On Car Keys, Broken Plate, Four Sets of Cards, and Jersey Boys

August 3, 2014
On Friday evening, we picked up a new Honda Civic from the dealer. At first, Robert seemed very happy about getting a second car, but soon the problem surfaced.
The car came with three keys, one grey and two black. The gray one was easy to dispose. Robert put it in a box where another the grey key has been kept. Two black keys, however, came with the questions, “Who should be in charge? Where should they be kept?” We suggested to Robert to put them on two old key chains, one for Jan and one for me. But Robert wasn’t convinced. He took one new key and one key chain and made such movements as if he tried to put them together but then he stopped. Something was not right. Robert didn’t want to put the new key on a key chain. But he didn’t want to put it in the drawer either. There was only one solution to this conundrum.
“Car back, car back, dealer.”, demanded Robert and handed Jan two black car keys. Nonetheless, a minute later, he agreed to be driven in a new car to a park.i

The plate has had a crack for more than a year. But a very thin fracture was not a reason for Robert to throw the plate away. I tried twice to do that and twice Robert found a plate in the trash and put it back in the kitchen cabinet. Today, the crack got bigger, and when I slightly pushed its two sides down, it broke into two pieces. I put them in the trash. An hour later, I found both pieces in the cabinet among other plates. “Robert they are broken. They cannot be used. You have to throw them”, I told Robert. And so he did. He dropped them in the trash pretending he didn’t care. However, when I returned to the kitchen, I found again both pieces hidden among the pile of plates. I asked again, and Robert concurred. But, I would not be surprise if tomorrow I would find those two parts of a broken plate again in the kitchen cabinet.

Over the weekend we practiced with four sets of cards. I noticed the previous week, when we used set What Does Miss Bee See? that when we take turns asking the question everything goes smoother. I take the card, ask the question, “What does Miss Bee see?”, and Robert answers. Then he takes the card, asks the same question, and I answer. When we change the roles, those language exercises sound more natural and Robert is much less stressed. This weekend we did the same thing with What’s Wrong? cards and three other sets.
When it is Robert’s turn to ask “What’s wrong”, he clearly relaxes and his pronunciation of those two words become less and less forced. It gives him a break when he has to ask. Two other sets didn’t have questions. One set required us to change a verb to present progressive, the other to change the sentence in such a way that would replace “I” with “Me”. I read the first sentence, and Robert changed it. Then Robert read the sentence, and I changed it. It went very smoothly until we returned (after a few months) to the cards from Auditory Memory Riddles. When I read three clues, Robert didn’t have problem solving the riddles. When Robert read, I had difficulties answering even one. Without seeing what Robert was reading I couldn’t understand what he was saying.
So Jan joined us. I was helping Robert read the clues and Jan was guessing. I could help Robert just by showing him where the word is split into two syllables, or by pointing to a letter that called for long (or longer) sound. That part was still very difficult for Robert. Nonetheless, Jan guessed seven out of 10 riddles.

This evening Robert and I went to see Jersey Boys in the small theater in Sharon. There were very few people watching with us. All of them much older than Robert and not much younger than I. We spent two and a half hour in the theater. I mostly watched the movie as there was no need to watch Robert. Still, whenever I turned to him, while the “Four Seasons” sang, I could see how much Robert enjoyed this movie and this music. He was moving in his seat following the music. Not too much, not too little. He was attuned to sounds and sights.The joy radiated from him. He kept his hands ready to clap at the end of each song and he clapped together with the audience in the movie even if the audience in our theater didn’t.

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