Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Nik Knows" (Humor) - Episode 2 - The Dinner

Dinner. A pretty normal daily event.


So, one day, my son's mother and I, many a year ago now, had a couple of friends over (or family, I really cannot now remember). We were gathered at our house for dinner.

We all sat around the table with our son, Nikolas, Nik, sitting at the head of the table in his booster chair. I was at the other end of the table from him, his mom next to me on my right, one each of the others along either side of the table.

Everyone was having a grand time. Nik was happy, eating merrily along. At one point, I got up to get something from the kitchen and then I sat back down. Nik started trying to tell us something apparently immeasurably important and we were all taking turns trying to help him communicate whatever it was; but he only got more and more frustrated. He was like that back then.

We would run into people who didn't know him well, and actually wondered if he were in some way, developmentally disabled. He was such a big kid (he's like 6'5" or 6" now, tall, well built, a bit lanky but not what you'd call skinny); and they thought he should be talking already, but at that time, he was actually too young to talk, but he looked older.

In the delivery room on the day that he was born, as I've mentioned before, the nurse was calling him, Bruno, because she said, he was such a big bruiser at 8lbs 13 ounces (same weight I was, when my father called his mom telling her in his excitement that I was 13 pounds, 8 ounces and she almost had a heart attack, or almost fainted, anyway, feeling great pity on that day, for my poor mother.

Nik was fine though, and just didn't talk (real words we could understand, anyway) till later on. The doctor had said at the time, not to worry about it; some kids just don't start to talk a word at a time, learning and building on a vocabulary. Some will wait and suddenly start talking in full sentences. Which is exactly what happened. The Doctor had said people get too wrapped up in how kids should develop, and they all go at their own pace. He was just, unique; exceptional.

But before that, he would talk in full sentences of gibberish, with great passion, getting more and more frustrated that he wasn't making sense. At least, that we weren't getting it. I don't know, maybe he thought we were stupid. I felt so badly for him, but it just took him time to work out the brain/muscle connectivity.

He used to get so frustrated because, 1) he couldn't get the words out, 2) his brain always worked faster than his mouth so that when he finally did talk, the words would stumble out, where obviously brain was faster than the mouth muscles and I'd have to tell him to just slow down; and, 3) no matter how hard he tried, we couldn't simply understand him.

He would rattle off sentences, that meant a hell of a lot to him, but nothing made sense to us. Until one day, it all just did make sense to us.

And, he's still talking incessantly....

But now, he makes too much sense.

Although he didn't talk till late for kids his age, he was up and cruising around, and then walking way too soon. In the end, it turned out he had ADHD, but was really was quite smart. Too smart, for his own good, and ours, sometimes.

Anyway, on that particular day, at dinner, he was getting pretty annoyed. Either with us for not comprehending, or with his body for not following his orders. He was semi chewing some food and trying to carry on a conversation, losing concentration on the chewing, paying more and more attention to the talking.

Finally, I just got fed up with it, and seeing him being frustrated; and so to break the tension, I said:

"Nik! JUST...spit it out!"

He stopped, everyone stopped. The universe stopped.

I could then see the wheels in his brain churning away. I thought, Now what? Then, something went, "click". I could almost hear it. I swear. And suddenly, he just spit out the entire contents of his mouth, it shot out across the table, taking on a kind of shotgun pattern.

Once he saw what he had done, as well as the reaction of everyone at the table, and how everyone else was stunned too, he just looked around and waited for what would come next.

Then, I could see it in his face, that he wasn't being bad, or clever, he was just following my orders. For myself, I had obviously meant for him to just finally "spit out the words", to get out what it was that he was having so much trouble getting out. But, just as obvious for him, as we all realized almost immediately, was for him to just spit out the entire contents of his mouth.

Everyone looked at one another, then at him; he looked at us, we looked at each other; then we all looked back at him and I think the look on his face, cracked the shock and we all just broke out in laughter.

Still, he just sat there for a second, not sure what to make of it all. Then he too broke out into great loud bouts of laughter and we had the entire table of adults and child, laughing hysterically, gasping for air and tears streaming down some faces. Until, eventually it subsided and I could see it in his eyes, what he was thinking, "they thought I was funny, I could do it again!"

But we made it abundantly clear that although, yes, that was so very funny; uh, no, you're not doing that again on pain of being made to feel like you'd not want to have done that again. If you do it again.

He quickly got the point.

And it never happened a second time.

This was also my wake up call to just how literal he took things. Something that would come back to haunt us both from then on. It was also something I wouldn't fully understand until he was almost out of his teens. Maybe I am stupid.

We never did find out what he had been trying to tell us.

But from then on, I certainly picked my words more carefully.

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