Friday, March 4, 2011

Preteen Philosophy

My kids are a never-ending source of inspiration for me.  Jakob, especially, always makes me think.  Just when we're going along in our every day pattern of life (you know... time to wake up; time to get dressed; time to brush your teeth; time to pack your lunch; time to get on the bus; time to come home; time for dinner; time for showers; time for homework; time for bed; whew!  another day...)  Jakob comes up to me and just soothes my soul.

He's quite a little philosopher and is fond of asking me questions like "Mom, if a fly is on a plane, is it really flying?" and "Mom, is a moving conveyor belt redundant?".  Jakob has a great sense of humor.  I think that it's sometimes his saving grace, socially speaking.  Many children with Autism just can't recognize or identify social cues properly.  What to us might be obvious (for instance, someone is upset or uncomfortable with a topic) just sort of slides by their perception.  This can create a rather large rift and set them apart from their class mates.

Everywhere we go, however, kids will come up and get right in front of Jakob, since they want to know they have his attention, and give a wave and a "hi, Jake!".  He rarely knows their names.  Think of the absent-minded professor.  He can give a dissertation on string theory but he can't remember to comb his hair or tie his shoes each day, much less remember names of individuals.  Teachers and his counselor have told me that his sense of humor has gone a long way toward "humanizing" him to his classmates.  When he has a meltdown, he'll often come back to apologize and makes a joke about it.  He knows how to use some light sarcasm for joking around, too.  He understands word play and uses it to great advantage.  This gets his classmates chuckling and sort of gives them a connection to Jakob.

I could write books about it, but suffice to say... I like my kid.  I love him, yes, I adore him as I adore all of my children; but I really like him, too.  He's smart, he's funny, he's caring, he's respectful... he's a great kid.  I just wish other people could get to know him so that they could see beyond the one meltdown he has the first time they meet him.  He's quirky, he can be exasperating, he can be utterly exhausting, and he's just a joy to know.

I enjoy our little philosophical conversations.  One of my all-time favorites is "in the forest of perspective, things are just a matter of opinion".  Jakob, you light my life :)

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