Sunday, April 23, 2017

Mythical Beasts and Where to Find Them

Our 10 yr. old neighbor rolled up to the house on Easter morning, as I was out having a cup of coffee with my neighbor/buddy cat, Henry.  "Hey - check out what the Easter Bunny brought me!"he chirped, and flashed his new, white sneakers.  "What did the Easter Bunny bring Liam?"

I hesitated for a moment.

In our house, there isn't a big deal made of presents around holidays.  Family members ask what Liam might like for his birthday or Christmas.  Usually, we suggest money, or art supplies, since Liam never really asks for anything.  And while he'd readily identify the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, if shown a picture, he never really associated them with getting gifts.  So on the one hand, we've never been pressured about presents for weeks (or months) prior to big holidays and birthdays, nor could we use the threat, "if you are naughty, Santa won't bring any presents."  We just got used to doing without the mythical beasts that dwell in most young children's imaginations.

So, to answer my young friend's question, I simply said, "Liam didn't get anything for Easter.  He didn't ask the Easter Bunny for anything."  It was clearly an unsatisfactory answer.  As it is when I tell my parents the same thing around Christmas or birthday time.  "He doesn't want anything."  I've heard this line used by parents trying to ward off a slew of presents for the child who has enough, but in our case, it's the honest truth.

When Liam asks for something, it's usually something like a graphics package or a plug-in for an editing program - something for which the giver needs passwords and access codes.   This year he DID ask for a special birthday present.  He wants a kitten, to replace our 16 yr. old kitty, who passed away a couple of months ago. 

That doesn't mean that Liam lacks imagination.  Instead of talking about the childhood trifecta of holiday heroes, Liam ascribes personalities to inanimate objects.  He's been known to hug a road sign, say, "hello" to a traffic cone and the other day, he discovered our P-Touch label maker and gave names to all of the objects in my husband's studio (Barry, Benny and Bruce, the drawers, were my favorites).

A big part of our life with Liam is completely letting go of what's "typical" and seeing what "is."  As he matures, it's clear he's aware of the world around him, but he is revealing more and more of the world inside him.  So, instead of excitedly showing off his Easter gift, Liam calls us into his room to see his latest video creation on YouTube, Adobe After Effects or BlocksWorld.

Last week, he produced a music video for his band director, Dan West.  I'd trade his excitement in creating that video for any holiday gift you could name.

Just before posting this, he wanted to show me something else - an amazing re-creation of a Mark Raetz sculpture, done in BlocksWorld.  His understanding of how to create this dimensional illusion blew us away.

I used to feel sad that we didn't share the same, magical universe as other families.  Now, we're finding the joy of watching the Universe that Liam creates for himself.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We hope that sharing our journey will inspire other parents to find the most useful path to developing their own child's stengths. If you have a comment or question, feel free to post. We will review all posts before publishing, to ensure a kind, respectful discussion.