Sunday, July 6, 2014

Special Requests

 
Last night, Alex, Ed and I were watching reruns of the television comedy series The Big Bang Theory, which is one of Alex’s favorite shows. One of the main characters, Sheldon, reminds us of Alex in some ways because, like Sheldon, he is funny and smart, but he also has difficulty with social skills and can be demanding at times. In the episode we were watching, Sheldon had a cold and was insisting that his friend Penny put Vicks VapoRub on his chest while she sang “Soft Kitty.” Although this scene was meant to be ridiculous and funny, I have played the role of Penny to Alex’s Sheldon, fulfilling his requests that things be done his way. In fact, sometimes I feel as though I’m a participant in a strange game show where Alex plays the host and expects me to follow his lead.

For example, Alex takes various pills four times a day, and I usually administer those pills at least three of the four times daily. Although Alex is very good about taking his pills, he insists that I must tell him the correct name for each one. Fortunately, I not only know the names of all his medications and supplements, but I also can recognize them by shape, size, and color, which makes reciting the names no problem for me. (Alex doesn’t know this, but I have also memorized the brand names and the generic names of all his medications. I dare not let him know, or he’ll want me to rattle off both names instead of just one.) When I’m at work, Ed gives him the morning doses of his medications, and Alex asks him to name the pills, too. However, Ed manages to escape that task by telling Alex that he counts the pills instead of identifying them and reminds him that only Mommy names them. Apparently, Alex is satisfied with that explanation, and Ed doesn’t have to learn which pills are which. I, on the other hand, must continue to play amateur pharmacist because Alex knows that I can name those pills. I’m never certain whether he is really interested in what he’s taking or if he’s trying to catch me making a mistake. Whatever his reasoning, I indulge his curiosity and show off my knowledge of which pill is which.

Another recent routine Alex has developed for us is vitals night. Every Saturday evening, Alex insists that we use our home electronic blood pressure cuff to measure the blood pressure and pulse for each of the three of us. Besides taking these vital statistics, he also wants me to write down our results so that he can compare the data. This weekly process has become somewhat competitive to see who has the lowest blood pressure and pulse. Although Alex, who certainly has the age advantage, usually wins this “competition,” last night, I had the lowest pulse, and last week I swept the challenge with the lowest blood pressure and pulse. Considering all the dancing I do to Alex’s tune, I’m amazed that my vitals don’t seem to reflect the stress I feel at times. Perhaps running around to meet his demands keeps me in good physical shape. Probably this weekly event is a good way to keep an eye on our health, and I’m proud of myself for not bowing to Alex’s request that we do this process every day, telling him that once a week was certainly often enough. Evidently, I was convincing because he didn’t question my resolve on that issue.

Aside from the health-related routines regarding medications and vitals, Alex also insists that we provide him with receipts from any purchases we make. Originally this started with letting him see our credit card receipts when we bought gasoline for the cars. We knew that he liked to follow gas price trends, and these receipts allowed him to monitor whether gas prices were going up or down. Lately, however, he wants to see all our receipts, such as those from grocery store or restaurants. I’m not sure whether he’s keeping mental notes about how much we spend or whether he’s just nosy about what we bought and where we bought it. We’ve learned simply to hand him our receipts the minute we walk in the door from shopping or errands so that he can study our purchase history, which seems to make him happy.

To be fair, he gets his need to retain receipts honestly from me. I always keep my receipts because I figure I’ll need them some time. (My friends who know the following story seem to find it amusing yet reflective of my OCD tendencies organizational skills.) When I was a sophomore in high school, I was called down to the principal’s office—the only time I was ever sent to the office when I was in school because I followed rules to the letter. On my way there, I tried to think of other students’ misbehavior I might have witnessed because I was certain I hadn’t done anything wrong. When I arrived, the principal told me that my homeroom teacher turned in my name because I hadn’t paid my book rental. I breathed a big sigh of relief and told him, “No, Sir, I did pay. In fact, I have my receipt right here.” As I pulled out my receipt to prove my innocence, he seemed bemused that I actually had the receipt handy, apologized to me, and told me I was pretty clever to be able to prove easily that I’d paid the book rental. Maybe Alex, like me, knows the value of keeping receipts. Somehow, I suspect that he just enjoys looking at the list of items and the prices and that he likes to make us jump through hoops. Luckily, I can rise to his challenges and play “Name That Pill” and “Provide That Receipt” with the best of them. Oh, and I can meet his demands all the while keeping my blood pressure low. However, he’d better not ask me to sing “Soft Kitty”; now that would be asking too much.

“At that time you won’t need to ask Me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and He will grant your request because you use My name.” John 16:23

2 comments:

V ickie said...

LOL! My son is a Huge "Big Bang" fan too! - We have the "soft kitty" singing cat, so no one will ever ask me to sing!

Pam Byrne said...

Hi Vickie,
How awesome that you have the Soft Kitty that sings! I need to find one of those for Alex. I'm sure that Alex likes BBT so much because he sees a lot of Sheldon in himself. :)
Take care,
Pam