One day when my daughter was still crawling we noticed that she had taken a liking to her older brother’s wrestling figurines when we found that she had crawled into his room, pinched them and buried them in her own toy box! She was clever enough not just to pinch them but to cover her tracks by ensuring that her own toys were covering the stolen items in hope that no one would be any the wiser. Obviously this was wrong of her but I had to merit her on the craftiness of her actions and I told the wife that we had a smart one on our hands.
Since those days my daughter has exceeded all expectations and at 6 she has the reading ability of 11 at the very least. She loves her books; I swear our house looks like a bomb has gone off in a library sometimes. She also seems to be able to work out mathematical problems by finding the pattern naturally and therefore is not confined to small numbers. She seems to excel in anything that she puts her mind to. It stems from the simple fact that she has always had this ability to listen, take things in and replicate them at an unusually fast pace. I warn people to beware when having an adult conversation and she is around for although she may be watching TV, playing with her toys and reading a book all at the same time she is also listening to every word we say and what is more, she comprehends it too. She will make reference to what she heard if not immediately then some time after, even years after! She is one smart kid and I could go on about how proud of her I am and her achievements in her short life all day, but I am not here to discuss her I am here to discuss her little brother.
He is much more introvert, when doing one thing he channels himself into it and the rest of the world and goings on are invisible to him. If he is motivated he can succeed but often he will become frustrated when trying to show him or teach him something. Therefore he learns much slower and as much as I understand that to compare him with his older sister is wrong we began to have our concerns as his speech development coincides with his learning ability and he is some way behind the average. Whereas other things he can pick up quickly, he was soon out of nappies, he began to learn to swim, some things he needs lots of encouragement to practise. Swimming for instance he seemed to like until one day he became fearful of the racing lines at the bottom of the pool to the point where he is now scared to go.
He has always had an obsession with straight lines, following trance-like the lines along objects with his eyes and would find a comfort zone with two objects by running them in front of his eyes while making a humming noise. I observed him doing this more often, almost like a habit. He seems to have grown out of this behaviour now he is four but in play he will still run things past his eyes, like Star Wars spaceships. He seems to be fearful of loud noises, a busy environment like a school playground is a sensory overload and he shies away from it. We took the family to London once and being used to the country environment he just went into shut down, the noise, the goings on were unbearable for him until we found solitude in the National Gallery. Like an appreciation of art melodic sounds he seems entranced by, he loves all kinds of music from modern dance music to classical; a radio on low helps him sleep through the night. However sudden loud noises make him naturally scared just like when there is too much going on. Vacuums of air freak him out so much so that if we use a public toilet and someone is about to press the hand drier on I have to ask them if they could please wait until we have gone as he will have a panic attack.
We have considered that all of these things may well place him somewhere on the autistic spectrum, though he seems in other areas to be progressing well. It is too difficult at this early stage to diagnose such a trait so we just carry on helping him in any way we can. While my daughter goes through life like a speed train, taking everything in and never fearing to give things a try, my son is quite the opposite, his diet is slim through not wanting to try new things and as he progresses to school age we are concerned that there are many things he still hasn’t accomplished without help, simple things like putting his shoes on to more unique things like his fear of swimming or the hand drier. I may be proud of my daughter’s accomplishments but I am equally proud of all the things he does and love him with all of my heart in exactly the same way; frustrating though it is sometimes when I cannot get him to at least try. He is such a good boy and he has no bad behaviour to report, just like his Dad!