“What are you doing?” he says in a tone that appears to be genuine interest. “I’m planting the old teapot.” “You are planting?” “Yes.” “The old teapot?” “Yes.” “Why you are doing that for?” “Because I can’t use the teapot for tea because the lid is broken, so I thought I’d use it as a flower pot instead.” “The lid is broken? What is ‘lid’?” Often ordinary words lose their meaning or cannot be retrieved. “A lid is a top.” “Oh.” “Why it broke, I mean, why it broked, I mean why it is broken?” “Old.” “Old and mould?” “Yes. Don’t you think it looks nice?” He gives his standard response; “I don know.” I dither whether to pursue him and risk a meltdown? I risk it. “This isn’t an ‘I don’t know’ kind of a question. This is a 'yes,' 'no' or 'a little bit,' kind of a question.” He flinches. He teeters on the brink of a meltdown and then sighs. His body rearranges itself. He seems to take the matter seriously and gives it his due and careful attention, muttering under his breath, ‘now then, let me see.’ [translation = self talk] He examines the teapot with the ivy cuttings in it minutely, from every angle, both spout and handle. His body is contorted on the step in case he misses a bit. ‘Hmm, I think may if I turn it, oh no, oh no, oh no,’ he murmurs.
Many people would describe this son as 'clumsy.' [translation = a klutz] It's not so much that he has invisible butter on his fingers, more that his whole being is an oil slick. As he grows, he has become more aware of the fact that his body cannot be trusted, that it lets him down and deceives him. He mutters, sotto voce, [translation = whispers] so I can hear some of his thought processes and awareness. When he is in this whispering mode, his language can be quite fluid. His 'real' voice comes back “you can maybe be turn it for me,.... please? I don wanna be break it” he grins. I oblige by 180 degrees. He peers at the yellow china, his nose skims the surface. He stands up straight on the step ready to give me his considered opinion; hands on hips, tummy stuck out, shoulders back, looks me straight in the eye with a jaunty expression to announce, “You know, maybe, I think it looks like a teapot with green bits stickin outta it.”