Monday, April 11, 2011

Interests and Interactions

I’m a person of many interests—a renaissance person if you will.  I take a great interest in science and literature, the arts and the practical side of life.  I equally embrace technology and tradition.  But that is me—trying to find a hybrid life of the old and new.  It’s the middle path that gets the best traffic, I find.  I’ll give the Buddha that one.

So one day I may be reading Jane Eyre and creating linen sprays with my essential oils, after I teach my son the joys of rolling a ball about.  And the next day I’m letting a machine make my bread, while I use a vacuum cleaner to keep the dust bunnies at bay while my son watches U-tube domino videos.  I bore easily, so I’ve gotta have a myriad of things to keep my interest, else I get into mischief…

My son, on the other hand has single solitary interests.  There is no mixing, no hybrid, no crossover.  Trains.  Marble Machines.  Duplo.  Play-doh.  Blocks.  Dinosaurs.  I’ve tried on a number of occasions to mix toys, but with very little or violently opposed success.  No, mommy.  Dragons do not belong on the Thomas railroad.  That’s silly.  No!  Cars do not drive through the blocks. Play-doh is played with on the table only!  (ok, that last one is mine—but I hate finding that stuff all over—or worse, in the dog’s poop.)

One of the characteristics of Autism is being rigid.  Not physically, but in habit.  Routines followed to the letter.  Without question.

Now, there was a time my boy didn’t really know how to play, and he’s come a long way in using his imagination and playing with stuff “appropriately”—first time the therapist used that word, I thought she was crazy.  Seriously—the science behind play is mind-boggling. 

Now he has little conversations with his little people or Thomas—sometimes scripted, sometimes not.  Or I hear scene descriptions going on during a car chase.  And sometimes, SOMETIMES, I see different toys interacting.  That dragon eventually caused a derailment on the Sodor Railroad, and the phrase “oh the carnage!” (which he picked up from daddy). 

Small steps.  Teeny tiny baby steps.  And the next thing you know there will be marble machines built over the railroad that is controlled by dinosaurs and robots.  But no Play doh!