Thursday, July 30, 2009

hello, mr. president

I'm happy to report a good turn of events. After a Wednesday that included a trip to a little zoo, swimming at the Y, and an evening lollygagging around the community soccer field, things are better in the household. Martin is back to his old tricks, which include some sort little obsession in which you can line things up. Today, it's been president cards that he lines up alongside his president placemat. Because that's not enough, Martin requested that we look up more presidents on the computer and print off their pictures. (This moment involved one of my favorite Martin locutions, "Can we go ask the computer?") We only made it to Chester Arthur before Martin's tutor arrived. Tomorrow, we'll do the rest, including the one Martin calls "Mr. Obama."

If you know any kids on the spectrum, you have probably witnessed two things: their love of lining things up and their astounding capacity to memorize. On good days, these habits are fun. It's a good time to count out the presidents and put their cards in order. It's a hoot that your kid knows about Millard Fillmore, including that he led the Whig Party. Martin has all sorts of little party tricks like this. He knows the name and location of every country in Africa. He knows his state capitals. Nothing makes him happier than to pour over a puzzle or a set of flashcards that give him interesting information to absorb.

On other days, though, these habits are depressing. Lining up all the smallest Lincoln Logs or singing countries of the world songs seems so sad when he does that itstead of playing with other kids. It speaks to the sufficiency of his own little world when he looks at his puzzle, looks at us, and then says, "Can you walk away, please?" I hope there's a place for him in this world that maximizes the great things his brain can do. I also hope that there will be ways to draw him into the social aspects of life. Anyone want to chat with him about the presidents?


  1. Jen, I heard the author of this book on the presidents speak on NPR a couple of months ago and thought it sounded like a great resource for kids with developing interests in history and politics. You'd have to pick and choose which stories to read, but I thought it worth passing along:

  2. Hm....I remember a certain "presidential tour" that you and Stacy took a few years back. I still use the Rutherford B. Hayes mug you brought to our tiny Little Italy apartment. I guess the love of presidential trivia runs in the family.
    I look forward to reading your blog. It's really a wonderful thing.

  3. Lining up things . . . .yes I remember that. When Jacob was younger he used to line up his Matchbox cars . . not roll them around like other kids. He is past the car stage and doesn't line stuff up anymore. He has a terrific memory when it comes to some things. He remembers driving directions and helps me get places. That's just crazy for a 9 year old! And something that he does that always makes me giggle is that he can remember the most obscure dates. For example, he remembers that on September 13, 2007, he threw up after our trip to Subway. :)

    I love reading your blog, Jen. Keep up the good work! Your an excellent mother!

  4. I also rember the 'presidential tour' you and Stacy took. It seem like yesterday. And here you have your own little future presidential scholar in the making. Mr. Obama would love Martin's respectful tone. :)