10/20/08

Might as well explain quantum physics

I spent the weekend trying to explain things to my son that seem pretty simple and uncomplicated on the surface, but when you are an easily frustrated mom dealing with an alien mind, one begins to see how simple things can become rather complicated.
For example: The act of finding an appropriate, shady spot to sit and eat lunch outdoors.
Seems fairly simple. Me and "the three" were at the old downtown square enjoying - or attending - the local Fall Fest. I bought each of "the three" a lunch and told them to follow me to find a place to sit. There were tables set about, but they were all occupied. There was a large shade tree by the courthouse that is surrounded by grass, so I headed in that direction. I'm weaving my way through the throngs, yelling directions over my shoulder like: "Curb! Don't spill your food!" and "Tree roots! Don't spill your food!"

I stop and say, while pointing to a spot, "Sit right here, I'll go get drinks."

Orangeboy remains standing, holding his paper plate in a rather precarious fashion, looking uncertain. He finally gets down on his knees in a spot three or so feet over from where I am indicating and then plops down right in a muddy spot. (It had rained the night before.)

"No!" I say, already getting exasperated. "Here! Sit here!"

It is immediately obvious that he can't figure out how to coordinate his rise from the ground without spilling his food, so I grab his plate, haul him up off the ground and move him over to a grassy spot. He sits awkwardly. I go get drinks.

When I come back, I sit on the grass between Orangeboy's brother and sister with Orangeboy across from me. He is just out of my reach and I can't hand him his drink. I ask him to "scoot up a bit". And he stands up. I guess the "up" confused him.

"Sit down!" I say, hoping he will sit a few inches closer - but no, he does not.

I can't scoot toward him because of my location in relation to his siblings. I would have to get up and walk around them to get to him. I just need him to scoot toward us about 4 or 5 inches!

I'm holding the cup out toward him, also hoping this will be a cue to him that he needs to come closer. But again, it is not.

"I need you to scoot up a bit!" I whine.

I whine because I realize my own inadequacies in this situation. My mind just refuses to come up with a better command line - a clearer, less colloquial and confusing verb phrase than "scoot up".

He stares blankly at me, stymied by my strange vocabulary and probably wondering if we are playing some sort of stand-up/sit-down game.

At this point, it would have been better for me to get up and give him the drink, but some sort of neurotypical Mom stubbornness kicked in and I had decided I wanted him to DO this simple thing at MY COMMAND. (Ridiculous isn't it?)

So I try to describe the action I want him to perform. He is sitting criss-cross applesauce, which is the politically correct way of saying "indian-style".

"Put your hands on the ground, under your bottom, and lift yourself up, and move your bottom in my direction."

No, that did not compute. He did put his hands under his bottom though - palms up, grasping his butt cheeks. My fault, I didn't say "on the ground, palms down, close beside your hips, and push down in order to raise your bottom off the ground and then move your bottom toward your feet, by bending your knees and bringing your thighs closer to your heels. Then move your feet forward, along the ground two inches and repeat the previous steps from the lift."



Would that have worked?



I finally got him close enough to get his drink. I think I finally said, "Here's your drink, figure out how to get it!"



After all that, I'm not going to even attempt to tell you what happened on the next afternoon, when I tried to teach him how to hit a shuttlecock with a badminton racket.






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3 comments:

  1. I feel your angst.

    It's always fun trying to explain these simple gestures is it not?
    Luckily I have a taste of Asperger's to undecidedly translate the minute details of what goes where with the body in space and time and all that riduculous jazz.

    Teaching mine long division is like pulling teeth. Oik!

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  2. Oh yes, so fun. It's like a brain-teaser everyday! :)
    The boy loves long division, but he is probably working on a more practical way to do it. I'm thinking of employing him to tutor his sister - now that he's finished my taxes. LOL!

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  3. Aha!

    I had no idea what "criss-cross applesauce" meant when my Apple came home saying it. Then I heard one of our guides say it when we were getting on a hay ride. Now I know! Thank you. :)

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