This morning Aaron had an eye exam, and then he and I went to lunch at Chili’s. I would like for you to join us for lunch as I try my best to re-create some of our conversation. Maybe it’s the warm weather and the beautiful sunshine, or the fact that he had a great and fast eye exam, or just the fun of eating out at one of his favorite places……..but Aaron was a pure delight during lunch. Sometimes his autism is in full force but in such a funny way that I just wish everyone could experience it like I do.
So here goes:
We were nearly at Chili’s when Aaron started talking about one of his staff that drives him home. Aaron has had to learn to understand her. She is very caring but is also very firm………stern, as Aaron says. Aaron mentioned that fact again and I re-affirmed to him that _____ is very nice. “Sometimes I don’t see it that way,” Aaron said.
As we entered Chili’s and were ushered to our booth, I had to urge Aaron to tone it down. He was pretty loud and I didn’t think anyone else needed to hear his exposition of his stern staff……or any of the other subjects Aaron wanted to loudly discuss as we sat down. I had to draw his attention away from ______ and get him to look at the menu, where he fairly quickly chose enchiladas…..because there was a picture. He greatly prefers to order food if he can see a picture of it first.
His salad came quickly and he promptly removed the croutons for me to eat. He likes for me to pour the dressing on, which I did. He wanted every bite of that dressing, though. “Mom, can we dig it out?” he asked. So I scraped and dug as much of the dressing out of the little holder as I could, and he was content.
I was looking at one of the servers and Aaron didn’t miss that fact. “Mom, are you looking at a person? You tell me not to stare.” OK, Aaron……OK.
Our bubbly server brought us our entrees and we were happily eating as Aaron talked on and on about black beans and what they are and has he had them before and do I have some at home and what have I cooked that contains black beans. The happy server bounced by and looked down at our food as she said, “Isn’t it scrumptious?”
“She’s strange,” Aaron said as she walked away. I asked him why he said that. “I don’t know what she said there,” he told me. So then we discussed what the word scrumptious means, even as I knew that the main reason Aaron thought she was strange was that she was cheery and talkative and very friendly…….all things that Aaron doesn’t relate to at all in other people. Like when the eye doctor walked in the room earlier and gave Aaron a big hello and a hand shake…..only to be met by no eye contact and a grunt from Aaron.
Soon Aaron was telling me about how his special friend, Rosie, often laughs at things that he says. “Rosie thinks I’m funny,” he said. “You are,” I replied.
“Even when I say that the food they’re cooking at Paradigm smells like poop?”
Uh, no Aaron……..not then.
Our server whizzed by again and made another peppy comment, and Aaron………under his breath, thankfully……..said, “OK, weirdo.” He then got fussed at by me, to which he replied, “But she’s strange.” And if Aaron thinks that a person is strange, then to him it is perfectly fine to mention that this person is a weirdo.
“But I wouldn’t tell her,” he clarified, as if that made it all right. “Don’t you tell her,” he said to me. I assured him that wasn’t going to happen and then I asked him why he thought she was a weirdo.
“The way she talks about food,” he explained. “Scrumptious. You don’t use that word.”
Well I know I won’t now, Aaron, because you’ll call me a weirdo!!
“Mom,” he went on, “you should try in the Olympics!”
“I should be in the Olympics?” I asked.
“Yes,” he answered. “That dance skating.” So I asked Aaron why on earth he thought I should be in the dance skating Olympics and he reminded me that I dance at the house. To which I reminded him that my dancing irritated him. And besides, I carefully told him, I’m a little hefty to be wearing those skating outfits. He said he still thought I should do dance skating, so I asked him if I would embarrass him as I tried to fit myself into that little outfit and did my irritating dance.
“No!” he affirmed. “I wouldn’t be watching TV! Dad would.”
He didn’t understand the depth of my laughter.
“So would you be my partner?” I asked him. “Would you lift me in the air?”
“No!” he said. “You said you were fat! But I won’t say it in public.”
Thanks, Aaron. I feel better.
More laughter from me made Aaron slightly grumpy, as I noticed when he started to kick me under the table. That was my cue that he now thought I was laughing AT him in a mean manner, which he really detests.
“Aaron,” I said, “I was laughing because you are so wonderfully funny. I was actually paying you a compliment.”
He looked at me cluelessly, so I asked him if he knew what I meant when I said that I was paying him a compliment.
“You’re giving me money?” he hopefully asked.
I knew it! Literal Aaron.
Soon he had finished every bite of his enchiladas and every black bean and every kernel of rice, as well as all of his water, so we got out of our booth. Aaron walked ahead of me, looking at every table on the way out so that he could see what all the people were eating. Many of them looked at him, too, but he didn’t care. And I didn’t, either.
Before leaving the house this morning, Aaron knew that I had called the endodontist and made an appointment for him to be checked for a possible root canal. He asked if the doctor would know what tooth it was and I told him yes, that it was on the referral as tooth #13.
On our way home from Chili’s, we stopped at the vet for some dog food. Aaron bounded in the door and soon spied the resident cat. Kato enjoyed the petting and Aaron enjoyed having Kato bite him playfully. Then Aaron turned to the girl who was ringing up our purchase and loudly proclaimed, “My number 13 tooth has dead nerves so they have to give it a root canal!!”
She laughed, and I think she gets Aaron because of her relaxed reaction. Out of the blue, with no reference point at all, Aaron for some reason had to give an update on his number 13 tooth. Perhaps it’s because he knows that the vet is a doctor and that a doctor will work on his tooth. Who knows?
That’s just it. With Aaron we sometimes don’t know and never will know. But I do know that he is funny and clever and just delightful on a day like today.
And I’ll take it! I think he’s an awesome partner!