I’ve been pretty busy working and “mom-ing” and just living lately (especially since school has let out) so I have not been doing much writing here recently but then I read this and this* and this* too and I felt like I needed to get back to writing.
So I’m trying to carve out some space to do that. It won’t be as much as I want because all the working and the “mom-ing” and the living never stop (nor would I want them to) but this stuff – this "oh yeah we need to be speaking out – we need to be creating the future world we want for our children" - can’t stop either. So I promise I am going to try to do better. In the mean time go read what they wrote. Its important.
Its so easy to get lost in the "cants" and think they mean "never will be able to". If I stop myself and look back though - even at 8 - even at 8 that is way behind typical 8 year olds - Little Man has already done so many things I thought he never would. There was a time when I was sure he would never speak, and then, when he proved me wrong, that he would never speak more than one word at a time. Now I have reached that blessed place where sometimes I wish he would just STOP talking for a few minutes. Seriously - I am grateful for that. (Not always in the moment of course)
I've been so worried as last school year drew to a close about him moving into third grade - in our district 3rd through 5th grade is in another building. So he will go from being with kids who are 4- 8 years old to those that are 8- 10. Emotionally and socially he is more similar to the 4 and 5 year olds than the 8 - 10 crowd. To try and deal with MY stress about this (and that's what it is - mine - he doesn't appear concerned at all) I've chosen not to really spend time on academics with him this summer. We usually do some kind of summer program and sure we could spend the summer trying to make sure he knows his math facts or pumping up his reading level but I'd rather spend it thinking about how he can be happy and secure. Because his mind - his amazing, fascinating, busy brain is always, always learning. When I can manage to take that mental half step to the side and look outside the conditioning and "things I already know" sometimes I manage to see things the way he does. And I have to tell you - it is beautiful. So I'm going to add my "have faith" to the far better written ones I linked to above. Let's allow everyone to unfold their abilities in their own time.
The world seems to push so hard at conformity of thought these days at least where we live. I know to some it doesn't seem that way. Each social change and advancement in acceptance of the rights of others seems to create a backlash of anger at those who are different at least for awhile. So it is even more important that we keep looking for ways to push at the world gently to make space for and to appreciate neurodivergance. Little Man and I are working mostly on making sure HE knows difference is just fine and his way of thinking and being is just as valid as someone else's and that the world is better off for having both. We are reading a lot as part of this. Two of our current favorites are Is There Really a Human Race? by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura CornellPeter H. Reynolds.** Both are good books to start talking with little ones about people all being different and appreciating those differences. I will say they can be a little too figurative for those that are very literal minded like Little Man. So we read them together just as they are but I also interpret them in a more literal way when I read them aloud and we look at the pictures together. And we talk about them. A lot. And he enjoys doing that.and The North Star by
I get caught up in wanting to change the world sometimes but its just as important being there for Little Man, helping him make sense of his world and himself. Where he is now is not forever and saying "he will never" is a load of crap. Where he is now is awesome. We have "forever" to get where he is going. And we can enjoy the whole journey.
* I have to give credit for the title of this post to and thank Jess at a Diary of a Mom for bringing the items I linked to my attention. Seriously if you are looking for one place to read I always recommend Jess.
** Peter is unbelievably awesome. I wrote an online review of one of his other books that Little Man was having a hard time relating to and Peter actually took the time to reply to me and offer to set up a skype session to read and talk about the book. I was blown away. What an amazing person.