Wednesday, December 9, 2009


All the children's librarians know Martin by name. This might be because they are great at their jobs and know lots of kids by name. It might also be because Martin is the only five-year-old that insists that books on the presidents include an entry on Grover Cleveland's terms as 22nd and 24th president, as opposed to many books that fail to show his separate terms. He also refuses any book printed before this year, those that came out before we got the 44th president.

Last night I took Martin to the library for another cooking class. It's a little silly since Martin won't taste anything we've made. But he'll read the recipes, measure things, make labels, and watch the other kids work. Last night, we made little mixes to put in jars and give as presents. Cornbread mix and soup mix. The trouble came not when making the gifts, but when we talked about who we might give them to.

Maybe Martin is at that self-centered stage that all kids go through. When asked whose birthday it is on Christmas, Martin says, "mine." (I like to think of this as his first bona fide heresy.) My husband had a birthday a few weeks ago. I asked Martin what present we should get for his dad and Martin said, "Pancakes," which happen to be Martin's, not his dad's, favorite food. So when I asked him who we should give our cornbread and soup gifts to, he said, "me." I tried to explain it, but Martin was no longer paying attention, lost in the Christmas lights of downtown as we made our way home.

Open-ended questions are tough for autistic kids. Usually, they need prompts, such as, "Should we give the cornbread to Pat or Harry?" When I prompted Martin, he replied that we should give the cornbread to Aimee, a woman at church who gave Martin some president dollar coins last week. Four James K. Polks and two Martin VanBurens. I think he'll give the soup to whoever gives him the dollar coins for Grover Cleveland 22 and Grover Cleveland 24.

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