Sunday, May 23, 2010

what i expected

Before I knew I had a kid who struggled mightily with auditory processing, I reveled in Martin's difference. I loved his oblivious attitude about civil holidays. I respected the way he ignored the strange parts of Christmas celebrations that involve making lists of things you want. I was proud of his refusal to care about clothes, toys, and propriety.

Then I realized that all of these ways that Martin resisted the world were the result of his failure to understand it and articulate a response. What I thought was his ability to ignore the world's lesser offerings was really a child who was mute in the face of an incomprehensible planet.

Last night, Martin demonstrated his understanding of the world. He talked about what day it was and what day followed. He talked about why the sky is blue. And he asked for a present. He received some little figurines - Littlest Pet Shop characters - for his birthday. He knew that some kids have little playhouses for these characters. He turned to me and asked: "Can I have a playhouse for my pets? I think we can can go to a store. And maybe I don't have any money, but we might get one."

This set of sentences reveals so much movement forward. He asks an unprompted question. He remembers something (a playhouse) that he saw in the past and connects it to the present. He shows that he now knows that some objects come from stores and require money. To be sure, this exchange shows my son to be a consumer, something I used to be worried about. But it means that he speaks English and knows where things come from. Not what I expected, but something I'm happy to live with.

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