Artichokes and Cactus

Saturday morning I decided to run Aaron down to Great Clips for a much needed hair cut.  I hoped that we would beat the crowd, and thankfully we did.  As the worker there looked Aaron’s name up on the computer, I realized she was glancing nervously at Aaron.  The hair dresser who would cut his hair and trim his beard also had the same reaction.  Oh brother!  It always amazes me how I can tell in just a few seconds whether someone will “get” Aaron or not.  I was fairly certain that these two girls were in the “not” category.  I was right.

Aaron was delighted that he didn’t even have to sit in a chair to wait for his turn.  “Here Mom!” he said as he took his glasses off and handed them to me.  Then he took his treasured ring off is finger for me to also hold.  Good grief!  I was wondering if his shirt was next!  Those nervous girls were taking it all in, becoming even more nervous.  I smiled.  Just be yourself, Aaron.  Yet Aaron can also sense when someone doesn’t understand him, so he was very quiet.  The girl didn’t engage him in any conversation whatsoever while she quickly cut his hair and trimmed his goatee.  Her loss, for sure.  We were both glad to escape and head on over to Dillons for a few groceries.

I was checking out the cantalopes and Aaron spied the artichokes.  He quickly grabbed one and loudly said, “Mom!  Remember these?”  He was so happy with his find that I just had to snap a picture and laugh with him at this most unusual vegetable that he has always loved.  Always, always, Aaron loves the unusual.  He IS unusual, so it fits!

Up another aisle, Aaron was once again amazed at his find.  Cactus in a jar!  Another exclamation and another picture, and something to talk about for the entire weekend.  His day group will no doubt hear all about it today, too.  Later, as I stood in an aisle visiting with a neighbor, Aaron was spying all the wonderful finds in the meat department.  I had one eye on him and one on my neighbor, who smiled as Aaron brought me some Brats to examine, another package of yet different brats, and then I heard, “Ewwwww!!”  Of course, he found a Leg of Lamb that really did look like a leg of a lamb…………..and this was indeed a great discovery of grossness to pick up and show us!

I leave with our church group today for camp, where I and my buddies will don our camp cook aprons.  I’ll miss Aaron and his enthusiasm.  I will not miss his whacks on the back or thumps on the head.  Last night as I told him goodbye and goodnight, and was closing his door, he said, “Goodnight Sweetie!”

That’s Aaron for you!

Talk, Talk, Talk……..and Whisper

Aaron bounded in the door today and saw me in the kitchen right away.  “Mom!  I ate two large buttered popcorns at the theater……and a Twizzlers……….and I have acid now!”  So started another “Aaron is home!” moment…………or a couple hours, actually.  He seemed even more talkative than usual today, if that’s even possible.  So many subjects……….so much to say……….and he doesn’t care how much time it takes.

He was very excited that one of his day program staff’s children came to his day group today, and that they brought their little dog.  At least I think the people that came were Barb’s children.  “Mom, Barb’s sister was at Paradigm today.  Or was it her child?”  I asked how old this person was and Aaron said she was young, or maybe a teenager, so I told Aaron that this girl must have been Barb’s daughter.  He continued to talk about the little dog and the daughter (I think), and then paused and asked, “So is she her child?  Or sister child?”  You know, Aaron’s family tree must have lots of twists and turns!  Where would you put a sister child?

I went to pay for some repairs on Gary’s truck, and then to go get Gary at work.  Aaron wanted to ride along………and talk……….talk………………  As we walked into the service center, I told Aaron to be quiet.  I walked up to the counter and one of the mechanics was on the phone, bent over at the counter talking and so of course didn’t acknowledge us.  Aaron stood there about 5 seconds, and then said, “Hey!”

Aaron!!  He’s on the phone!  I said to be quiet!

So Aaron decided that being quiet didn’t mean to not speak, but it meant that he could speak…………in a whisper.  He whispered, “Well, I was trying to get his attention.”  And I found myself whispering back, “He can’t talk to us when he’s on the phone.”  The manager came out then and waited on us, and as I was taking care of the bill, Aaron was still making his whispered comments.  “Mom,”  he said in his hushed tone, “those are some big tires on the wall.”

“Yes, they are,” I whispered back.  Good grief!  Why was I whispering, too?  I felt like we were in a library or a funeral home!  The manager smiled and I explained that I had told Aaron to be quiet and I paid as we had a nice normal, unwhispered conversation, and we left before Aaron tried to get anyone else’s attention.  He doesn’t have to work hard at that, believe me!

As we drove and as we waited on Gary later, Aaron had lots to tell me.  Remember how I talked about Aaron and his way of trying to figure out where people are from?  Today he said, “Mom, there’s a staff at Paradigm named Boo…..”  and Aaron proceeded to tell me something that Boo had said.  I was still back on that name.  I have no idea if that’s his name or how it’s spelled, but Aaron insisted that his name is Boo.  And of course Aaron had to add, speaking of Boo, “He’s a Spanish kind of way……….or Chinese, Korean, or Japanese.”

Oh brother……….here we go again!  I am not listening anymore!

He talked about our Great Dane not listening to him.  Aaron’s right……….Jackson doesn’t listen to or obey Aaron.  Much like me.  And Aaron said, “Is Jackson dumb?”  I reminded him that Jackson is certainly not dumb, and that I’ve told him not to say that he’s dumb.  I told Aaron that sometimes Jackson is stubborn, but not dumb.  So Aaron asked, “Well, is being stubborn a reason to say he’s dumb?”

Speaking of stubborn………….

This morning I told about how Aaron was talking about Gary living on a farm when he was young.  I don’t know what it is, but Aaron keeps going on and on about farms.  We were driving home and Aaron pointed up to a housing area.  “Mom, have you been in that neighborhood?  It’s a farm area!”

Well, look Aaron…………we’re home now!  See you later!  I need to finish supper.  Alone, I thought to myself.  Please let it be alone for at least a few minutes.  My head was full of all his chattering and whispering and questioning.  But my mouth had a smile, too, because with Aaron there is always something to learn or to laugh about or to understand or to see in a different way.

And the fun memory of turning our music up loud in the van and holding our hands up in the peace sign as we bounced to the music, with Aaron laughing and saying, “I hope there’s no policeman around!”

Me too, Aaron, me too.  I can only imagine what Aaron would tell him before I told him to whisper!

P.S.  Aaron just came downstairs to tell Gary about Barb’s family that came to Paradigm with the little dog.  He was once again struggling with the relationship.  “Mom!  They were Barb’s teenager children, right?  Or her brother and sister?”   Is there a Relatives 101 course I could enroll him in, I wonder?


Those Roosters!

Aaron has always been greatly interested in the fact that during part of Gary’s childhood, he lived in the country on a small farm.  They had a garden, of course…………nearly everyone did.  And they had some animals………some chickens, a few cows………you know, just a nice country setting in the mountains of North Carolina.  Every now and then, Aaron will talk once more about Dad living on a farm when he was young.  He wants to know what it was like, what animals they had, what did they grow, etc.  In fact, just the other night at supper he was talking about it once again.  He just really is fascinated with that aspect of Gary’s life.

This morning, Aaron was talking to me as I got ready and he said, “Mom, Dad lived on a farm when he was young, right?”

Yes, Aaron, he lived on a farm.

And he continued: “I told John at Paradigm that Dad was a farmer!”

I envisioned John thinking that Aaron’s Dad had been a farmer like a Kansas farmer, with thousands of acres.

So I reminded Aaron that it was a small farm, and he asked, “So what do SMALL farmers do?”

And I had to explain the difference in being a small farmer and being a big farmer, wondering all along why this subject holds so much interest for Aaron.  I guess he just can’t imagine his Dad hanging out with cows, or pigs, or chickens.

As if to prove my point, Aaron then asked, “Mom, did Dad have roosters?”

I said that yes, I am sure they had some roosters.

“Mom, you know what I don’t like about roosters?”

What don’t you like about roosters, Aaron?

“I don’t like the way they act in the mornings!”

I allowed myself a loud cackle at that statement!  So funny!  Aaron reminded me that Aunt Sandra’s neighbor has roosters and that they are TOO loud in the mornings!

So we need to see if before our next trip home, someone can straighten up those rooster’s morning behavior! Get on it, Sandra!