Exclusive – you can only find them in one place, I’ve checked

The back drop to my life is a constant stream of little ditties, scripts on the whole. It’s like wallpaper, always there but not particularly noticeable once you’ve grown accustomed to the pattern. Because they’re collected from such varied sources, the ‘voice’ changes. It’s a bit like flicking through radio or television channels, variety. Here we have TIVO for many different reasons, mainly parental censorship and a need to avoid all advertisements. But now we have “Nonna” in residence so we also have adverts.

I try my best to hold a coherent conversation with “Nonna,” very early in the morning:-

“Wot you do den?” she asks, bleary eyed in the kitchen.
“Just getting a jump on breakfast,” I bellow since it is unlikely that she wears her hearing aid at 5:10 in the morning.
“Bananas…….an excellent source of Potassium.” echoes from the family room.
“It is dark. Is it night time or already is it dah morning? Where iz dah clock?”
“Over there, above your head, it’s just gone five in the morning.”
“Price line! Knee Go Tee AyTor.”
“Why you ave dah television on?”
“I don’t……..well…….the radio is on. That’s probably what you can hear.”
“Make a U-turn if possible.”
“I tink I watch dah BBC. You can turn it on for me…..please?”
“Are you sure, it’s still very early. Would you like to wait a bit, maybe later?”
“Dya wanna have music in your soul?”
“Wot time you say it iz?”
“Early, very early in the morning. You don’t usually get up this early.”
“You are making breakfast or dinner?”
“Love! Show me the love.”
“I tink I am confused a bit because it is dark still.”
“Hmm, maybe go back to bed for a while. Do you want to take a coffee with you, some tea?”
“Thanks so much! You’ve been a great audience tonight.”
“No. Thank you. I tink I shall just read. Ave you seen my book?”
“Elusive acid spitting Mongolian death worm.”
I pause in my book search and turn my attention back to my son.
“I beg your pardon? What did you just say?”
“Which bit is it that I am just say?”
“The last bit.”
“Elusive acid spitting Mongolian death worm?”
“Yes. That bit. What is that……exactly?”
“It is exactly…….in my imagination.”

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Animal planet and the general menagerie

Television has a lot to answer for, or rather, unsupervised television viewing by the youth of today. I find the youth of the day spitting into the air and watching the spittle land at his toe nails. I admonish the youth today, although I am secretly pleased at his incredible display of such fine lip closure, “and just what exactly do you think you are doing Sunny Jim!”
“I am being dah Archer Fish.”
Of course he is!
“Well I don’t want to see that again thank you,” I lie in a truthful manner. I watch him tip toe out into the garden in exaggerated sneak mode.

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How to stop a special needs kid from spitting?[*]

Please scroll down for Smiley Saturday and SOOC 

[*] most interesting google search question of the week

So much depends upon what kind of special needs? Is he or she 2 or 10 years old? But even more pivotal, is the ‘why’?   Why is the child spitting?    Special needs, autistic or typical. I’m confident that together we could come up with a lengthy collective list, but I’m happy to make the first move.

Top of my list would be Copying. Both my boys are exceptionally good at both copying and mimicry. Like most children that begin to attend school, they come home having learned a great many things that they were previously unaware of, such as name calling, teasing, arm pit farting and a great many other egregious but thoroughly predictable habits. Exposure to typically developing peers generally has this effect.

I was very interested to watch my boys, especially the youngest, try to spit. In case you were not previously aware of it, I can assure you that the skill of spitting is just that, a skill, a skill that he lacked. There can be a great many reasons why spitting is so difficult but in my son’s case, in layperson’s terms, it was poor musculature or low muscle tone in the jaw, combined with poor lip closure as well an inability to ‘suck it up.’ This is the kind of child that drools way beyond babyhood. It’s also the kind of child who needs a great deal of therapeutic help to improve the condition as well as a great deal of positive encouragement to attempt something that is so tremendously difficult.

So yes, it’s true, I’m a slacker when it comes to parenting and as soon as I caught him staring at the floor boards willing himself to spit, head hung low and waiting for gravity, I did nothing but watch silently from the side lines. I watched for days as he practiced and practiced and practiced, because these things take time and muscles don’t grow overnight. I cannot tell you how huge this is for someone who is peerless, that is to say someone without peers, groups or otherwise.

It took nearly two months but the boy was motivated, and motivation is a rare commodity indeed. I turned my blind eyes and willed him to succeed, in silence. The end result was still pretty feeble in the great scheme of the school yard hierarchy as compared with other eight year olds but he made his mark and so did his school report because such behaviour is socially unacceptable, unhygienic and terribly disgusting.

As with all new skills it took a great deal longer to teach him the last bit but everything is a trade off my friends.

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7 layer dip

I am on weak ground and failed to research the matter in depth, so I will prevail upon your indulgence. Others, real Americans, are more adaptable. Their “blog titles” are deceptive because really they have it down to a fine “art.” We are each of us, far more “complex,” than we let on.

Some of us are of a culinary disposition be that chef, cook or can opener. In America, and I believe elsewhere, since we are now of a global persuasion, I notice a surfeit of these concoctions on the supermarket delicatessen shelves. They come in a wide variety of forms.

The principal is simple enough, take three or more slops and pour one on top of another. A common combination would be some bean smoosh, guacamole, salsaish slime and sour cream, which is then sprinkled with a substance pretending to be cheese. The cheese may be approximately cheese coloured, but other than that, it fails completely in all other qualities such as flavour or texture. It’s more of a grated coronary than anything else, unless you are really unlucky and have the low fat, no fat, super healthy alternative.

I often believe that they are designed like a colour wheel. There must be contrast otherwise you might be unaware that the layers differ. Green Pesto next to guacamole would be a mistake, because I would suspect I had been short changed and dipped out. Sour cream and cream cheese, without a layer of alternative coloured muck, would also be an error. Red Pesto on salsa would be suspicious.

In an ideal world the eater should be able to take a tortilla chip or crudite and swipe a slick of all the layers onto the instrument prior to eating. Here, the consistency is crucial. Too thick and the chip snaps, too sloppy and all the layers mix together into one big primordial ooze.

Since I am a grown up person, I prefer my food to bite back, although not literally. Anything that resembles baby food should be avoided. Anything that changes form before your eyes is untrustworthy. I think that’s part of the reason why ice-cream is dangerous, in a shape shifter kind of way. If I’m presented with a cold rock of flavoured cream, it sits there for a while innocently enough. Then before you know it, you glance back and it has started to melt and spread. Leaky food should have it’s own FDA label – danger, substance changes form without warning. Although I have inadvertently revealed my skills in chemistry and physics, there is no doubt that if an egg has the quality of bounce, it simultaneously loses the category of edible.

Overall, I can conclude that there are many things that benefit from being layered, such as hair, clothing or window dressings, but food? Food should not be layered. Food should be neatly ordered on a plate with a one inch mote around each item, as it would never do for them to touch and become contaminated, or is that just my children?

I think these thoughts early in the morning, before my brain is fully functioning. I am prompted by the visual clues of the detritus under the dining room table. Several cloths and a bottle of 409 help me remove the evidence of my slovenly existence, but that’s the trouble with play dates. 6 children for 3 hours brings it’s own fall out.

The cookie crumbs are crunchy because they have been there the longest. It is admirable to note that the neophobe can now stomach the chocolate chip variety that ever other child on the planet adores. Three o’clock in the afternoon. I had no time to clean up the chocolate milk spills which mixed in with the dot to dot paints. Who would think he would ever drink chocolate milk that hadn’t been heated for one minute and 10 seconds precisely. If you stamp on a dot to dot bottle hard enough, they explode. An enviable display of foot eye co-ordination and strength. I am delighted that they picked them up voluntarily and otherwise used them appropriately. I didn’t have to bribe anyone. I was considered fun.

The red paint has coloured some of the slivers of paper because our cutting skills are improving at an ever greater pace. I’m glad to report that although few people ate the rice, 12 hours later it has returned to it’s original form, white, bent and crispy. I don’t think many people know that it is far easier to clean up dehydrated rice grains than freshly cooked sticky ones. The Parmesan shavings are scattered far and wide, carried on the whirlwind of activity that invaded my household. Although he didn’t eat any, he conducted himself admirably in view of the stench.

Shredded mini wheats may be a bonus for the digestive system, but they are a curse to the housewife as they shed themselves like knitted straw. That anyone, only two, considered them to be a snack was an unexpected bonus. I retrieve a banana skin from the corner, still moist and slick like a snail trail. My son, the neophobic thief. Who would have thought that a banana could become a preferred food?

I did not appreciate the pip spitting contest,but when Mandarins are in season and lip closure is an issue, maybe it helps if she can demonstrate by modeling?

They are all such tiny little things of huge significance. All of these things that they now do, occasionally, they do very badly, like someone so much younger might do. You can measure and test and teach these skills. You can monitor progress, plot graphs and pi charts but the thing that is most significant to me, is of no great importance. The pivotal point that overcomes inertia, is a willingness to give it a go, to just try. So few people can understand the utter joy of handing a child a pair of scissors, a weapon of mass destruction, or mere meltdowns, and witnessing them reach out and take them.

The desired behaviour can often be elusive but I think I might, reluctantly and grumpily, be won over by a 9 layer option afterall. It may take a chisel to remove the fall out on the floor, but the evidence is there for all to see.

For additional cleaning tips please visit my pal“Mrs. Bucket” a.k.a. “Kritina Chew.”

p.s. I should like to see more of these “99” thingummy do dahs, so if you do one, let me know.

New post up on “alien.”

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