Friday, June 18, 2010

week 2

At the end of week one, Martin expressed a desire to go home. He was tired of Virginia, he said. He wanted to be back "at our home." These feelings, however, have faded and Martin seems to be enjoying himself as much as ever. One of his nicest moments included a visit with another child with a similar propensity for presidents.

Our friend, let's call him Louis, is 8-years-old. We've known him since he was a baby. He's always had a few funny qualities. As a small child, he was obsessed with water heaters. If he visited your home, he might ask what kind of water heater you have and if he could see it. He's never had an official diagnosis, but some of his behaviors certainly overlap with the autism spectrum.

Like Martin, Louis has a spectacular memory for heads of state. Like Martin, Louis knows all the presidents and what number they are in terms of service. From Louis, Martin learned that you can do presidential arithmetic. You can ask either one of them what Martin Van Buren plus Andrew Jackson equals. They will look at you with the air of someone who wonders why this is even a question. Then they will immediately answer: James Buchanan.

Last night, we visited Louis. He and Martin put together a president puzzle. Then they looked at a Time Life book about the presidents. Then Louis got out his historic presidential campaign buttons for Martin to see. Louis seemed happy to be around another kid who shared his passion. "All the kids in my class wonder who George Washington is," he explained with exasperation.

So Martin has found a friend here. And so I think he is happy to stay in Virginia a little while longer.


  1. I agree beautiful. And now I'm totally in to presidential arithmetic. Also, I think that idea has money written all over it! Imagine history and arithmetic combined into one curriculum.

  2. One of M's therapists assured us recently: "There is a welcoming place in this world for each child, and when they find it there will be people there to love and understand them."

  3. Louis's mom says - Although I have to say I was surprised to read about Louis here, I agree - MArtin and Louis had a fab time! I wonder if I./Louis talked about dancing on Taft's grave at all?? E