A Morning With Happy Aaron

Aaron was happy this morning, which means he was compliant about getting ready and then very talkative after his shower.  I enjoy the mornings when he comes in the bathroom while I’m putting on my make-up and just sits there talking to me.  It’s so interesting to listen to him and through his talking, be able to see into his thinking.  I decided to share with you a little of my morning with Aaron.

I never know if he’ll get off the computer in time to shower well, or at all, or if he’ll be grouchy about it.  This morning he was in a good mood and got himself off the computer with no fuss.  In his bathroom, I heard the water running and then heard Aaron singing “Jimmy Crack Corn.”  Yes……he was singing “Jimmy Crack Corn.”  He later told me, “Mom, that song is old, right?”   Yes, Aaron, it’s a very old song but a good song to sing……….and you sang it very well.  He was pleased with that critique.

But, Aaron, did you really shower well?  Of course he says yes to that, but I told him that his hair didn’t look so hot.  “I washed my hair, Mom,!  I just didn’t wash it long.  I was in a hurry!”  Yep, there was a lot more singing than showering going on this morning!  Ugh!

I asked him how he slept last night.  His answer:  “Kinda well.  I went to sleep at 11:24 and got up at 7:30.”   We talked about getting off the computer at night and not reading so long and why does his stomach hurt in the morning and then:  “Mom, I didn’t know that dog’s eyes glow.  I thought only cat’s eyes glow.”  So we transitioned into the glowing eyes of animals.  Which led to:  “Oh Mom!  Yesterday I saw the toad for the fourth time!  Does he like the cold?  Why is he out in the cold and the rain?” 

With Aaron, it’s around and around he goes, and where he lands nobody knows.  I’ve learned to transition with ease…….most of the time.  His next subject:  “Mom, yesterday we were sitting on the upper top of the east mall and I saw a make-up store.”  A make-up store?  “Yeah.  You know – a store that sells make-up.  And there was a woman that works there putting make-up on her OWN self!”  He thought it was odd that she would put powder on her OWN self and she was looking in a mirror and why did she need to look in a mirror?  I was hoping that Aaron didn’t go into the make-up store and stand there staring at her, like he does in the nail salons, but he said that he did not go in the make-up store because he thought it would smell funny…………..which led to:  “Mom, I don’t like going in shoe stores.  You know why?” 
No, Aaron, but I have a feeling you’re about to tell me.  “It’s because they smell funny, too.”  And we had to figure out why shoe stores smell funny and make-up stores smell funny and nail salons, too.

Today is movie day and so he said, “Mom, have you ever noticed that at the theater in the area in front of you is the popcorn and in the other area behind that is the popcorn popper?  I told Krysten that I wish my Mom had that big popcorn popper!  Would you want that much popcorn?” 

No, Aaron, but I’m sure you would.  And I found out that, yes, Aaron would love that much popcorn and why don’t I want that big popcorn popper and why is the one we have now enough and am I SURE I don’t want that big popcorn popper that’s in that area at the theater behind the popcorn? 

We talked about many other things as we left the house and drove to meet his group.  “Mom, what happened to the warmness?  I thought it was spring.”  The warmness will come back, Aaron, believe me!  And he ended by listening carefully to the Lion King CD as we drove and deciding that a particular character is really a baboon but is he a wizard because “doesn’t he do things in the wizard way?”  When we pulled up to the van holding his group, Aaron continued to talk.  He always does, and Cody waits patiently for Aaron to finish.  Aaron must finish or Aaron isn’t happy and we all want Aaron to be happy.

And besides, what he says is very interesting and insightful and funny and I am reminded to be thankful that our autistic son can talk. 

Some days not so much, but today was a day to listen and learn and follow Aaron’s ever-so-fascinating mind.  So far.  We’ll see what the second half of the day holds! 

The Brown Stuff on Top

It sure is interesting to listen to Aaron talk about his day with Paradigm, his day group.  His descriptions of food, as you know from past blogs, can be mysterious or downright funny.  On Wednesdays, the group cooks at their office location.  They have a huge area full of couches, chairs, a pool table and other games, and a nice kitchen.  Every Wednesday when Aaron returns home I like to ask him what they fixed for lunch. 

This was his description of their creation one day:  “I don’t remember what it’s called, Mom, but it had chips and then it had that brown stuff on top that looked like throw-up.  And the cheese that wasn’t melted but it was those shreds.  And it had tomato stuff on top.” 

Wow.  Sounds………….interesting.  I don’t want to discourage Aaron from trying the food that they cook there, so I try to stay positive, but based on his description my reaction was……….YUCK!!!!

Of course, Aaron is color blind so as we talked about his lunch I was able to – thankfully – figure out that they had fixed Nachos and that the brown stuff on top that looked like throw-up was actually guacamole.  There is a reason, though, that I don’t care for that stuff.  But I don’t tell Aaron that.

Yesterday Aaron said, “Mom!  Guess what someone brought to Paradigm today?  Salmon!”

Really, Aaron?  “Yeah,” he said.  “I don’t like it.”
Hmmm………Dad and I just had salmon last night.  “Yeah,” he repeated.  “But I don’t like it. I don’t like fish.”

“But you like Long John Silvers fish,” I reminded him.

And he replied, “But I don’t like homemade fish.”

Ah, yes, homemade fish.  But when I fix homemade fish at least I don’t put brown stuff on top that looks like throw up! 

Read my Face!

Individuals with Asperger’s have a very difficult time reading social cues that you and I take for granted.  Aaron doesn’t seem to notice at all when he is going on and on during a family meal, for instance, about global warming or Egyptian hieroglyphics or the rings of Saturn…………..that we are not interested after a certain long period of time and that we really want to interact with each other about other subjects.  Subjects that most often have absolutely nothing to do with Aaron’s range of interests. 

He does, however, know how to read my face………if he takes the time to look.  He also reads my silence as an indicator that he has crossed the line with Mom – that Mom is frustrated – or angry. 

Once I overheard Aaron telling Andrea about buying a movie that did not meet our approval.   He said, “Mom’s face acted like she didn’t like it.” 

How interesting………..and funny!  And today he knew that my face didn’t like the fact that he was not wanting to get ready for his group, so we were several minutes late, with morning necessities undone.  I’m thankful for Aaron’s very patient staff, Cody………….and for the fact that Aaron was happy.  Of course, running into Quik Trip for a #52 Slushie and some Hot Tamales helped Aaron’s face be happy.  Not so sure his stomach will be as happy a little later today.

He knew my face didn’t like his attitude this morning.  He kept looking at me and saying, “WHAT??”  He knew what…………just read my face, Aaron. 

Tomorrow is another day to hopefully make Mom’s face like what he’s doing and how he’s behaving. 

Play Me a Song!

I grew up in a musical family.  Mom had a beautiful voice and a love of music that she and Dad shared.  We listened to music all day long, it seemed.  Mom played lots of classical music as well as the old musicals like Sound of Music or The King and I, and definitely lots of church music.  I’m taken back to my childhood when I hear songs like “The Lily of the Valley” or “The Old Rugged Cross.”  We kids sang together in church from a very young age, and all of us love and enjoy music to this day.

I’ve always had music playing as our children were growing up.  Each of our kids also love music, including Aaron.  Aaron is much like me in that he tends to lean towards more peppy music, you could say.  I love the classical sound of a violin, but I really get down to the sound of a bluegrass fiddle.  My mother would call most of my musical preferences today “jazzy” music.  That always makes us laugh to hear her say that phrase, because it’s said with some disdain.  She told me recently that she wouldn’t attend a certain service at her assisted living home because at that time they “played that jazzy music.”  That’s probably the service that I would have enjoyed the most!  But I didn’t tell her that!

I always have a CD playing when I drive, or the radio, but most often a CD.  Aaron loves the music and so we listen to something like Little Mermaid, or Alabama, or maybe oldies songs.  Aaron and I were listening to my Shania Twain CD one day.  He heard the song “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” and it obviously made quite an impression on him.  He laughed about it and said, “Now that’s weird that she feels like a woman.  She IS a woman.”  I just left it there.

Later that evening in his room, as he played a computer game, I heard him singing in a rather monotone voice, “Man! I feel like a woman.”  Over and over he dryly intoned that phrase, “Man. I feel like a woman.”  I began having visions of him singing that phrase in the middle of the men’s bathroom at Wal-Mart or the mall…………”Man. I feel like a woman!”  This could be bad.  I was very happy that he finally lost interest in that song. 

The other night Aaron had the television on and suddenly he said, “Mom!  Come here!  Look at this!”  I went to the den and saw that he was watching the public television station.  There was an orchestra playing a beautiful classical piece and Aaron was intrigued.  We watched awhile and we talked about the different instruments.  I said, “Isn’t it interesting, Aaron, to see the actual instrument that makes the sounds that you hear all the time in music?”  He agreed and so we watched for a few more minutes. 

Aaron was unusually quiet and as I looked at him, I saw that his head was leaning over a little and he was very still as he watched the orchestra.  Finally he perked up and said, “Now that’s SLEEPY music!” 

Well, yes, I guess you could say that.  Compared to “Man!  I Feel Like a Woman!”  it would appear to be “sleepy music.” 

Probably a lot safer in the men’s bathroom, too.  I should probably dig out my “sleepy music” Cd’s again.