“Green is made with yellow and blue,
Add a little blue to green to get aquamarine,
Colors are bright, some are pale,
There are a whole lot of colors you never hear about such as magenta, marigold, and fuschia.
Colors, colors, everywhere!"
I started laughing like a mad woman, pointed to my head, and said, “My brain cells have exited. They are leaving my body. My mind is almost gone!”
Chris didn’t know what to say. He listened as I told him about Henry’s morning rant when he screamed about not wanting to eat sprinkles on a white cake with white frosting this weekend. He threw himself on the couch and flung his body backwards, like a two year old. I had told Henry, “This is NOT about you. If you don’t want to eat the cake, don’t. Eat the other cake that’s available, or eat no cake at all. It doesn’t matter to me. You won’t starve. Stop throwing a fit.”
Chris listened as I told him about taking back recycling, which is Isaac’s Wednesday tradition. I told him the miracle of all miracles: Noah had found his lunch bag and contents that had been lost for several days at school. He listened as I told him the neighbor’s package flew off their front steps several times in the wind, even after I ran after it, placed it on their front steps, and put a rock on top. (What was in that box, anyway? One feather?) Eventually I put it in a bag and tied it to their railing out front. He listened as I told him I baked a double batch of cookies, and I was quite worried I wouldn’t have the kitchen cleaned up and everything put away before Isaac got home from school. The first thing Isaac does when he comes home from school is to shut off my computer and the TV (if either is on), and then he examines the kitchen to make sure everything is in its place and nothing has been done in his absence.
I pulled a knife from the drawer and cut open an avocado and mashed it in preparation for the evening's guacamole.
“How about we get out the grill so we can cook the turkey burgers?” Chris said to Isaac. I didn’t blame him for wanting to get outside. After all, I had a weapon in my hand.
Isaac was out of school Wednesday at noon, which really cramps his style and mine. The weather was ugly and windy, so Isaac was not outside shooting hoops. He was actually quite content watching Blue’s Clues, a DVD he found a week ago in our entertainment center. He hasn’t been interested in that show for years. It’s unusual for him to sit and watch TV unless it’s America’s Funniest Home Videos. But he will not watch TV unless someone else is watching with him. What kind of break is that?
Yellow + red = orange
Chartreuse = a yellowish green
If those facts were on the Iowa Assessments, he could pass with flying colors. Here’s a 12-year-old boy with autism, almost as tall as me – certainly stronger – watching a preschool video and stealing portions of the lunch I had made for myself. He ate his lunch at school, but that didn’t deter him from eating mine.
We sat on the couch together, side by side, while I said, “Hey, do you like this video?”
“Yes!” he said, in a loud voice.
I tried to eat my lunch. I wanted to get something done. He put his arm around me, which was really more of a headlock than an affectionate hug, and we watched Blue, Joe, and the Thinking Chair. Again and again.
Purple + blue = violet
I wanted to be a better mom, but I wasn’t feeling it. My patience was shot. As much as I love this child, he frustrates me at times. I like to think other parents who give a hoot about kids feel the same way if they’re being honest. I can’t be the only one, can I?
Last Friday Isaac had no school, and I spent the day with him running errands. We went to Dollar Tree, Hy-Vee, Aldi, Culver’s, the gas station, a car wash, and Target. He was content and happy until he had to leave the park, which was almost our last stop. Then he started melting and the clouds blew in and the birds stopped singing and he started crying and he stopped shooting the basketball. I was asking him to leave the park because I needed to pick up Noah from the junior high. It was ugly, but we managed. As he gets older, it’s easier for me to figure him out and vice versa, but we don’t always see eye to eye.
Friday nobody has school, so I have my fingers crossed the interruption in schedule will not be too much of a challenge. Isaac brought four suitcases into the living room a few days ago, so he’s planning to go somewhere evidently. Sorry, we are not going anywhere Friday -- at least nowhere that requires a suitcase.
I’m going to try to open my heart and take my cues from Isaac. I’m going to do some deep breathing when kids protest, fight, and misplace things. I hope not to lose whatever mind I have left.
I sometimes need a clue – like Blue’s Clues – to navigate this thing called parenting. I try to take it one day at a time, putting one foot in front of the other. Most of the time I think I do okay. Sometimes I have no idea where I’m headed. It reminds me of coming home from the hospital with two little infants and realizing how clueless parents are – all parents – the moment they become a mom or a dad. Nobody really knows anything. We all just make it up as we go along and hope we make it out alive.