Aaron has just recovered from a nasty virus. It was nasty in more ways than one. He felt terrible. He had a stuffy head. He had a sore throat. He ran a fever. He had some seizures. All of this is definitely nasty. But there is another level of nasty with Aaron when he has a cold……a level that I have written about in the past.
Aaron would not blow his nose. We’re not totally sure why he won’t blow his nose, but he just refuses. Therefore, as I wrote before, Aaron snorts. It’s very disgusting and annoying. Nasty. For me, for Gary, and for anyone else within hearing distance.
I told Aaron over and over how much better he would feel if he blew his nose. I finally resorted to telling Aaron over and over how much better his dad and I would feel if he blew his nose. Aaron wasn’t particularly interested in how we felt, however, so the snorting continued. He wasn’t even interested in the fact that blowing would help HIM feel better.
Until finally, one day, my words got through to Aaron’s stuffed up head. He blew his nose. He actually, for real, blew his nose. I praised and praised him as if he was a small child who had just gone potty for the first time. He looked at me as if I was an irritating gnat, so I backed off the vibrant praise and tried to be very flat and factual, which Aaron much prefers.
“Good job, Aaron,” I said with a level voice. “Doesn’t that feel better?”
“Yeah,” he said as he walked away.
The next time he blew his nose, I asked to see the Kleenex. He knew then that I had surely lost my mind, but I told him that the color of the mucus could tell us if he had an infection.
Sorry for being gross.
But Aaron held out the Kleenex very gingerly and I peeked at it, made a comment…..we don’t need details……and off Aaron went.
Aaron marked that information down, though, as a way to keep reminding us that he wasn’t feeling well. When he’s sick, we hear over and over the same four word comment from him: “I’m not feeling well.”
“Mom!” he said soon after the mucus color test. “I blew my nose and it was GREEN!! That’s how I’m not feeling well!”
I wanted to tell him that’s how I’M not feeling well now!
I heard a lot from that point on about green nose stuff. We were still in a nasty mode, but at least it was in a Kleenex now.
Speaking of……Aaron did with his nose blowing what he does with everything in his life. He developed his own way of doing this task.
He had to have a box of Kleenex with him at all times. Not a few Kleenex, but a box. A box at his desk. A box on the end table beside his TV chair. A box on the kitchen table while we played Skip-Bo. A box on the nightstand beside his bed at night.
And not only a box of Kleenex. He also had to have a trash can in which to place the dirty Kleenexes after blowing. And not just any trash can. It had to be his trash can from his room. His trash can beside his desk. His trash can beside his TV chair. His trash can beside the kitchen table while we played Skip-Bo. His trash can beside his bed at night.
When he finally felt better and was able to return to his day group, he was still needing to blow his nose. By now his nose blowing was routine for him, but also done in just his routine way. So he told me that he needed to take a box of Kleenex with him to Paradigm on his first morning back. I agreed, and Aaron was very happy about that, as you can see.
He marched into Paradigm that morning, box of Kleenex in tow, ready to start his new week.
“Barb!” he said as he barged into her office. “I’m blowing my nose! I brought a box of Kleenex!”
Barb laughed and I explained. She knows Aaron well enough to understand that this was a big moment for him, and to not question the box of Kleenex.
I was just thankful that Aaron didn’t insist on taking his trash can!
Aaron has blown and blown and blown this past week. We hope his nose blowing hang ups are a thing of the past. We definitely hope that his snorting is a thing of the past!!
And once again we just watch as Aaron decides to own something like this…..and to really make it his own, in the unique way that totally suits him.
Gary and I are once again along for the ride, shaking our heads and laughing when Aaron can’t see or hear us. Even something as mundane as nose blowing becomes a picture of just how unique Aaron is.
Pass the Kleenex.