Friday, March 14, 2014


The boy has exhibited some super competence this week. He got himself into the shower, mostly managed the shower without prompting, and hung up his towel in the bathroom, which was a pretty long time for him to stay on task. If the three of us are home for dinner, we play the Conversation Game that we started over the summer during his social skills camp: everybody goes around the table and talks about the high point and low point of their day, and everyone else has to ask clearly-relevant questions. He has either started to enjoy the conversation, or has learned to be convincingly deceptive for a full half hour, either of which is cause for celebration.

(He did manage to bullshit briefly, when Anna asked what he thought and he didn't want to admit that his attention had wandered off long ago and he hadn't heard anything I said. "Wow, that does sound like a real low point!" Obviously, this is an invaluable classroom skill, particularly in high school and college.)

He's growing up, which I could be sad about, but the older he gets, the more fascinating I find him and (by and large) the easier he is to deal with. He can talk more about his extremely unusual internal processes, and he can better manage the negative voices of his mind. (We all have them, but his are quite a bit stronger than normal: watching him battle himself to spit out "ThankyouMama" when prompted is both sad and endearing. I, of course, have never known the feeling of resisting something just because someone else told it to me.)

The other night at dinner, we discussed foreign languages--he would like to learn some Russian, since his best friend is bilingual, and I got to bust out the classic history of the Lord's Prayer in English to illustrate how language changes. Anna and I got to talking enthusiastically about the various countries we've been able to travel to. As I went into the kitchen, he asked:
"Why would you even want to leave the country to go someplace else that's all different, anyway?"
Which is a good question! And there is really just one answer.
"Because the world is awesome, that's why."
I think that was the main thing to get through, though we did talk about how much fun it is to go to other countries that seem really strange, and discover that by and large almost everyone on the planet is really nice and they're just trying to work and raise their kids and pay their bills just like we do.
"How come you don't take me with you?"
"Well, notwithstanding that Mama came to visit me in Chile for a weekend, twice, traveling to other countries takes a fair bit of time and effort."
"I would like to go with you to another country."
Anna chimes in.
"In order to do that, you'd have to be willing to eat a lot more foods. When you're in other countries you can't be sure what food is available, so you have to be able to eat many different things."
"I would like to start eating more foods. I like broccoli crowns."
Wait. What?

It turns out he does not particularly like broccoli crowns, or rather he has a memory of liking them, when he was much younger, when they were dipped in apple juice? Or something. He tried, though, and while he made The Face of Disapproval, he did not:
  1. Have to keep himself from retching.
  2. Melt into a panicked puddle on the floor.
  3. Give in to an irresistible urge to run away and hide in the farthest corner of the house. [That response is reserved for babies.]
Then it was bedtime.
"You're getting all grown up. It's really cool to watch, and I'm glad I get to be here for it."
"Can we please stop this conversation because it might make me sad, because the more grown up you are the less good your life is."
(This is a kid who has been complaining constantly [and correctly] since at least age 4 about how little control he has over his life because he's a kid.)
"Sure, but you should know you'll always be my kid, no matter how grown up you are. I think being grown up is way better."
"Chris, please stop, this scene is so touching I'll be sad." [He appears to have an affinity for filmmaking.]
Sleep well.

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