Like Apples & Watermelons
August 24, 2009
This weekend, Noah formed a deep emotional attachment to a watermelon. He does this, from time to time. Becomes entranced with a food object and carries it around the house, having drawn-out imaginary conversations with a can of black beans or declaring his unending love for a hard-boiled egg. It's a love that transcends mere taste, of course, because he will never, ever actually EAT any of these foods. I mean, gross. And also, are you some kind of monster? Why don't you just fricassee the damn dog, while you're at it.
Usually, we just wait the infatuation out, as long as we're talking non-perishables. (I put my foot down once and sent his slice of American cheese off to live in the refrigerator where it could run and play with the rabbits and lunch meat.) But this time we really, really wanted that watermelon.
I mean. EZRA really, really wanted that watermelon. Your brother did it, Noah! Your brother KILLED YOUR WATERMELON.
And then he ate its flesh while you flailed on the floor in helpless fury.
And your parents photographed the flesh-eating, declaring it all kinds of adorable. Your family is MESSED UP, I know.
It was a tough weekend, all jokes aside. Ceiba is throwing up again and we don't know why. Noah is giving back some of the gains he made this summer, which at least reinforces our decision and determination to send him to The Preschool (yes, it is going to cost more than we originally thought, because he needs more individual therapy that we thought, but at least THAT we can go to war with our insurance about, and is something that isn't set in stone for the entire school year.) After having discussions with the actual school directors, I no longer feel like we're getting the hard sell, but rather have met people who GET IT, who GET HIM, and who are going to move heaven and earth to help him. We have an appointment with a new developmental pede and the knowledge that it's always worst at times like these, right before a plan gets set into action, right when we're pinning our hopes on something just around the corner, trying to hold on through a service-less freefall, bruising like peaches along the way.
I re-read Noah's very first county evaluation -- he wasn't even TWO, for Christ's sake -- while photocopying it for The Preschool and remembered how it all started with a few little words, just not quite enough words, and how terrifying it all seemed back then, even though I had no idea that we were just at the tip of the gateway iceberg. I had no idea what we were in for. I probably still don't.
Noah likes to stall at bedtime. Of course he does. He runs through a standard litany of tactics -- a drink of water, potty, he's unplugged his nightlight or dropped something under the bed -- but he always ends the night with the same last request. "I need a cuddle!' he announces from the top of the stairs. "Hey! I need a cuddle! Come on, let's cuddle!" And downstairs we groan, because it's late, because the couch is so comfortable, because True Blood just started. And then one of us obliges -- of course we do -- and goes upstairs for a cuddle. He puts his arms around my neck and requests a song, or whispers a secret, or just curls up closely for awhile before drifting off to sleep, and every night I am reminded of why I wanted children in the first place, all over again.
By Sunday Noah had forgotten about the watermelon. Jason took him to the grocery store, and this time, it was an apple. Oh, look at this wonderful apple! It's the greatest apple I've ever seen! The fruit was so bruised and beaten and over-handled by the time they made it to the register that the cashier double-checked that Jason was sure that he really wanted that dented-up apple, that he didn't want to put it back and get another one. Jason opened his mouth to explain, but then he laughed and simply said yes, it was okay, it was exactly the one that we wanted.