“Up & down, up & down,
I will lead them up & down…”
Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream
Would that it were a midsummer’s night! Oh, how we upstate New Yorkers suffer when Spring officially arrives, because in reality She is always late here, and it all feels like some cruel joke.
Late March teases us with a day or two at 48 or 55 degrees; once in a while we’ll even get a 70 degree day (though not so this year). Winter always manages to beat Spring back, dragging the season’s whole inevitable death scene out in a maudlin, uncouth fashion of day after day in the windy teens, the grey-skied twenties, the only-tolerable thirties. I remember three damn different April Fool’s Day snowstorms in the last decade or so.
Enough is enough. I want to go outside and feel warmth, see some green pushing its way up through sun-softened soil.
Jonah doesn’t care much. He’s uncomplaining about cold or hot, except when it comes to his bath; like his mama, he wants the water at a temperature most people would consider near-scalding. Mom and I visited Sunday this week, and Jonah was cute and good and funny. We’re trying to teach him that he’s a different age now.
“How old are you, Jonah?” one of us will ask.
Using the language only people used to him can understand, he answers: Um-twelll-yee-ol.
He never just says the number. Always he adds “years old” to the end.
“No, silly,” I say. “You had a birthday! How old are you now?”
Evidently 13 is much easier for him to say because plain as day he answers, “thirteen.” And without adding the “years old” part.
So much for always and never.
Jonah is Puck, leading us up and down through his challenging, “changeling” behaviours. He has been attacking at school. He has been fine at school. He has been aggressing at his residence. He has been good at the residence. Tick, tock. Yin, yang. Up & down.
Is it puberty?
Regular teenager outbursts, “on steroids” because of his autism?
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
Why does no one realize that the Alphabet Song, Baa Baa Black Sheep, and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?
Can you be a closet claustrophobic?
How many licks does it take to get to the middle of a Tootsie Pop?
(The world may never know.)
Digging his car ride. I watched with pride as he dressed himself after bath time and deftly pulled on his coat, put on his hood, and zipped up. Then I thought about how very strange it is to be so happy my 13-year-old boy can do something most 5-year-olds can do. This strangeness will always be inside me, watching Jonah’s progress at its terrapin pace.
He asks for “train on computer” and needs help getting the computer on and surfing over to You Tube, but once he’s there he’s getting better at selecting different videos on his own. And when he can’t figure something out he’s super-excellent at asking for help: I want help please? in his cute little voice.
My handsome, capricious teenager.