Turn and Face the Strange

Sorry for my lack of blogging these two weeks. Circumstances got in the way.

Let’s start with last week. I have two fabulous women who assist with Martin’s care. On Tuesday afternoons, Janine—four years ago, she was one of Martin’s EI providers, and she’s been with us ever since—accompanies Martin to our church’s kids’ club and facilitates his participation, then brings him home and does dinner and bedtime. I use the time to write. On game days, I take my notebook computer to a pub to watch the Rangers play. Other days, the computer and I hole up at the town diner or the pizza joint. (When we lived in the City, I wrote at a wine bar. Suburbs change everything.)

Thursdays and Fridays, Martin’s nanny Samara comes. Thursday is “my night out.” I meet a girlfriend for drinks or dinner, or I write. Friday is date night, reserved for Adrian.

Last Tuesday, Janine had a migraine, so Martin and I were on our own. On Thursday, Samara’s husband came down with the flu. She wanted to take care of her husband, and also didn’t want to share the virus, so she stayed home and Martin and I were on our own again. And when I say “on our own,” I mean it. Adrian was skiing in California. You’re welcome, Adrian.

What about the daytime? you ask. Why didn’t I blog while Martin was at school?

Well, on Monday the dishwasher went kaput. That might not sound all-encompassing, so keep this in mind—on an average day, I run the dishwasher three times, and every load is full. That’s right. Around 9:00 a.m., I run the dishwasher with the breakfast dishes, any pans leftover from the previous evening, coffee tools, cat dishes, and whatever bowls I’ve used to assemble quick snacks. Mid-afternoon I pack the appliance with the utensils I’ve used to prep dinner (1:00-3:00 are my sous-chef hours) and assemble Adrian’s lunch for the next day, my own lunchwares, more cat dishes, gym water bottles, and the et cetera that clutters my counters, like flower vases, kombucha vats, gym water bottles, juicer parts, and (every second or third day) broth pots. Before bed I load the thing again, this time with dinner cooking vessels, dinner dishes, the bowls and utensils I send to school with Martin, more cat dishes, bakeware from muffins and grain-free breads, and glass storage containers emptied from the fridge, which are many because I will not waste food given by an animal.

If that array makes your head spin, then picture me washing it all by hand. So there went last week.

And this week? A blizzard hit our area. For sure, it wasn’t half the blizzard the weather folks forewarned. But it was enough to get the schools released early on Monday, cancelled on Tuesday, and delayed on Wednesday. Let’s just say that Martin and I got to spend ample time together, which is not conducive to writing. Meanwhile, Adrian, fresh from the airport, appeared at home Sunday evening for a dinner party we threw, then departed again Monday morning (pre-“blizzard”) for the Midwest, and my good friend Coleen (you’ve met her before) was staying with me, to cater the aforementioned dinner party. Because of the weather, Coleen couldn’t go home to Upstate New York, Adrian couldn’t return from the Midwest, and Martin and I endured a continually evolving schedule.

I accomplished nothing.

Actually, Coleen and I washed a lot of dishes, by hand. Other than that, I accomplished nothing.

That’s a lot about me, right? No worries. I’m about to circle this post back to Martin.

Because guess what? Martin has had a tough couple weeks. Yeast flare, discomfort, blah blah blah. And yet—he did fine. Confronted with change upon change, he held steady. Nary a meltdown. When Janine couldn’t come, Martin had to skip the church kids’ club and run errands with me instead. He complained, like a six-year-old. He didn’t cry. We survived. When Samara couldn’t come, Martin said he was sad, and then spent too much time on his iPad. We survived.

I’m not ready, yet, to relegate meltdowns to the “so far gone” list. They still happen, or “kinda” happen. This morning, for example, Martin didn’t finish his breakfast in time to choose which dishes and utensils I would send for his school lunch. (We love incentives! If breakfast is done by 7:30 a.m., the choice is his. If he dawdles until after 7:30, I pick.) Upon learning that he had missed his deadline, Martin started to cry. I said, “I don’t think you have anything to cry about. Cut that out, and let’s get ready for school.” And then he was done.

Not long ago, if Martin said he wanted to change the radio station in the car, I had to undertake this analysis: “If I change the station, I’m giving into his rigidity, against my RDI instincts. If I don’t, he’ll have a meltdown, and I’ll have crying and distress on my hands.” Not anymore. Now I ponder something more like, “He wants a different station. How much do I like this song? Should I just change it, or should I listen to this song and let him choose the next?” That’s a world of difference.

There was a time when last week and this week would have been nightmares. We’ve come far enough that, now, they were just pains in the neck.

This morning the dishwasher was repaired. Right now, the Rangers are playing the Canadiens.

So here I sit. Writing.

Happy.

One thought on “Turn and Face the Strange

  1. Pingback: Past Tense | Finding My Kid

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