Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My Smiling Red Face

I’ve had a gamut of emotions with Aaron over the past few days.  On Sunday, he just wanted to sleep all day.  He started running a fever, so I worried about his recent root canal, although when awake he told us that his tooth and jaw had no pain at all.  He complained, though, of a stomach ache and had no appetite.  Then he had a couple seizures while sleeping that afternoon, plus another shortly after midnight that night.  All of these things push my worry button.

Yesterday, Monday, he got up briefly but then went right back to sleep on the couch until I was finally able to lure him up around 12:30 with the promise of food…….which he ended up not eating anyway.  But a trip to Dillon’s interested him, so after he showered we headed off to the store.  He enjoyed getting out and especially enjoyed getting a snack along with some sparkly water that he likes.  He then asked if he could get his hair cut at the Great Clips nearby, and I agreed.

Any of you who have read about Aaron for awhile know that going to Great Clips is usually an adventure, and this time was no exception.  Aaron knows that if the wait is too long then we probably won’t stay, so he often will bound in the front door and loudly ask, “Can I get a haircut?”  The startled looks on the faces of the hairdressers is actually funny, but I don’t need to see it every time we go there………so I always tell Aaron to wait on me.  Somehow yesterday he slipped in right behind the people entering before us and he quickly found his way to the front counter.  It didn’t bother him one bit that there was a line and that he had forged ahead, and that he was being stared at.  Nope, it didn’t bother Aaron nearly as much as it bothered me.  He also totally ignored me standing at the back of the line saying, “Aaron.  Aaron.  Aaron.”  He interrupted the mom who was paying for her kid’s haircuts, too.

“Can I get a haircut today?” he asked.   The nice girl behind the counter was trying to decide how to handle this intrusion.  I was almost enjoying the show, but decided it was time to intervene.  Since Aaron was playing deaf and seemingly couldn’t hear me calling his name, I had to walk up beside him and usher him to the back of the line where he belonged anyway.  Big Aaron had managed, in less than 60 seconds, to become the center of attention.  The girls working there who know Aaron were smiling, and the customers were staring………at least as far as I could tell.  I don’t always make direct eye contact because if I sense rudeness I just stare right back, and I wasn’t in a staring mood yesterday.  I know that some of them were glaring, though.  I can sense these things, trust me.

When it was our turn to check in, we found out that the wait would possibly be 20 or more minutes.  “Can we stay, MOM?!” Aaron urgently and loudly asked.  So we stayed, of course.  I sat Aaron in an end chair with me right beside him, hopefully out of the limelight.  But Aaron is never totally out of the limelight……because he is observing everything………EVERYTHING………and he rarely, rarely whispers. 

Aaron watched the mother and son who were in front of us go to the counter and talk to the hairdresser about how to cut the boy’s hair.   Aaron watched them carefully and didn’t miss the fact that this boy had on retro type glasses with darker frames.  As they decided how to cut his hair and turned to sit back down, Aaron said……..and remember, this is not in a whisper…….

“Clark Kent!”

I silently told myself to stay calm while I patted Aaron’s leg and reminded him to whisper…….or better yet, to just not talk at all.  Aaron was totally unaffected as he leaned forward for a better look at Clark Kent.

Soon Aaron’s attention was drawn to the hairdresser that was seating another patron.  “Hi,” she cheerily said.  “My name is --------.”  Aaron pondered this for a few seconds and then asked……again, rather loudly…….”Why do the ladies who cut hair tell their names?”  And I………quietly, hoping that Aaron would follow my lead………whispered to him about being polite and how sharing your name is courteous.  Aaron asks this same question about our servers in restaurants.  He doesn’t understand why these people must share their names.  Of course, Aaron cares little about anyone’s name or about sharing his own name.  I remember asking him one day how he got someone’s attention at his day group when he had never bothered to learn her name.  His answer – “I just say HEY!” 

At least it wasn’t “Hey, weirdo!”  Or “Hey, stupid!”  I know that at times he does choose to call someone a name, but it’s not always their given name, believe me. 

Soon the door of the salon opened and in walked a very nice looking young man.  He walked to the front counter and checked in.  He really stood out because he was wearing a long wool coat, very dressy in appearance, and it was a rich burnt gold color.  I’m sure that all of the other jeans clad, bundled up folks were aware of this man who didn’t seem to fit in there at Great Clips.  Aaron certainly was.  Aaron was studying this finely dressed man, especially his coat, and as the man turned to find a seat, Aaron said……….again, not exactly in a true whisper………

“Weird coat!”

Oh my.  I wanted to move my patting hand up from Aaron’s knee to join my other hand as I put them around Aaron’s neck.

“Aaron!” I said……not exactly in a true whisper, but close.  “Do NOT say that!” 

“Well, it IS a weird coat,” he calmly replied………still not in a true whisper.

The man sat down near me, with just one seat separating us.  I have no idea if he heard Aaron and I certainly did not look at him.  I was very, very relieved when it was then Aaron’s turn to get his hair cut.  The hairdresser happily called his name and as he walked to the chair she said, “Hi, Aaron!  My name is ---------.”   And Aaron gave his usual grunt, kept his eyes down, and plopped in the chair.  So much for being courteous. 

Later, as we stood in front of everyone at the counter, I could tell that Aaron beside me was putting his coat on………but something didn’t seem to be working right.  He stopped to sign the receipt, his coat dangling part-way on the floor, and then I finished the process as he once again tackled his coat.  I turned then when I was finished to find that Aaron had put his left arm in the right coat sleeve, so as he attempted to put his right arm in a sleeve there was nothing there.  His left arm was in the right sleeve and the left sleeve was on the floor……..well, it was a mess.  I laughed as I helped him, and Aaron loudly said, “Oh, I thought I had my arm in the right sleeve, Mom.  That was stupid!” 

And the man in the beautiful golden coat was sitting there observing all this coat business.  I wondered if he wanted to say, “Weird coat!” to Aaron.   I saw his eyes dart to Aaron’s face as we headed for the door.  He was wondering about Aaron.  Little did he know………..or maybe he did………..that Aaron was also wondering about him.

So I went from worry about Aaron to relief when he felt better to some embarrassment at his blunt un-whispered comments to laughter as we walked to the van.  Then it was back to worry as the evening saw Aaron feeling poorly again and throwing up all of his soup he ate at supper.  Our day had ended as it began, with some worry about Aaron’s health. 

Today, though, he went to Paradigm……..and today saw me with some tears.  That’s for another story.  Another day.

There’s always another day and another story with Aaron. 

And often another red face for Mom.  It’s OK.  I’ve learned to smile, red face or not.



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