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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Chrysalis & The Kitchen Shorts.

I'm trying this new thing of blogging the morning I actually publish. In the time between when Kiedis gets on the bus and when I have to take Tova to school, there's not really enough time to do much of substance except shower, but an awful lot of time to kill between tasks. Actually, the way everyone's schedules work this school year pretty much has me living my life in roughly two-hour increments, so.

Instead of staying up super late and still having to get up in the morning at a pre-dawn hour, I'm going to try and crank out stuff in the morning.

We'll see how it goes.
This morning was rough for Kiedis. He didn't want to get up, didn't want to get dressed, didn't like the clothes I picked out when he just kept throwing himself on the floor. He asked for breakfast but flipped out when I brought it to him (and it was his usual, a bagel with cream cheese, cut up into quarters with a cup of milk) and didn't eat a bite by the time the bus pulled up.

When days start this way, it pretty much ruins my outlook for the other waking hours. It helps that he goes to school, where there's a chance his mood might turn around by the time the bus drops him off -- but it's hard to swing so quickly into Special Needs Mom mode before I've even had breakfast, then to wait to see what state my child will be in when he's returned to me.

Especially when over the last few weeks of summer, he was doing so well.
The Chrysalis and Kitchen Shorts.
He's come really far in speech -- he has some spontaneous sentences, and a lot of his words have gotten clearer. We can ask him fairly simple questions and generally get a yes or no answer and he's very big on identifying things he sees that he knows the names of.

He surprises us with what he knows more and more.

He also asks for hugs and can say when he's hurt or sad, so that's kind of awesome but also heartbreaking when he comes up to you and says "Aww, whatsamatter, Kiedis sad, Mommy hug!" He has the conversation for you and tells you what you need to know, but oof, my heart.

My favorite from the summer was when he'd climb up on one of the kid's step stools we have in the kitchen and look out the back window at our garden and ask me Mommy, what IZ dat?

One day, he was saying something I didn't quite understand, so I asked him to repeat himself, which is a hit-or-miss situation any time I have to ask. 

"Ets a kissawiss, Mommy, ets a kissawiss," as he bent his arm at all sharp angles, little hand turned upwards and out towards the window.

I scanned the backyard for something that might trigger an understanding and came up empty handed. 

"Want to go outside and show me?" I asked him. His enthusiasm for identifying something new was palpable, and I wanted nothing more to understand him.

He gasped. "Go outside? GO OUTSIDE! Helpet!" I lifted him from the step stool and set him down as I opened the door to the basement stairs. He was down the short flight and opening the door by himself before I really knew what was happening.

He ran to the back garden and stood to the side of it, gesturing like he had been at the window, arm all angles and hand outstretched up with splayed fingers, at the medium-sized spaghetti squash forming on the grate we were using as a lattice.

"Mommy! Ets a kissawiss! Do you see da kissawiss? Dere et iz! Ets a kissawiss!" he babbled as he danced around in excitement.

And it hit me. He'd been watching a PBS Kids show about nature a great deal -- it was his new favorite -- and they'd recently talked about the life stages of butterflies.

Chrysalis. He was saying chrysalis.

Which, whoa. I don't think I knew what a chrysalis was until sixth grade.

I watched him dance around and babble about everything he saw in that same pattern -- look, it's a this, do you see the this, there is is, yes, it's a this! -- and sat in a bit of astonishment. 

Look at what he notices, and how he relates it to his world.

My heart leapt a little at the peek he just provided me into how his mind works.

And every time we went outside to play until that squash got too heavy and fell off the grate, he'd point out the kissawiss to anyone, even the dogs.

We just didn't have the heart to correct him.
Last week Kiedis was freaking out about getting dressed. The kids are sharing a room right now so all four of us were in what was Tova's bedroom, trying to get the kids dressed to run some errands. Kiedis was asking for something over and over, and while I dressed Tova, Kyle was trying to figure out what exactly it was he was saying.

Kiedis had a new shirt in his hands, a clearance pick-up from Target, plain grey with a blue, black, and green lightning bolt on it. He was vetoing every pair of shorts Kyle held up, growing more exacerbated with every offering that what he was requesting wasn't being presented.

"I don't know what you want, buddy," Kyle gently said, a hint of dread edging his voice. We could both see where this was quickly going, and neither of us wanted to handle a meltdown at that exact second.

"Hon, do you know what he's saying?" Kyle asked as he turned slightly to me. "Something about kitsch shorts?"

I frowned as I looked at Kiedis, who was indeed repeating something about kitsch in shorts, kitsch in shoooorrrrts while he pointed to the closet behind me.

Kyle has adapted to asking me when he doesn't understand what Kiedis is saying, as I speak the best Kiedisese out of all of us, save actually Kiedis. I concentrated, grasping at mental straws at what he could possibly be describing.

Then, lightbulb.

"Ah! Kitchen shorts! Do you want kitchen shorts, buddy?" I asked him as I pulled the cotton terry shorts we bought (also on clearance) at the same time as the shirt. They were the same shade of grey with a darker charcoal checkerboard pattern on them. I had liked them because they reminded me of the Vans checkerboard shoes we've bought for Kiedis a few times now.

Checkerboard. Like the pattern of the floor in our kitchen.

Kiedis pumped his fists into the air saying YESSSS! as I handed him the shorts, chuckling as I explained it to Kyle. Kyle nodded and smiled, because there it was, another peek into how our boy's mind works.

His green eyes shone bright at us as we helped him put the shorts on. He was proud of himself, for picking his clothes, and that we understood him. 

Because I think he really wants to be understood. And I think his mind is beautiful and amazing and wonderful, once I can get a peek into how it works so I can try and think like him, too. Because those are some of the best moments, when we get to understand not only the words coming out of his mouth, but the world through his eyes.
I have hopes for this school year. Even last night as we drove by his school and he was cooling down from a fit, he said Daddy, looket, Kiedis skool without prompting. Even after two days, he knows that new building is where he goes to learn four days a week. He's picking up on things and telling us about them as he does. 

This can only mean great things, rough mornings or no.
The Chrysalis and Kitchen Shorts.