Sunday, September 21, 2008

Obeying Thy Mother

Max was following me around while I made supper the other night, when suddenly he sat down and took off his shoes -- right there, smack dab in the middle of the kitchen. I told him that the shoes needed to be out of the way, and I asked him to go put them by the front door.

He readily agreed, grinned and said, "Oh!", gathered up his shoes...and took off.

This is what I found:

They really are "by the front door" -- aren't they?!

I know his class has been working on prepositions at school. They've been using the signs, AND pictures, AND words for exercises where they locate objects in the room or in a picture.

I got quite a kick out of his overly literal interpretation of my request, but also found myself wondering if that quirky response was actually due to a new level of comprehension. After all, "by" often means "beside", and "beside" often means "right next to" or even "sides touching" --right?

I think he could be on to something...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Slowly But Surely: The Second Version

The other thing that's occurring slowly but surely around here is my internet service. (Actually, now that I think about it, "surely" really isn't even the right word...)

My connection here is painfully s...l...o...w and somewhat RanDoM, and it makes web-browsing and blog-posting a test of endurance.

I'm looking into other options, but posting will remain light until the situation improves.

Slowly But Surely

We have been in our new home for a little over a week now. There are still boxes sitting here and there, and many more changes that need to be made, but it's definitely feeling like home.

Max was pretty confused the last day at the old house. Most of the moving took place while the kids were at school, so when Max got off the bus that day, things had changed dramatically. He kept walking around the empty rooms and some random blank spot would catch his eye. He froze in the kitchen, staring at the empty spaces under the bar where the stools used to be, exclaimed, "Oh!" and then lifted those enormous, soulful eyes at me and signed "Where?"

We repeated this throughout the house, and he was just genuinely puzzled to realize the beds were gone and the computer was gone and the TV was gone! I suppose bits and pieces has been disappearing for a while by then...but once the rooms were completely empty, nothing made sense. Our lives really didn't seem to belong there anymore.

I kept trying to explain that we would be in a NEW house with our beds and stools and TVs...and he was listening intently, standing very close and still, staring right into my eyes with a serious expression. After I repeated several variations on the "new house" theme, Grandma arrived to take Max to her place for a few hours while we finished up the cleaning and turned over the keys.

Only later, after the keys to the house were handed over, did it occur to me that I missed the most obvious key for Max's understanding: blowing kisses and waving goodbye to each room. I was so busy using my words, and my words, AND MY WORDS...but actions speak louder than words, right? How could I forget this, when the King of No Words is standing at my feet, asking for help?!

I completely missed it -- the simple, direct route to goodbye. It's so obvious in restrospect (this is a boy who often blows the TV a kiss and waves goodbye to it when he leaves for school!), and I have no doubt it would have helped him process the move, but I just wasn't thinking on his wavelength that day.

Thank goodness he's a go-with-the-flow kind of kid (for the moment-to-moment stuff). He joined us at the new house and ran around grinning and excited, pointing out familiar items and enjoying the adventure.

When bedtime came, he was compliant and calm. He helped us put on his pajamas and brush his teeth, took his Benadryl, kissed everyone good night,...and then had no idea how to proceed.

His usual routine (laying on the sofa, watching the Cubs with his dad) wasn't possible. The sofa was there, and he found his favorite pillow and blanket in their usual spot on it, but there was no tv. They sat in the darkness for a long time, but he just could not get to sleep.

So then I took him into bed with me, which also usually works. He snuggled close and held very still, but he kept lifting his head off the pillow and staring at the bedroom window. I don't know if it was the slice of light coming through the curtains, or simply the fact that the window existed, but he was incredibly bothered by it.

(If it's the decor...well, then I totally get his opposition to this thing.)

He kept a close watch on that window for about an hour, then finally started signing "All done!" repeatedly, frantically. He cried and yelled and pointed and kept signing that he was done. Just when I started to think it would never end, he fell asleep.

It was a very short and emotional night.

The window thing seems to have worked itself out as mysteriously as it started, and we finally managed to get a TV hooked up, so the bedtime routine is going more smoothly than that first fretful night. In fact, Max slept unusually well most of last week...but now this week it's a real struggle again. (Sigh.)

I don't know exactly what the problem is -- we usually don't, quite frankly -- though I suspect it is indirectly tied to the new house; it's not literal, like the window protest was, but probably due to the fact that he just isn't "in a good place" yet. (and no, I'm not referring to the pink & green bathroom this time...but I can understand your confusion.)

The weekend was pleasant at the time...but he didn't eat or drink well, and was probably overstimulated; we are feeling the effects now.

In the same way, but on a larger scale, Max made the new house transition smoothly on the surface...but he's clearly still a bit "off" internally.

So that's the scoop here, at the House of Mystery. We're just not quite back to the usual scene (none of us, really, not just Max) -- though I can see it hovering just around the corner.

We're finally aimed in the right direction, and I know we'll get there, each of us, slowly but surely.