Sunday, April 14, 2013
It's an experiment that Little N did with L! They collected rainwater in a special jug outside in yesterday's big storm (thunder, lightning, hail, gusts of wind, rain). Then they brought it inside so Little N could paint it green (his favorite color?). The theory behind the experiment is that the rain comes from the clouds so painting the rain green is the kind of like painting a cloud. More specifically, it's about change, a word and an idea that Little N has been working with all week at school (blending colors and planting seeds). Here we changed the color of rainwater.
What I love about this and am grateful for is Little N's imagination continuing to appear in our daily life. And I'm grateful that L is so keen to respond to, expand, and carry out experiences like this with Little N. It's the best part (and we're keenly aware of the worst parts) of having L home full time as a stay-at-home dad right now. He can support Little N in these explorations in a way that he likely couldn't if he was working full time.
As for me, my nights and weekends are fuller and richer as Little N invites me to play with him a range of imaginative games like being salmon in a river or battling laundry baskets as sparring robots. And then there are new concepts he's trying out like "work" as in sitting down and doing a bunch of puzzles together. I feel more engaged with him and like I'm getting to know him better as his ideas and interests are expressed in ways I can understand and participate with.
We're the lucky ones. And I feel that keenly as well. We have a child on the spectrum who can speak, play with us, and continues to develop his self expression in ways we can access. I didn't know if we would have these things when they handed us the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. I grieved the loss of them and tried to loosen my expectations for this child, to wait and see what would be, but still I hoped. I hoped for ways to make sense to each other, hoped to know his thoughts and interests, hoped to connect with him. And it's all happening. Gratitude isn't a big enough word to express my joy, relief, and delight in knowing my son in these new and fun ways.