The Green Pepper Gift

Earlier in the summer, when our garden was producing pleasant vegetables, I often had a variety of our produce on the kitchen counter.  Sometimes I would let Aaron take a few cucumbers or squash or peppers to some of the staff at his day group.  He especially liked giving these treats to Barb, one of the staff there with whom he has formed a close bond.  Barb is a mom herself, soft-spoken and kind, so Aaron responds well to her.  She is patient with Aaron, and even allows him to get on her computer……….so this has propelled Barb way up on Aaron’s list of favorite people.

It’s been awhile since we had any fresh produce to share, as our garden has become very unpleasant……..dried up and brown and ugly.  Therefore, yesterday I bought some cucumbers and some bell peppers at Aldi.  They were laying on the kitchen counter this morning, waiting for me to find a place for them in the frig.  Aaron and I were busy getting ready this morning.  He was more hyper than usual, bouncing from his movie that he was watching…… my room to talk to me……….to the kitchen to drink his coffee……..back up the stairs to talk to me some more………… his room……….

I knew that he had bagged up some of the croissants that he bought yesterday at Wal-Mart (Yes!  More croissants!), but as he got his shoes and socks on in the family room, I noticed an extra bag.  I asked him about it and he did NOT want me to look at it.  I asked him what was in the bag and he bristled.  Earlier he had been telling me about a character in his Star Wars game and he said, “Mom, she did a fuss with somebody!”

Well, Aaron did a fuss with me at that point!  I could tell that he might do a big fuss with me, but I insisted on knowing what was in the bag, so he sharply told me that he was taking Barb some…………green peppers.  Yes, green peppers………….that I had bought at Aldi………..all three of my new Aldi green peppers!  He had my green peppers in the bag for Barb.  I explained that these were not garden green peppers – that these were store bought green peppers – from the store – that I had paid for – that I needed – and that Barb probably did not need – my green peppers.

Aaron would have none of that.  For some reason, he really wanted Barb to have these peppers………really, really wanted Barb to have these peppers.  So out to the van we went, Aaron holding his bag of croissants………and the bag of green peppers………my green peppers………from the store……..that I had bought……

We were silent on the way to Quik-Trip to meet his group.  He knew that I was frustrated.  I knew that he and I would do a big fuss if I said much more.  As we drove, and listened to the Supremes, Aaron softened and tried to talk.  I remained mostly silent.  Finally, we pulled up to Quik Trip.  Aaron reached into the bag that had the green peppers………my green peppers……….and quickly broke the plastic wrap and pulled out one large, pretty pepper.

“Mom, can I take Barb just one pepper?” he asked as he opened the door to make his exit………..with the one green pepper……….my green pepper.  I mumbled a yes and he settled into Cody’s car, with his bag of croissants and his bag with the one green pepper.

We got through this episode without doing a big fuss, as Aaron would say.  And again I must weigh the pros and cons of Aaron taking this strange gift to Barb………..the green pepper gift…… green peppers from Aldi……..and I mentally scratch my head.  Who can know what prompted him to grab this unusual gift for his special friend?  How can I encourage his kindness and generosity but teach him wisdom………..about giving away our food.  What will it be next that he decides to stuff in a bag and give away?  I don’t mind giving people things at all………but Aaron will take freedoms with this that we never intended.  He always does.

And I imagine that Barb scratched her head as Aaron handed her the bag……….with a green pepper………….from Aldi.  Aaron said that she laughed.  I should probably call her and explain………and hide the cucumbers tonight.

Only For Rosie

I hope that all of you have read my former blog about Aaron and Rosie so that you will have some background about their special relationship.  Every now and then Aaron will still mention how someone teases them about being boyfriend/girlfriend.   We continue to encourage the friendship aspect of their relationship, and I feel sure that Rosie’s mother would agree.  It really is sweet to hear Aaron talk about her, though, because he always speaks of her with a kindness and a tenderness that he never offers to anyone else………..including me or Andrea, the other two very important females in Aaron’s life.  It’s not that Aaron is never tender or kind to us, but ongoing tenderness?  Nah!  Not with Aaron and his short fuse that we often light. 

Some of Aaron’s day group staff may correct me, but it doesn’t seem from what Aaron shares with us that he teases Rosie or gets frustrated with her like he does with his other friends there.  Lately, Aaron has given us further insights into his friendship with Rosie.  One day he matter-of-factly told me that he let Rosie wear his watch.  He wondered if I would mind him doing that, so I was careful as I talked to him to not make him get defensive.  I wanted to know more about this new kindness that Aaron was extending to Rosie without making him feel like it was something that I wouldn’t approve of or understand.  Over the next few days, from what I could gather, he explained that Rosie didn’t have a watch and that she wondered what it would feel like to wear one.  Therefore, Aaron said he let Rosie wear his watch in Wal-Mart.  Then he later said that he lets Rosie wear his watch every day at Paradigm when they’re not going anywhere but are at the office. 

“Mom, Rosie always gives it back.  Is that OK to let Rosie wear my watch?”   I told him that this was fine, all the while feeling like a mother with a 13 year old who is trying to maneuver this new world of male/female relationships…………what is acceptable and what is not?  Aaron gave Rosie all of our crayons………and markers…………and colored pencils.  I hope he’ll just let her borrow the watch and not eventually give it to her.  Maybe she can teach Aaron how to wear his watch on his wrist and not pushed halfway up his arm the way he does now!  Or maybe Rosie thinks that’s the correct way to wear a watch, so she has it pushed up her arm, too.  Who knows?

Check out the watch!
Today I noticed a bag on the kitchen table as we were getting ready to leave for Aaron’s group.  I peeked inside and saw three DVDs before Aaron took the bag away.  When I questioned him about it, he reluctantly said, “Those are for Rosie.”  As I asked him more questions, he told me that he had his three Shrek movies in the bag.  “Rosie doesn’t have them so I’m taking them to her.”  I broached the subject of Rosie returning the movies, but Aaron was through talking about it.  He doesn’t want to hear me say that she can’t borrow – or have – the movies.  I’ll need to address that later, but for now I let it drop.  He’s showing another kindness and I hesitate to discourage that.  We already tell him not to spend money on Rosie, yet we know he does.  There is a balance to this business of teaching kindness yet also being careful about the over-extension of it.  Aaron has always had a tendency to give people money and he has done just that with Rosie.  When we told him to stop giving her money, he did for awhile…………but then told us that he wasn’t giving Rosie money anymore – he was buying her things instead.  Oh Aaron.

Yesterday’s conversation, though, was the best.  Gary and I took Aaron with us out to eat.  We had a long wait for a table and then for our food.  Aaron occupied himself by cramming peanuts in his mouth as fast as he could shell them.  Finally, he burped – quietly – thankfully!  This reminded him of something to tell us………everything reminds Aaron of something to tell us.  He said, “Sometimes at Paradigm I kind of burp.”

I said, “Now Aaron, how do you KIND of burp?  You either burp or you don’t burp.” 

And knowing Aaron, it would be a very loud burp.  So Aaron laughed and agreed that he did indeed burp. 
Then he continued, “Rosie said to say excuse me.”

So did you say excuse me, Aaron?  And he said that yes, he did say excuse me.  This is very surprising.  I had to ask him………..Aaron, would you say excuse me for anyone else?

He replied, “No………only for Rosie.”

Only for Rosie.  That spoke volumes to Gary and me. 

Only for Rosie………..will he share his money, and share his Number 52 Slurpee, and share his popcorn, and share his watch, and share his crayons and markers and colored pencils and even a pencil sharpener, and share his DVDs. 

It truly is sweet to see this caring, sharing side of Aaron…………..even amidst the burps.  

Happy Labor’s Day!

Yes, as Aaron says – “Happy Labor’s Day!”  As always, he puts a different little twist on our familiar sayings.  I guess “labors” in the plural is really more appropriate, because we all certainly have more that one labor in our lives.  But a very special thank-you to those who work so hard every day to keep our nation moving and the gears turning in this great country.

Our travel plans for the weekend didn’t work out and so I’ve been fighting the blues.  A mother’s heart is always drawn to her children and when time with them doesn’t work out……….well, it just stinks.  But God has a bigger plan, which I well know, and so I move on.  And with Aaron, there is always something else to move on toward.  Life is not still with Aaron around!

I ran him down to Great Clips yesterday evening just before it closed.  Sure enough, there was no waiting.  This is the perfect arrangement for Aaron!  He immediately walked up to the counter and began removing his glasses………..then began to remove his ring…………until I stopped him.  Poor girls behind the register, with eyes big as they probably wondered what he was getting ready to remove next.  These girls, though, were happy and relaxed and understanding with Aaron as he plopped into the chair.  The one who cut Aaron’s hair went above and beyond, even shaving his cheeks and trimming his eyebrows.  He loved the extra attention!  I had to remind him, though, to quit talking while she trimmed his mustache.  He literally talks every minute that he is in that chair, so it was hard for him to be quiet.  And of course, can you guess what he talked about the most?  You win if you guessed…………..Battleship!!!!

I gave this sweet girl an extra tip and off we marched to Papa Murphy’s for a pizza for supper.  Aaron loves the pizza there………..but doesn’t care for the dinging of the door each time it opens………..and the way it dings even when it’s not opening.  “Would someone tell that door to stop dinging??!!”  Aaron doesn’t like broken dinging doors…….I don’t like the extra stares……….so I was glad to take our pizza and leave!  Aaron helped me throw newspapers in the recycle bin on our way home.  Of course, he quit suddenly to walk over to something his eagle eyes had spotted nearby…………that I had totally missed.  It was a small, bright  squeeze ball that he picked up over my protests and that I made him discard.  His room would be totally full of that kind of junk if he had his way.

This morning, I heard his floor creaking and his bedroom door opening……….then he thumped downstairs to where I was sitting.  “I woke up now,” he informed me.  Really, Aaron?  He immediately wanted to know if I would plug his keyboard in while he showered, and so forth and so on as he finally got up to take his pills.  As he said one day, “Mom, I’ve taken my pills and dranken my water!”

I heard him in the shower, happily and loudly singing as he often does.  Today it was his funny made-up song that consisted of   “A pom-pom-pom and a bee-bee-bee!”  Over and over and over he sang his song……..the pom-pom-pom in a higher pitch than the lower bee-bee-bee.  I hoped he was washing as well as he was singing!  He likes his current body wash………the one that he one day breathlessly told me, “Mom!  My shampoo has confetti in it!!”  Only Aaron.

He’s busy in his mulch right now.  The day is before us.  Maybe a little shopping, maybe eating out, maybe not.  Aaron will certainly be using his keyboard as much as possible, and if we open the car door to go anywhere then he will certainly be there to jump in and go with us.  Unless it’s clothes shopping………..Aaron doesn’t do clothes shopping.

And as for laboring on this Labor’s Day, he will labor as little as possible, too. Same for Gary and I, I do believe.

So Happy Labor’s Day, everybody!  Enjoy time with your family, doing what you love.  We plan to do just that!

Battleship and Blood Pressure

Aaron has been counting down the weeks and then the days until his latest mega-movie was out on DVD.  He usually googles a favorite movie on the very day he gets home from seeing it on the big screen in order to find out when it’s coming out on DVD.  Why do producers wait so long to put a movie on DVD?  They must not have an Aaron, who begins the countdown the minute that he gets that info from the internet.  He reminds Gary and I repeatedly about when the movie will be in the stores, so that when it does become available we are worn down and ready to just buy the movie so that Aaron will be quiet.  Another instance of throwing the parenting books out the window, which we did long ago.

Anyway, we were hoping to make a road trip this weekend and take Aaron with us, so the key to getting Aaron to go on this unexpected trip was to employ the Battleship movie as an incentive to sit in the van for hours of riding.  Well, the trip didn’t work out and so my plans backfired.  This is why you would have found me last night sitting in our family room watching Battleship with Aaron.  I promised him that I would do this, so it was best to fulfill that promise as soon as possible in order to have a peaceful weekend.  Well, sort of.  First I had to endure endless previews of the movie before we watched it and now it’s endless reviews of the movie after we watched it.

Battleship is a decent movie and is most assuredly a far better movie than Sharktopus or that awful Vortex movie (the German movie dubbed in English that didn’t match the actor’s mouth movements and was incredibly dumb……REMEMBER??!!).  We settled in for our movie, with Aaron in his usual chair with his usual multiple snacks with his usual multiple bowls for the multiple snacks with his usual water bottle nearby and his usual blanket and his usual stolen remote control so that HE can control the sound.  He was all settled, so I thought, and then he popped out of his chair again so that he could go get his usual napkins that he forgot……….so the entire usual process of his settling-in began again.  All that wiggling!  He was like a worm on a hot rock!!

Finally it was time to start the movie.  “Mom, there are eight things before the movie starts so you can skip over those.”  Aaron means that there are eight movie reviews before the movie starts.  He knows this because he has already been sneaking peeks at his new DVD and has memorized these important elements.  So I skipped those eight things and came to where the movie was to start, but before I hit “Play” we had to watch this exciting preview of Battleship……….because Aaron ALWAYS watches this part of the DVD……….over and over and over.  Thankfully, we just watched it once and then it was time to endure…..I mean, watch…….our Battleship mega movie.

Aaron immediately had questions about this and that in the movie.  I reminded him that he had already seen the movie and I had not, so he should know the answers………….and he reminded me that it was back in May that he had seen the movie……… he had forgotten.  I doubt that.  We watched a few minutes and then Aaron said, “Oh Mom!  This is near the part where he gets zapped!”  

Don’t tell me that, Aaron!  I want to be surprised!  Besides, how do you remember that if it was SO long ago that you watched it?

Aaron can’t be quiet for long and soon he had more questions, which prompted me to remind him that he had seen the movie before.  He replied, “Mom, stop saying that!  I haven’t seen it since May 2012!!” 
Aaron continued to give me movie insights as the movie progressed, and to ask many questions………….such as, “Do you want him to be the senior officer?    I wouldn’t!  He’s quite clumsy!”  Really?  I thought the whole movie was becoming quite clumsy and quite corny and very definitely quite unbelievable………..just like Aaron loves his movies to be!  And between the screeching of metal and explosions and alien ships and battleships and fighting and way too much drama……….and Aaron’s clapping and yelling and input and questions………….I was exhausted.  Plus I truly think this whole event raised my blood pressure.  I was scared to check it, hoping that a good night’s sleep was awaiting me where my body would return to normal. 

For Aaron, though, the ending of a movie is just another beginning.  Now he has the freedom to talk and talk and talk about every aspect of the movie that is imprinted on that brain of his.  And so it started, as he cleaned up his napkins and his bowls and his water and his snacks………..and asked me to put the movie in the case and slip the case in the box, because the case always goes in the box………the endless questions and comments were just beginning. 

How did the missile from the plane kill them?  Why did they have knives in their hands?  Were the Martians on the mountain arming missiles or something?  Could they talk?  Why did the sun hurt their eyes?  Were they trying to call in other Martians? 

This did not help my blood pressure.  This did not help my tired, over-stimulated brain.    I have discovered that “I don’t know” is an answer that he easily accepts, yet keeps him moving right on to the next question. 

I slept well.  This morning Aaron lumbered downstairs to inform me that he had also slept well.  Within 60 seconds, as expected, he launched in to more movie commentary and questions.  As I fixed breakfast and as we ate, it continued.
Are the Martians strong or half-strong?  Are the Martians dumb?  The Martians didn’t even care about his fake legs.  How come they can’t tell metal on a person?  I just wondered what’s so different.  You know what I thought was so dumb?  They didn’t kill all the people! 

We prayed over our breakfast and as we looked up he didn’t miss a beat.  Oh Mom, did you know that Martians can suck up human electricity?  You know that fish ship can suck up electricity?  I like their legs.  They’re skinny.  It’s neat how you could see the inside of the Martian ship.  That guy was dumb because that one Navy said this wasn’t a good idea but he did it anyway – he woke the Martians up.  That ship looked like a fish.  It jumped out of the ocean.  Fish do that, right?  How come they wanted an X-ray computer vision mind?  I like how the aliens talk – they don’t really talk.

Whew!  Aaron finally went outside to relax in the mulch as he loves to do.   I took a deep breath and tried to clear my mind.  Now I’m thinking of his last comment:  “I like how aliens talk – they don’t really talk.”

This confirms what I have suspected about our Aaron all along…………he is not an alien.  He may be very different, but he is not an alien.  Maybe one day I’ll have the answer.