Sunday, July 3, 2011

SOC Sunday: Thomas still visits my house

Exhausted after a full day fete at a lakeside house yesterday. We never get invited to anything, so are quite grateful for this now annual chance to party as a family with food, swimming (floating trampoline!), rides, live music and a firepit after dark for the last late stragglers (us, we always come late, stay late).

I am coming down with a nasty summer cold, so while Ethan is over at a friend's house (a deep thank you to every parent of a friend of Ethan's who has hosted more than your fair share of drop-off playdates due to Jacob's autism and my subsequent need to hand Ethan off for the day) Jake is home blissfully watching TV and playing on the computer while I try to drag my ill ass off the sofa to unpack from yesterday's excursion.

Maybe not happening (getting dizzy every time I try to stand up). While languishing on the sofa I am half taking in the TV, which led to this observation...


One of the many gifts of Autism is that Jake takes a lot longer to outgrow his "babyish" loves and obsessions. Or seems to outgrow and move on and then (hopefully before I've given away all the toys & videos) circles back around and they are on his radar again.

Like Thomas the Tank engine, favorite of every 3 and 4 year old boy on the planet it seems...  Jake out grew it later than Ethan, but really seemed to be past it by 1st grade or so, watching all the horrible violent superhero shows that his brother liked on the Cartoon network or Disney XD.

Somehow or other, Jake is liking the superheros less these days, and is back in little-kid land when it comes to TV. Thomas, Curious George, Clifford and Arthur are all back in steady rotation in my house, at least when Ethan isn;t home and strong-arming control of the clicker. (I draw the line at Caillou, I WILL not watch that again no matter what!)

I was trying to figure out why this was, why Jake had seemed to move on & grow up & then slide back into little kid shows. But upon reflection, I think it is anything but a backslide, more of an upward spiral that looks like a circle back around, but isn't. He is revisiting the old shows but with much more understanding and insight.

It's all because of Jake's language processing issues (of course). for a while he loved the superhero and teenagery shows Ethan watched because there was a lot of visual excitement and movement in them (fights! Explosions!) and the scary aspects to them seemed to go right over ihs head.

But now Jake is understanding and processing more - and the scariness of those shows is actually starting to... scare him.

It seems a lot of stuff around which I thought Jake was fearless? Well, it turns out he was just clueless. Because you have to process and understand what is going on to be afraid. and he wasn't before. And now he is. So what looks like a step backwards is really progress.

So he is retreating to the "safe" little kid shows, but as he is processing more, he is getting more out of them -- understanding the situations more, getting the humor, getting more than just the basic story, the contexts of things that had just slid right by him before.

So, as I said it is a spiral, Old "friends" re-visited but with new, "higher" understandings, one turn up the spiral ladder of understanding.

So I guess my ticket off the Island of Sodor is going to have to wait a little longer. That's OK. Jake is happy and learning.

As long as I don't have to hang out with that damn whiny Canadian bald kid with the too-nice parents, who is clearly going to grow up to be a serial killer. (You knew that, right?)


OK, back to bed now (Damn summer cold)!

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