"Periphrastic" is a term that refers to when more than one word is used to a "grammatical notion." In Latin, for instance, something called the passive periphrastic uses the future passive participle (this would look like this: faciendum) plus a form of the verb "to be" (esse). Id faciendum est means "this must be done"; both the future passive participle and the form of the verb "to be" are needed to express the notion of something having, by necessity, to be done. Neither faciendum nor esse can do this on their own.
The word "periphrastic" derives from two ancient Greek words, peri, meaning "around" (as in the word "perimeter") and phrazomesthai, meaning "to speak." So a periphrastic construction "speaks around"—adds too many, if not extra, words—to say what is meant to be said.
Charlie having speech but speech that is limited in numbers of words and types of grammatical expression—as I noted yesterday, his vocabulary consists primarily of nouns and, too, adjectives—he has only a few words to express everything he'd like to. On the one hand it's important to teach him phrases and expressions to express these basic things, and in ways that people "in general" might understand. On the other hand, it's as important to acknowledge his efforts to communicate, and to try to figure out the multiple meanings that a single word Charlie uses can carry.
After a starting-with-anxiety-but-turning-out-good day back to school, I picked up Charlie. We did a couple of errands (bank, Walgreens) and, after a large snack (more like Lunch #2), Charlie and Jim went on a walk (with an umbrella that went mostly unused). On returning, Charlie asked to go out. Once in the white car, he asked to go to Trader Joe's, only to say (as he always does these days) "no" as we neared the store, whereupon I turned the car back. We passed another store and he told me "no" to that one, and then directed me to drive to a local grocery store. Once in the parking lot, he told me "no, no" so back out we went.
Having visited three grocery stores and heard "no" to all of them, I drove us home. Charlie came inside and sat on the couch, and wasn't interested in dinner (paper-wrapped chicken and rice cooked just right, so there's a golden crust, the nong at the bottom). After sitting for awhile, he asked to go to "Trader Joe's" but, having already offered that option and seen it objected, Jim and I said that we could maybe go tomorrow. After awhile, Charlie asked Jim to go and get gas, which they did.
It's not the first time that Charlie and I have gone out to get groceries, stopped at three stores, and gone home empty-handed. Jim and I haven't yet quite figured out what Charlie is trying to tell us; feeling like I'm driving Charlie hither and thither without a sense of where we're going can be really frustrating. I want to honor his talking, his attempts to tell us what he wants, but sometimes I just feel like we're going around in circles, literal and otherwise.
Last night after coming home Charlie couldn't find a rubber band he'd been using as a fidget for his fingers, cried, came into the house, and things escalated with him becoming very upset. I'd taken his indecisiveness in the car as a sign of him not feeling at ease, and Jim and I wondered if this neurological storm was the result of a lag after five days off from school, and a very full five days after that. The storm is always tough when it's going on but it was really ten minutes, after which Charlie requested a walk. Once he and Jim were back, he went to his room. After a few minutes, he told me "rice, yes" and I brought in a bowl of rice, a plate of nong, and some chicken.
I tripped in the hallway and the entire bowl of rice ended up on the floor. I don't think it mattered, as Charlie was busy consuming the nong and the chicken, and smiling. I usually either don't cook the rice long enough for the nong to form, or I burn it; last night it was just crunchy enough, and a little soft too, like popcorn. Charlie was still smiling when I tucked him in.
Sometimes I think it takes a roundabout, periphrastic sort of process for Charlie to figure out what it is he has on his mind, what he wants. In the heat of the moment I often wish it could be easier for him to tell us things without so much periphrasis, so much talking around, and maybe a little less driving too.