The Waiting Game

It all started a few weeks ago with a commercial that Aaron and I saw on television during Wheel of Fortune. There was Ronnie Milsap, playing a piano as he sang one of his signature songs. For some reason, Aaron was captivated. Maybe I made a comment about Milsap. I don’t really remember, but from that point Aaron was on a mission. His mission, that he gladly accepted, was to find a Ronnie Milsap CD. Of course, Ronnie Milsap CDs are virtually impossible to find on store shelves. We did find the Ronnie Milsap insert at Wal-Mart that showed where some CDs used to be, but none were to be found. This discovery just further fueled Aaron’s desire to find some Milsap music, but several stores and phone calls later found us empty handed.

Aaron knows that when one is empty handed, there is always…..AMAZON.COM!!!! His answer to every fruitless search on the planet is found….in his opinion…..at this amazing Amazon place. And Aaron, knowing that Mom was weakening in her search, knew something else. He knew that one should strike the iron while it’s hot, and that if Mom was on the amazing Amazon for one item, she might…..just might…..order two items while she’s at it. Or even THREE!!!

So Aaron used his very favorite internet tool…..GOOGLE. And on Google he found an epic disaster movie that he decided he could not live without.

10.0 EARTHQUAKE!!!!! Predictable story line…..cheesy acting…..unknown actors……painfully unbelievable….

In other words, the perfect movie in Aaron’s professional opinion. And trust me, he knows ALL about terrible B disaster movies.

So this past Tuesday, Aaron hovered behind my chair as I ordered The Essential Ronnie Milsap CD……10.0 Earthquake……and The Essential Charlie Daniel’s Band just for fun.

Aaron’s hounding and hovering surely paid off, he was thinking.

And then it began. The countdown, all too familiar to me. And a big reason that I really wanted to find Ronnie Milsap in a store, where I could buy the CD outright without the wait.

I had barely gotten out of my chair after placing the Amazon order when it began.

“Mom, when will it come?” Aaron asked.

“It’ll be a few days, Aaron,” I answered.

“So when will it get here?” he continued.

Oh dear. I was thinking that paying the whopping postage charges for overnight shipping might have been worth it. I didn’t want to tell Aaron that Amazon had said 4 – 6 days. Why not? Because then Aaron would want to know which it would be. Four days? Or six days? If four days, then that would mean Saturday. If 6 days, then that would mean Monday. We would be in constant uncertainty as he tried to nail down the four or six day business. Nope. So I made a decision at his next inquiry, which was soon in coming when I didn’t answer the previous one.

“Mom, how long will it take?” he queried.

I told him it might take a week. That’s a nice solid guess.

“A week?” he confirmed.

He thought for a few seconds.

“So……next Tuesday?” he asked.

“Maybe,” was all I would venture.

“So if it doesn’t come on Tuesday, then you lied?” he continued.

There is no winning in this waiting game with literal Aaron.

There were more questions that day, and the next.

Will it come in a box?

Will it come to the front porch?

Will it come to the mailbox?

We were 24 hours into the amazing waiting game from our amazing Amazon order, and I was already exhausted from Aaron’s desire for definitive answers.

On Thursday morning, Aaron was up before 6:00. I was NOT ready for that! And I was really NOT ready for this, the first words out of Aaron’s mouth as he stood in the kitchen.

“Mom, you said it might come in a week?” he asked.

“Yes, Aaron, it might come in a week, but we’re not sure,” I answered.

“Why might it come in a week or not in a week?” he wanted to know.

Here, Aaron. Drink your coffee and get back with me later.

On Friday, it went like this: “Mom, I think my video will come on the 15th.”

“What day is that?” I asked him.

“It’s another Tuesday,” he told me.

Tuesday to Tuesday is a week, and Aaron was hanging on to that hope.

Saturday: “Mom, what time does the mail come?”

AHHHHHH!!! With another nebulous answer, Aaron just walked away in disgust.

He stood at the window later in the afternoon, eyes hopeful as he watched Gary remove the envelopes from our mailbox. Was that a package that Gary removed?

Yes! YES!!!! Dad had a package. Could it be?

I was thinking it BETTER be!!!

And yes, finally Aaron held his long awaited amazing Amazon package! He was all smiles…..but no more so than me! Inside was Charlie Daniels, Ronnie Milsap, AND 10.0 Earthquake!!!!

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Aaron asked if we could listen to Ronnie Milsap later while I fixed supper. I agreed. He stood in the kitchen for a song or two, but before I knew it he had gotten a dining room chair and perched himself in it as he listened.

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He was pretty cute sitting there happy as a lark, listening to every word of every song. He kept the CD holder close by, and at the end of each song he would look to see what the next song was.

“Mom, Smokey Mountain Rain is the next song!” he would announce, rubbing his hands together in delight.

Ronnie Milsap continued to croon during supper, with Aaron trying to hear every word and every note.

Of course, I watched the stellar Earthquake 10.0 movie with Aaron later. It was as awful as I knew it would be. Aaron yelled and clapped and had a great time. I endured.

“Mom!” he said at one point. “Your face doesn’t look like you like this movie!”

Sometimes his powers of observation are very acute. So I worked hard to rearrange my face and act interested. Aaron kept turning his head in my direction, matching the look on my face with my level of interest. 87 minutes. I was a far better actor than any of those unknowns on the screen, let me tell you. 87 minutes of fake interest should earn me an Oscar!

Well. Things should be a little more settled down here. The amazing Amazon package arrived….and in LESS than a week! We have fun new music to listen to, and I already checked off watching another lame movie so I don’t have to hear Aaron ask me every day about when I’m going to watch it with him.

Tomorrow Aaron has a doctor appointment in the afternoon. I will go to my Bible study in the morning, then come home to pick him up for our usual “Doctor Day Lunch Out.” I can hear it now.

“Mom, when will you go to Bible Study?”

“Mom, when will you be home?”

“Mom, where do you want to go eat?”

“Mom, what time is my doctor appointment?”

“Mom, what time did you say you’ll be home?”

“Mom, what time are we going to lunch?”

Another day…..another chance to enter Aaron’s world and to hope he can tolerate mine as well.

 

Laughter, Fussing, and Frowning

Aaron came into the kitchen early this morning, before Gary left for work, and the very first words out of his mouth…..the. very. first. ……..were, “Mom, so you’re saying that War of the Worlds was an old movie?  It was an old movie that had been made before?”  It was as if he was continuing a conversation that we had left three minutes ago, instead of nine hours ago, when he was going to bed.  I had to chuckle, which was better than crying.  You see, all weekend Gary and I endured endless discussions about War of the Worlds…..and Terminator.  Take your pick.  We were completely saturated with both movies, to the point that several times during the weekend we had to tell Aaron, “Enough!”  No more talking of these movies for the foreseeable future…..which wasn’t nearly long enough, in Aaron’s book……and so we would soon find ourselves once again immersed in movie discussions. 

Thankfully, Aaron moved right on to his next topic of interest.  “Mom, I woke up at 5:00!!”  Of course, I asked him why as he stood there staring at me waiting for me to ask him why….and he continued.  “The covers on the right side of my bed were not normal.  They were not like the covers on the left side.”  He again stared at me as he waited for yet another response, so I gave him another response by asking him why the covers were not normal and he gladly answered.  “The covers on the right side were ALL the way out!!  The covers on the left weren’t all the way out.”  So this is what I heard on the monitor at 5:00 this morning.  Aaron cannot tolerate abnormal covers on his bed, so he was up and about re-adjusting the covers so that the right matched the left.  And I laughed at Aaron’s description of his early morning effort to normalize his bed, and he was quite proud that he had made mom laugh, though he didn’t understand…..or care to understand….why.

Soon Gary was down, putting on his coat to leave for work, and Aaron immediately launched into his War of the Worlds observation.  Gary was still saturated by two and half days of movie talk, so he answered Aaron’s question that he had just asked with a little humor……which Aaron did not appreciate.  Aaron knew we were tired of movie talk, and he interpreted Gary’s humor as being insulting…..and so Aaron in turn insulted Gary……and we in turn fussed at Aaron…..and our day was off and running in typical fashion.  Laughing one second…..frowning and fussing the next. 

These ups and downs are true for all parents.  It seems more exaggerated with Aaron, at least to us, because of his age and his persistence.  He is not easily deterred from the paths of conversation that he sets out on, or the paths of behaviors.  We so wish we could detour him from some of the things he says and the actions he takes.  I wish this every time I read another incident report from Paradigm, where Aaron has taken the path of anger and rudeness.  He gets in so much trouble when he is trying to “tease” someone, or when something or someone sets him off. 

But then he can be so hilarious sometimes, and so endearing.  This weekend, he was very exhausting with all his movie talk…..following us around the house as he talked, or finding us downstairs watching football.  But then he would come out with something that made us laugh.  Like the football games, which he observes in his unique Aaron way:

          “So who are you guys voting for?”

          “Does the team you’re voting for have the most points?”

          “Does that football player have a pacifier in his mouth!!?”  (It was the

          mouth guard.  HaHaHa!!!)

          “I bet the man who taught the Carolina Panthers is not very happy that they only
          have 17!”
 
His humorous comments were like a breath of fresh air…..a wonderful break from War of the Worlds or Terminator.  When Aaron and I played Skip-Bo last night, I had to once again forbid any further movie talk.  We listened to Disney music on Pandora, and Aaron had fun trying to guess what movie the songs were from.  He would cock his head to the side in deep thought, and I knew he was re-living those old movies.  I enjoyed his reactions, and I relished another movie reprieve.  We had two games of peace, and then the second it was all over, he launched into more movie talk.  NO!!!!

We went to McDonalds for lunch yesterday, and again urged him to think of other things to talk about.  He was mostly quiet as he ate all of his burger first, and then tackled his French fries.  He will only eat one food item at a time.  He methodically ate every French fry, one at a time, by dipping them slowly in his very, very full ketchup cup and then taking a bite……dipping slowly again and taking a bite…..over and over.  At least it kept him busy and not talking about movies.  And then he spied a little girl looking at him and he stared back.  I was nervous.  Would he stick out his tongue or be nice?  We never know.  But he smiled at her and then said, “I was smiling towards the little kid.”  I was relieved at his sweetness, wishing it could always be the case with Aaron.

Last night as we watched the Broncos losing the football game, we heard Aaron’s loud thumping down the stairs.  Gary and I both commented about it, how soon it was that Aaron had just been downstairs to talk more about movies and here he was coming down again.  It’s wearying, really.  Aaron bounded in the room and stood between our chairs, looking down at me as I sat there looking up at him…..waiting with dread for his latest movie verbal digest once again.  But this time, Aaron wanted to hand me his nearly empty bag of Skittles…..the bag that he had been eating out of all weekend.  In the bottom of the bag were several remaining Skittles.

“Here!” Aaron said as he held the bad toward me.  “You can have the rest of these, Mom.”  I thanked him but told him that I really didn’t want them right now, and that he should eat the last Skittles.

“No!” he insisted.  “I want you to have them.”  And with that, he put his hand in the bag and dug out the few remaining candies.  He put his hand toward me and I held my hand out, receiving his gift.  I really don’t enjoy eating something that Aaron has fingered as much as he had those Skittles…..because I just don’t know where Aaron’s hands and fingers have been, honestly.  But God has blessed me with a strong immune system, so I took the Skittles, hiding from Aaron my hesitation. 

I laid them on the table beside me, and Aaron picked up a couple of the orange ones because they look green to his color blind eyes…..and he wanted to show Gary the new green apple ones……but he realized they were orange, so he put them back in my little pile.  More handling, I thought.  But while he stood there watching me, I picked them up and ate them.  This made Aaron happy.  He wanted to share with me his special candy, and he knows that Gary doesn’t eat candy, so I was the recipient of every single Skittles…..germs and all.

And today I’m alive to tell about it.  I don’t even have a sniffle or an upset stomach.  But I have the memory of Aaron’s sweet sharing.  He shares with us in so many ways, in many different colors and flavors, his life and his take on it.  Like I said earlier, we can be laughing one minute, and then frowning and fussing the next.  There are so many ways we wish that we could change our big, loud, rough Aaron.  But then there are many ways that we wouldn’t change a thing about our kind, sharing, funny Aaron. 

Yet he comes as a package, as all children do, and we know that we have to love all of him.  We DO love all of him.  We cherish the positive and we work on the negative.  We ask God for wisdom, and we ask others for forgiveness or understanding when they are affected by Aaron’s behaviors.  We share life with Aaron, usually Aaron’s way.

Laughter, fussing, frowning…..germs and all.  It’s worth every part….every color.

Exodus: They Didn’t Do It the Right Way!

Aaron has been very excited over the past few weeks to see the movie trailers for the new Moses movie – Exodus: Gods and Kings.  The movie meets several important criteria in order to stir Aaron’s interest:  Loud…..large…..loaded with exciting scenes……for starters.  Now, we’ve told Aaron over the years that most movies based on the Bible are not accurate.  He thinks, then, that we mean those movies are bad.  So we’ve had long discussions……..looooonnngg discussions……with him over this issue.  We have told him that we just need to be discerning and wise, and don’t take the movie as being totally true.  Just pay attention to the details.

Well, Aaron did just that this past Friday when his day group went to see the new Exodus movie.   He charged through the door at the end of his day, finding me right there nearby as I folded some laundry. 

“MOM!!” he yelled as if I was way out in the back yard instead of just a few feet away.  “We went to see Exodus:  Gods and Kings!!” 

 
And with that, he bent over and began rubbing his hands together rapidly…..a true sign of great excitement.  And I asked a silly question.  I asked Aaron if he liked the movie.  Duh.

“YES!!” he yelled again, his hands producing great friction at this point. 

And then he paused, and his hands became still.  I continued folding laundry as I waited for the next shoe to drop……although Aaron would think I was weird for saying that because he was not holding a pair of shoes.  Literal Aaron, you know.

So in a much softer voice, Aaron continued.  “Well, that movie wasn’t all the way right.”  I asked how it wasn’t right.  “Well,” he said….(he likes using the word ‘well’ ), “it just didn’t always do things the way the Bible says.”

When I asked for an example, he became more animated as he said, “Well, in the burning bush in the movie, God was a little child.  The Bible doesn’t say that God showed up as a little child.”

I agreed with his assessment about the burning bush, and we talked about how God spoke out of the burning bush.

Aaron continued.  “And Aaron didn’t act rude like he did in the Bible!”

Rude?  So my Aaron explained, “You know how Aaron acted rude when Moses came down from the mountain?”

Oh yes, rude……as in building the golden calf?

“Yes!!” Aaron……my Aaron……agreed.  He said the movie didn’t show Aaron being rude.  In fact, my Aaron said that the Bible Aaron wasn’t even in the Exodus movie.   I don’t know…..I haven’t seen the movie.  I only know what Aaron said……my Aaron. 

Later, at supper, Andrea called and right away Aaron just had to tell her about the movie he saw.  It wasn’t long before Andrea, Gary, and I were all in stitches as Aaron told her about the Exodus movie and how wrong it was.  “ANDREA!!  GOD WASN’T A BUSH!!”  And on and on he went, rubbing his hands together now because our laughter was egging him on.  He was really getting into all this Biblical inaccuracy stuff!

Later, after the phone call, he continued.  “Guess what?” he asked.  “When Moses came down from the mountain with the commandments, he only had ONE tablet, not TWO!!”

So I checked the book of Exodus, and lo and behold…..the Bible does say that Moses had TWO tablets.  Way to go, Aaron……my Aaron.

“And you know what else?” he went on.  “There were only EIGHT commandments in the movie!!”

“How do you know there were only eight?” I foolishly asked.

“Because I COUNTED them!!” he replied.

Of course he counted them.  That’s exactly what Aaron…..my Aaron…..would be doing as he sat there stuffing popcorn….and maybe the napkins…..into his mouth.  He would definitely be counting the ten commandments that were missing two.

Well, as my Aaron would say, we had many a discussion for the rest of Friday and for most of Saturday about the Exodus movie…..the burning bush…..how God spoke……the plagues…..the fact that Moses was happy when the Bible said he was angry…..

Oh, and how wrong the movie was about the Red Sea coming back together because Moses was still in the water and had to swim to land.  “Moses didn’t SWIM in the Bible in the Red Sea!!!” he exclaimed.

I think that Aaron has processed the movie to his mind’s content now.  Maybe.  And I am amazed at how much of the Biblical story he remembered, and remembered correctly.  That’s the most exciting part to Gary and to me. 

Aaron….my Aaron…..said it very well on Saturday when he ended it all (maybe) by talking about Hollywood. 

“They were doing their own way to a movie!” he surmised.

And I totally agree with Aaron’s wisdom! 

 

The Phantom of the……What?

Aaron likes music of various sorts and is tolerant of most of my musical choices.  We all have our favorites when it comes to the music that we enjoy and Aaron is no different.  The one form of music that he probably enjoys the least is opera.  I don’t listen to opera, honestly, though I do appreciate it.  To Aaron, though, even Handel’s Messiah is opera.  I love The Messiah, especially at Christmas…….and inevitably when I have it playing, Aaron will walk in, raise his eyebrows, give me “that” face, and say something about Mom liking opera.

When The Phantom of the Opera movie hit theaters several years ago, it quickly became a favorite to me and Andrea.  I have the CD, and so a couple weeks ago I decided to play it in the van while driving Aaron to his group.  He had heard it before, a long time ago, but this time he was very fascinated with it.  So fascinated, in fact, that he decided to start looking The Phantom of the Opera up on the internet…..meaning he was looking at YouTube trailers and talking about this movie….a lot!  It didn’t matter to him that it had the word “opera” in it…..or that some of the singing was rather operatic.  He was becoming hooked on the story and had tons of questions.

I was in Target one day when I saw The Phantom of the Opera DVD on sale for only $5.00.  I bought one and later that day showed it to Aaron, to his great delight.  Now he could actually watch the real movie instead of just watching the movie clips.  And hopefully have all of his questions answered instead of clomping down the stairs to find me, with yet another query about The Phantom of the Opera. 

 
For awhile, though, he still watched the movie clips and still asked me many questions……until one day I looked him in the eye and profoundly said, “JUST WATCH THE MOVIE!!” 

“Oh yeah,” he said…..and back up the stairs he went to his room to actually WATCH THE MOVIE!!

Before long, I heard Aaron returning down the stairs.  “Mom!” he exclaimed.  “The Phantom of the Menace is singing to Christine about ‘my power over you!!’ What does he mean?!”

“Wait, Aaron,” I said.  “The Phantom of the What?”

“The Phantom of the Menace is singing to Christine about his power over her.  And he called her his sleepy angel!”  With that, Aaron doubled over and furiously rubbed his hands together in delight.  He was really getting into this.

“Aaron, it’s The Phantom of the OPERA,” I corrected him.

“Oh yeah,” he said as he hurried back upstairs……and I stood there knowing that Aaron was enthralled by the fact that this Phantom of the Whatever said that he had power over Christine.  Forget opera……forget singing……forget the love story…..   We’re talking POWER here!!!

Aaron was hooked.

Later, he came into the kitchen to find me.  “Mom!  Text Andrea to tell her!”

“Tell her what, Aaron?” I asked.

“Tell her that I like The Phantom of the Menace.  Put it this way…..” 

Opera, Aaron.  The Phantom of the Opera.

So I texted Andrea to tell her that Aaron liked The Phantom of the Opera.

And on another occasion…..”Mom!  Did you tell Andrew that I like The Phantom of the Menace?”

Opera, Aaron.

Soon Aaron realized that there was more going on in The Phantom of the Opera than underground tunnels and organ music and POWER.  He was catching on to the fact that there was a love story involved.  He knew that Christine had two men who loved her.

“Mom, the other guy that likes Christine is greedy of her!” 

Well…..kind of……but not really greedy…..it’s just that……

Sigh.  You try to explain it as Aaron stands there rubbing his hands together and then says, “Mom, The Phantom of the Menace is my favorite character!”

Opera, Aaron.

He wanted to know where the movie took place.  “Mom, I noticed they say things in Paris words!”

He wanted to know why the Phantom wore a mask.  “Mom, it’s funny that The Phantom of the Menace wears a mask.  I thought he could have done skin surgery!”

Opera, Aaron.

And I was not going to explain skin surgery availability at this point.  Aaron’s attention to every detail was taking all the fun out of the movie…..except for him.  To Aaron, that IS the fun of a movie!!  Every single solitary miniscule detail must be discussed until Gary and I are thoroughly sick of it!  And I used to love The Phantom of the Menace.

Opera.

“Mom!  I noticed that The Phantom of the Menace is trying to kidnap Christine in chapter 8!”

Oh great.  Now he’s even into what CHAPTER contains every single solitary miniscule detail.

Opera, Aaron.

And perhaps Aaron’s most astute observation:  “Mom, I noticed that movie is about singing.”

Opera, Aaron.  It does involve some singing.

And I had to smile……smile at how intriguing every movie and every event is to Aaron.  How he processes all that he sees and hears, down to every single solitary miniscule detail.  He doesn’t miss a thing.  He even said that some of the songs in The Phantom of the Menace…..Opera…..made him cry.  Wow!

So yesterday at his yearly BASIS meeting at Paradigm, we sat there with a new person doing his assessment.  She was easy going and so Aaron relaxed.  He started talking about movies, of course.  And I reminded him to tell her of his new favorite movie.  Aaron just looked blankly at me, so I quietly prompted him.

“Phantom of the….”

“Menace!” he said.

Opera, Aaron. 

She had no idea why I laughed.