I’ve spent the last few days with my honourary nephew. He’s not blood but he’s pretty damn close, and sometimes it feels like he’s closer to me than my own family. To say it’s been hard is an understatement, but there’s been some lightness too and that’s what I will share today.
Christopher knows what he likes and what he doesn’t and has never been one to mince words. “No offence, but could you stop singing please? You’re not very good,” he told a good friend. “No offence, but I wasn’t talking to you. I was talking to him,” he said, pointing at The Man.
While he is speaking less and less these days, he still manages to communicate his likes and dislikes. Give him one too many kisses and he’ll gently swat your face away. Tickle his arm and he’s more than likely to move it to a position where you can’t reach. The oxygen is another story altogether and this is where the sneaky stinkpot comes in.
Christopher has many nicknames to match his moods. Grumpy Gus – that’s self-explanatory. Stinkpot. Sneaky Pete. He becomes both when it’s time to get his oxygen levels up and this means keeping the oxygen tubes in his nose for more than five seconds.
At first, he’s obvious about it, trying to whip the tubing away from his face. He sighs when we tell him he must keep it on, for at least a little while. He’s not happy but (we think) he’s accepted the situation at the time. Until the hand sneaks under a pillow – out of sight, out of mind, right? Yes, he thought so too. Ever so slightly the hand would creep up and out and before you know it, he’s trying to remove the tubes again. And, when we notice it, he quickly (or as quick as he can at the time) moves the hand back to his hiding place, ready for the next escape.
Auntie Leenie knows his tricks and has made a game of it, playing thumb wars, hand wars and generally teasing him so while he knows he’s lost the battle, he’s okay ‘cause he’s still in the running to win the war.
And yet, despite all of his moods and his knack of being brutally honest, people still love him and flock to him, all because he’s Christopher. The number of visitors through the house in the last four days has been astounding. One of the “Life Skills” classes at Christopher’s school even made a pot roast dinner for the family, complete with asparagus, potatoes, carrots and gravy. Coffee has been bought (and made), casseroles lovingly packaged and even pizza delivery arranged. One of Christopher’s EA’s even dropped off a sample of pool water to the pool company since Dad couldn’t make it out of the house.
And me? Besides throwing all of my love over Christopher like a blanket and watching over when his parents catch a few winks, I’ve become an expert at keeping the coffee carafe full, even grinding the beans for an even better cup of Joe. They’re just lucky they didn’t get my first vat of coffee when I was still learning the coffee making ropes or they would get coloured water or a vat of tar, all depending on the scoop levels I would choose.
It’s all for Christopher, my (and everyone’s) little stinkpot. I just hope there was more – more time, more we could do. But there certainly wouldn’t be more love.