would be seeing my pink blinky light, but only in da night time when it is being dark.” Couldn't have put it better myself.

Only 2, the cat chewed the other one over night. I hope he didn't swallow it? Well we’ll find out when it gets dark.


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Incident of Parental Error


I commune with one of my speech delayed sons. He is nearly seven and a half, the big one. His autism complicates his speech delay. He is motivated to speak to me because, like most children, he wants something from me. I already know that he wants to find the case for his computer disc, to keep it safe, to stop it from being damaged. He has learned that 'damage' equates to 'no more play.' Currently he applies this care to his own belongings, but in time he will apply it to other people's property, [translation = generalize] which is good for you too.

“What does it look like dear?” I wait for him to process my words and debate whether it's really worth his effort. I wait, because if I repeat it too soon, the new words will bump into the old words and produce a jumble. I wait. If I rephrase, mistakenly thinking that he's misunderstood, then the two phrases will tangle around each other, slot together in a knot to hide their meaning. I wait. Why should he speak when he can get want he wants by mimicking, gestures and mime?

I know what he wants. He knows that I know. Why don't I just give it to him? That's what a kindly parent should do. Because when I'm in my coffin, I want him to be able to communicate with other people, preferably using words. I wait as he processes and debates simultaneously, because although he may not appear to be multi tasking, he is. I tip the balance in my favour, and prompt him at what I hope is the right time, because I steal information from speech pathologists. “Use your good describing words.” I wait. Our eyes meet, he knows I mean business. I wait. I wait a bit more. I prompt, “is it big or little?”
“It is like dis,” he holds up his hands to illustrate the shape and size of the sought after item.
“Fat or thin?” A choice of options makes it easier for him. His vocabulary is good, [translation = age appropriate] he just has difficulty finding the words, as he has a faulty filing system.
“Fin. It is fin, fin, fin.” How we love categories.
“What colour is it?”
“Er it has no colour, no colour, no colour.” Always in threes, a little echoing loop.
“Is it see through?”
“See fru? What it is, 'see fru?'” That’s not a new word, where can it be hiding in his lexicon?
“Um, I can't think of another word for transparent!”
“Oh! Why din you say dat den, I know transparent! Indeed, why didn't I?
“No, no, no, it not 'trans pah rnt' it is really 'trans PAR ENT!” His discriminatory auditory power, enunciation and diction flaw me. I predict a future career as an elocution teacher.
“No English speaking! Try, try, try again! We are in da America you know!”
As if I'm allowed to forget.

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