Kathy Can Stay

Oh, how embarrassed I felt on those Tuesday’s evenings in 1996, when my daughter’s ballet teacher, Kathy, was bringing Amanda home.   At that time it was rather difficult to  pick up Amanda after her dance classes. Waiting until she changes her clothes was not easy  with Robert, who couldn’t stay still even for a fraction of the second. To help us, Kathy drove Amanda home after every  lesson.  I always asked Kathy to stop for a few minutes, and  had a bowl of her favorite, home-made chicken soup ready for her. But Robert did not want Kathy to come in. He let Amanda in, but tried to prevent Kathy from crossing through the door.  The little four years old creature, looking  like two years old toddler, was pushing her outside with his arms and… head.   The first time this happened, Kathy wanted to leave as not to cause any problems.  I begged her not too.  Holding  Robert  I explained that Robert had to learn to tolerate people coming in. ” I know it would be hard for you, but please stay at least for 5 minutes.”  The most important thing was, in my opinion, for Kathy to sit down and pretend Robert’s objections did not bother her.  When Robert was not protesting too strongly, Kathy and I ate the soup together at our kitchen table and  chatted.  When Robert was protesting vehemently, I calmly and slowly filled a plastic container and gave it to Kathy, so she could take the soup home and eat in a calm atmosphere.

Every time Kathy came, she said in her calm, friendly way, “Hi Robert, How are you?”  Maybe sometimes she changed a word or two, but her voice was always friendly and NEVER artificially sweet.  Robert did not respond.  At that time, he knew maybe 5 expressive words and not even one receptive label. I am not sure what he understood.  The best he could do was to turn around, ran to the living room, and let us be.    After generously leaving us alone for 2-3 minutes, he came back and handled Kathy her purse, or (later) her jacket. It was a hint, I asked Kathy to ignore.  She agreed to get up when Robert was NOT “asking” her out.  When in the door, she never forgot to say, “Bye Robert.”

One Tuesday, two or three months later, as soon as he heard the door bell, Robert rushed to the door, which I was just unlocking.   I wanted to pick him up, terrified that the old habit would return and Robert would push Kathy, when I noticed that he was bouncing happily in place, and pulled the door to open it…. wider.  He was happy!  He wanted both Kathy and Amanda to come in.

When they entered, Robert shut the door and  stretching  his arm toward the latch at the top of the door he made clear that he wanted to lock it.  After I closed the latch, Robert bounced happily off to the living room.   Kathy, Amanda, and I ate chicken soup (Robert did not eat that stuff.) and even some ice cream. We chatted  and laughed realizing that Robert demonstrated the same attitudes toward Kathy, he previously expressed toward Louis, the Cat.  Did Robert accepted Kathy and Louis  as extended family members, close family members, or just friends?

We did not know.  Robert did not explain himself.

I am not really sure how many times Kathy came before Robert considered her a very good friend but I know that he certainly appreciated that she ALWAYS addressed him at the beginning and the end of each visit and did not mind that he did not answer. 

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1 Comment

  1. Jean

     /  December 14, 2012

    Glad I’m accepted as a visitor, and that he likes Nolan’s visits too.

    Reply

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