Friday, March 16, 2007

Knitting & chatting...

The transition back to school after 2 days off was the least bumpy in recent memory :) Charlie mentioned to me that Brendan grumbled a bit while getting jammies on Wednesday night, but then remembered that it was just 2 days until the weekend & the grumbles subsided. By all reports he had a great day, & although he swore he wasn't going to go outside after lunch into the dirty, nasty snow to play, when he came home his snowpants were so mud-encrusted that I had to put them in the sink & scrub them. Leaving school was the toughest part of the day, which has been the pattern lately, & is something we've got the whole team- psychologist, OT, teachers- working on. When I arrived I could hear the last bit of music class wafting down the stairs. I heard the teacher's voice & then Brendan loudly declaring "I'm a vegetarian!" (He can say it in japanese, too :) When class finally broke up his music teacher, Joe, said he wanted to ask me a question (I was in the midst of collecting Scholastic book orders), & when I was free he asked if there were foods that Brendan can't eat or be around when cooking. I immediately answered that Brendan can't bear to be near cooking meat, & explained why (he can't bear the thought of animals being killed), prompting the good-natured reply "Well, there goes the fried chicken..." It turns out that Joe is planning to do cooking projects on Friday afternoons with small groups of kids & was discussing it at the end of music class (this is the sort of school where the music teacher plans cooking activities :), hence Brendan's declaration of vegetarianism. With that all sorted out & book orders collected, I aksed Brendan to get his things together so we could go home. Unfortunately, the tics started in earnest right about then & he started exploding about "these parasites" (the OCD thoughts :( I stayed calm & helped him get his things & get to the car, where he collapsed on the seat in relief. I got him talking about the day & what he'd like to do at home & he was back to his usual, cheerful self by the time we were there.

They had been learning a new song in music class today, the Poilce's "Every Breath You Take" which put me in a nostalgic mood (I saw the "Synchronicity" tour back in the summer of 1983... sigh, memories), so I suggested that we listen to the cd that the song is on ("Synchronicity") & Brendan said yes, & he also wanted to hear "Ghost in the Machine" afterwards. Can't help but feel I've raised the kid right when he knows his Police albums... :)

Brendan had mentioned earlier this week that he wanted to knit a red cap for his pokemon penguin plushie, so during the day I had found the set of knitting looms (they're like glorified spool-knitters) I'd picked up a while ago. I got the smallest one going with some thick red yarn & then after his first DragonQuest session we sat down for him to try it out. All past attempts to use something like this have ended in boredom or frustration, so I kept my expectations on the low end... & was very pleasantly surprised that he had little difficulty using it. He actually worked around it about as quickly as I did & I told him so. I also suggested that he think of this as a process, rather than worrying about when he'd be done with the project, & then he'd probably find it more enjoyable to do. At the end of the first couple of rows he needed prompting as to how to proceed, but, as I told him would happen, he got it very quickly. Next thing I knew we were sitting & chatting, he knitting away & me working with a new braiding tool that had looked interesting to try out. He started telling me about some things that had gone on during lunch at school- one kid thought another had put tacks in his shoes, so Brendan decided to ask the accused directly if he had. Then we discussed whether or not this person's reply could be believed & why or why not... when I asked him why someone would put tacks in another's shoes, he told me, "Mom, I am not an expert on how the neurotypical mind works..." which cracked me up. I had to agree, then pointed out that his atypical thinking might help them all find another way to handle the situation.

As we continued chatting about this & that we were listening to "Ghost in the Machine" (which, I have to confess, makes me want to bounce around the house rather than sit still :) & Brendan asked me about the Police. I told him about the band members, how 2 were from the UK & one, the american, is the grandson of a famous composer. He asked me, "Were they really popular, mom? Did people think they were kakkoii?" So I talked about how popular they'd been & still are (to some of us... although I've heard they're getting back together & going back out on the road after nearly 25 years, so perhaps a new generation will discover it for themselves). He wanted to know if Sting was Sting's real name or his band name... It didn't hit me until later that Brendan had used a japanese term while we were chatting. The word kakkoii (かっこいい), although translated in the dictionary as "attractive or good-looking", has the connotation of meaning "way cool" too, & I realised that Brendan used the japanese term because it's more succinctly descriptive than anything we have in english. Plus, he knew I would understand what he meant. I love this evidence that the japanese is taking hold of Brendan's imagination & vocabulary. Kakkoii!

Brendan worked on & off on the hat for the rest of the day & even this morning before school (using the timer for getting-dressed time is working wonders :). I told him that after he gets home we'll be able to cast it off & finish it, since it's big enough. He's ready to knit a whole fleet of hats for his plushies (could take quite a while...) & I'm delighted, for lots of reasons. We have been worried about finding ways to keep Brendan from putting things in his mouth while watching tv (since he's less likely to be monitoring his actions while watching tv). We found that he could watch tv & knit (we watched some Kim Possible before dinner while we knitted & braided) without any difficulty so this looks like it will work just fine to keep his hands busy. Brendan mentioned more than once yesterday that he likes the knitting. I can tell that he's motivated because not only did he pick it up before school & do a row, but he's working with red yarn & nary a tic- red is one of his trigger colours these days. The cool thing is that there's a whole set of these looms in various sizes, so when he's bored with pokemon hats... people hats!! :)

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