Just Do the Right Thing (#408)

Today Charlie wanted me around.

“Sit. Sit. Sit! Mah-mme, I want sit down!”

“Mommy stairs. Mommy DOWNstairs. Mah-mee!”
“Caw Mah-mee! Mah-mee, I want Mah-mee. MOMMY.”

I might be talking to my father-in-law about the new mattress that was delivered today into Grandma’s room (she is to return home from the rehab hospital in a week—she has been in and out of various hospitals since January). I might be getting up to put away laundry. I might be going to answer my cell phone (Jim, more than likely). I might be going to check for Charlie’s teacher’s daily email about his school day (it was good).

“Mah-mee, I want sit. Sit down!”

We have been working on a “call for help” program for the past few months at home. This program was begun in part because, earlier this year, Jim and I had occasionally been awakened by a yelp from Charlie and the sound of rather fierce knocking on his bedroom wall; we would race in and find a crying boy rubbing his forehead. It is a simple program—the ABA therapists have been having Charlie call me loudly and I swiftly, merrily, excitedly, appear in the room. Charlie of course knows to say “Mommy” when I am a few feet away in the same room and he wants something (he is, though, far more likely to simply request whatever he wants with one word or in short phrases—“Charlie computer,” “d’ink water,” “makea white rice,” “p’ate!”). The point of the “call for help” program is to teach Charlie to call on another person who is not in the same room, or on the same floor of the house.

I do think Charlie was exercising his newfound skill of “calling for help”—but there was an earnestness to his big brown eyes and a determinedness in the way he grabbed my arm today that made it seem that Charlie was in need, in want, of something in particular—connectiveness?—an eagerness-to-please and, even more, to Do the Right Thing?

Charlie had a make-up piano lesson (he usually has his lesson on Sunday evening, but we had gone to a Phillies baseball game last Sunday). Charlie had slumped in a chair on getting off the bus, smiled to see his piano teacher come, and then kept requesting “I want bayk, I want earn p’ay, go p’ay” (it has been hard to tell the difference between Charlie saying “break” or “play,” due to his articulation skills). The piano teacher had Charlie continue to “read the notes” and “play the notes” and Charlie even tried out a new song. Charlie displayed every sign of agitation—the strained set of his jaw, his tight shoulders, a quivering set to his eyes—but hung on and pressed the plastic keys as the notes told him to.

Later, Charlie worked and played and listened well to his ABA therapist, though he returned to slump-mode in a soft chair between programs, done in by the heat wave of the past few days (he did request “ice cube!”). It was at the swimming pool that, bobbing under and up from the blue pool water, Charlie became the liveliest he was all day. Once every minute or so he floated up above the water’s surface, caught my eye as I stood on the sidelines, and said “g’een salad.” “Green salad, yes we can get that for dinner,” I responded and so we purchased some Romaine lettuce and radishes with a pack of California rolls at the store after we had left the pool. “Maybe you can share the sushi,” I said as we drove home. “Sair sushi,” said Charlie who has never been done to do that. But he did not grab for the sushi I picked up and bit into (like Charlie, I like avocados); he finished his own piece and requested another.

Charlie did not, it is true, share the pickled ginger slices, but I was more than happy with my few bites of one of Charlie’s favorites, and with the chance to break rice?—–seaweed? avocado?—with my boy who aims to please.

2 Responses to “Just Do the Right Thing (#408)”
  1. KC'sMommy says:

    I bet Charlie would be perfect for the swim team! Junior Highs and High Schools have those. I bet he’ll love Junior High when the time comes. That’s one athletic guy you have there! He such a natural, a real mensch.
    Awesome swimming Charlie!


  2. Mensch is the word! Have you and KC and Big Brother been able to get to swim in the summer heat?

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