The Jail Shirts

I got Aaron a new shirt a couple weeks ago.  He doesn’t like shirts that are too decorative unless it’s something he’s particularly interested in, such as a Star Wars shirt.  Most of the time he wears solid colored shirts, and I have to be sure that there is not much of a collar……if any……because that irritates him.  And if it’s long sleeved, it must have cuffs that will keep the sleeves in place and not drooping down around his hands.  There can’t be an itchy tag, either.  Buying even a simple shirt for Aaron takes thought, for sure!

The new shirt that I bought for Aaron is a blue and orange striped shirt.  It’s short sleeved, so that’s not an issue, and there is no scratchy tag.  Those stripes, though……I wasn’t sure how that would go over with him.  That evening I showed it to him and he immediately took one look at it and blandly said, “Looks like a jail shirt.”  He walked away, and that was that.

I laughed, and knew that I should have expected that flat reaction from Aaron.  He always says that football or basketball referees look like they are wearing jail clothes because of their striped shirts.  And I really know better than to ever expect an enthusiastic, “I love that shirt, Mom!” from Aaron.  I might faint if he did that!

I went back to Penny’s several days later, more coupons in hand, and bought some long sleeved shirts for Aaron…….with cuffs.  No collars.  No tags.  And two of them have stripes, with one having those bolder stripes like the jail shirt I got him.  It’s a different color, though, but still…….stripes. 

This past Friday was a cool day, so I pulled out the new striped long sleeved shirt for Aaron to wear with his jeans.  Of course, he didn’t miss a beat when he saw it.   “I don’t want to wear that shirt that looks like I came out of jail,” he flatly said. 

But wear it he did.  He just had to make sure that I knew he was feeling once again like an inmate.  He wore it to Great Clips as he got a haircut on his way to meet his day group. 

He wore it all day at his group, and to the movies.  And he wore it to Wendy’s that evening as Gary and I took him out to eat as his reward for having a good week and participating in his group’s activities.  He wore it as we took Jackson on a walk around our circle when we got home.  He was happy and made no more comments about wearing a jail shirt.

He changed into his pajamas after our walk, and settled in for an evening of rotating between his computer upstairs and our television downstairs.  I was on the phone with Sandra, Gary’s sister, when I heard Aaron quietly trying to get a snack in the kitchen.  I had already told him that he didn’t need to snack all evening after such a big supper.

Later, when I was off the phone, I went into the family room where he was sitting in his favorite chair watching his program that he had taped…….with his favorite blanket over his lap and his peanut bag and his peanut shell bowl also on his lap.  I sat on the couch and all was quiet for a minute.  Then Aaron spoke.

“Mom?” he said.  “I have to tell you the truth.”

I looked over at him and there he sat, with his head down on his hand, as if the weight of the world was now on his shoulders.  I imagined the worst.  He had done something bad at Paradigm.  Said something or taken something or bought something or given away something……..the possibilities are many, trust me.

It was a pretty serious moment, and I was silent, dreading what was to come.  Our evening had been so pleasant.  Now what were we going to have to deal with? 

I waited.  Aaron deeply sighed.

I waited.  Aaron shook his lowered head that rested on his hand.

I waited.  Aaron sighed again.

Good grief!  Enough with the drama!  Just tell me, Aaron!!

But I was quiet……and still I waited.

Then he looked up and I braced myself for what was to come. 

“I took four ice cream bars,” he calmly told me.

I was nearly giddy with relief, but I did not let Aaron know that.  But all those awful possibilities, and even worse, had vanished.

It was just four ice cream bars from our freezer.   Yippee!!

“So Aaron, how many of the bars did you eat?” I asked as I stifled my smile.

“Three,” he answered.  No more info.

“Soooo,” I queried, “where is the other one?”

“In there,” he said as he pointed down to the cabinet door in the end table beside him.

Ahhh.  Had he heard me walking toward the family room and quickly hidden the ice cream bar?  And then I sat down and he knew the bar would melt……and he was in a mess, in more ways than one.  I took the still intact bar back to the freezer, and then Aaron and I had a discussion about deception and hiding things and disobedience…….and overeating.

All was well then.  Aaron was sorry, and I was greatly relieved that the infraction was only four ice cream bars secretly taken.

But I did think that it was very appropriate that he had worn his striped jail shirt that day……..being the thief that he is. 


What’s in a Kiss?!

Before I write this blog, I need to give a little background on two issues with Aaron.  First, Aaron has a very special friend at Paradigm named Rosie.  I wrote several blogs about Aaron and Rosie, and how Aaron was (and is) so happy about their friendship.  Yet he also had to figure out the boyfriend/girlfriend thing, so we had many discussions about that topic.  It’s been so sweet and so interesting.  I believe that Aaron understands that he and Rosie are good friends, and that their relationship doesn’t have to be anything beyond that.

Aaron and Rosie
Here are three links to blogs about Aaron and Rosie.

The other issue to mention is how Aaron views the delicate word……sex.  He knows there’s something about that word.  He has asked us, even recently, if the word “sex” is a bad word.  We have told him that it is not a bad word at all. 

“Then is sexy a bad word?” he asked.  And we assure him that “sexy” is not a bad word.  We have given him as much information as we think he needs, which is very minimal.  He never speaks of girls as being sexy or pretty.  He doesn’t turn to look at girls in a store or on television, but he does know that some things are inappropriate.  Like one night when a commercial came on with scantily clad girls and Aaron said, “That’s not good for me, is it Mom?” 

Now when we watch Wheel of Fortune and Aaron sees a couple hug or kiss, he softly says, in his monotone voice, “Sexy.”  If a contestant hugs Pat because they won a trip, Aaron once again says, “Sexy.”  Basically anytime he sees two people hug or kiss, I know that I’ll hear that deep, monotone voice very matter-of-factly say, “Sexy.”  It’s really funny, but I know better than to make a big deal out of it. 

So why am I writing all this?  Well, there is a client at Paradigm that Aaron has known for a long time.  I will call her Jane, though that is not her real name.  Jane is 10 years older than Aaron, and is very caring and kind.  Lately she has been extra attentive and nice to Aaron.  She more or less mothers him in many respects, helping him on days that he is sad or angry.  Aaron has had some struggles over the past few months, so Jane has been there with encouraging words and assurances of her friendship.  She is higher functioning than Aaron, so that along with being older has made her a nurturing friend to Aaron.

Aaron thinks that a huge part of his being a friend to someone involves him giving that person things.  He gave Rosie all the crayons in our house over a period of time because Rosie loves crayons.  He loves to bring Rosie snacks and drinks and pictures that we sometimes print from the computer.  And money.  Aaron has given away money many times, not only to Rosie but to other friends at Paradigm as well. 

So lately Aaron has been buying things for Jane with some of his spending money while they’re at Paradigm.  Their deepening friendship has prompted Aaron’s giving spirit to be aimed now at Jane.  One day I let Aaron buy two Gatorade’s at Dillon’s on our way to meet his group.   When he got to Paradigm and handed one of the drinks to Jane, she was so happy that she leaned over and gave Aaron a kiss on the cheek.

Just a little kiss…….but oh, it was not little to Aaron.  It became THE kiss, and quite a topic of conversation when Aaron burst in the door that evening.

“Mom!  I gave Jane a Gatorade and do you know what she did?”

He waited for me to say that I did not know what she did.

And breathlessly……really……he continued, “She KISSED me on the cheek!!”

I assured him that Jane was just being nice……that it didn’t mean anything.

Aaron was not so sure.

“When Jane kissed me, she made me think I’m being sexy.”

Oh dear.

I again said with fake confidence that I was positive that Jane was just being nice………a friendly kind of nice, you know.

Good grief.  How do I explain this?

“So I’m not being sexy?”  Aaron asked.

No, Aaron.  You’re not being sexy.   Jane was just very happy about her drink and she was thanking you.  She’s just sweet that way.

Deep breath.

Well, days passed……..and every single day, Aaron has talked about Jane and how nice she is to him.  I’ve talked to Barb at Paradigm, and I understand that Jane is older and wiser than Aaron…… a good way, HaHa!  And we are sure that Jane is simply being motherly and kind to Aaron.   

On the way to Paradigm yesterday, Aaron started talking once again about Jane…….and THE kiss. 

“Mom, I just wonder……….do I HAVE to be her boyfriend?”

That’s more like the Aaron we know.  Deep sigh of relief………I hope.

No, Aaron, you do not HAVE to be Jane’s boyfriend.  She just wants to be friends and so you don’t need to worry.

This statement seemed to please Aaron.  I’m not totally sure yet, but I think Aaron really just wants to be friends as well.  All this boyfriend stuff is too complicated and confusing to Aaron, it seems. 

At least I hope that’s the case. 

Aaron being sexy?

Oh dear is putting it mildly!