Friday, January 13, 2012

My Shadow

Colin.  He is gifted.  He is brilliant.  He is funny (if you like knock jokes that don't make sense, like I do).  He is having a hard time making friends at school, although he doesn't know it yet.  The teachers can't get him to play with the other kids at recess...he only wants to play with the conglomeration of adults trying, no doubt in vain, to get a moment of peace in the Texas sunshine.  I like to think this is because he is way too smart for a bunch of 4 year olds.  :-)  Colin is hard to explain, although I have been muddling through it on this blog since he was 6 months old.  He sees an awesome therapist who is doing a great job with him.  He loves school.  He makes the most hysterical faces and comes up with the most brilliant things to play.  He is loving in the extreme and he is my shadow.  Literally.
Sometimes, I forget that he is different.  I keep deleting the word "different" because everyone is different and I just hate that word, but for the sake of making sense, I will leave it.  To say he is smart is too cliche...he knows all the same letters and numbers as every other four year old and he can't read yet and when he writes his name you can only just now actually read it.  In these ways, he is so normal.  It's something all together different with my Colin...his observations on the world are what remind you that he is gifted.  He lives in a special space where everything is just more.  He sees more, hears more, tastes more, gives more.  His latest teacher mentioned his giftedness to me this morning.  If you are around him for any length of time, you see it.  He says things often out of the blue that are so profound, they bring tears to my eyes.  Sometimes they are so funny that I find myself crying tears of laughter.  And sometimes I ache for him.  Sometimes I want to turn it off for him, let him be normal, let him be four.  But really, when it comes right down to it, I don't want to change him.  I just want him to be happy.  I want to give him every single opportunity to be whatever he wants to be.  I want to eliminate his fears and pain, but what mother on earth doesn't want that?  As my husband loves to say, "We all have stuff".  And we do. 
Colin had his very first night with a babysitter in December and it went swimmingly.  Her name is Rachael and she is just right for Colin...a college student who is about to graduate in early childhood education, a quiet and respectful person, and clearly more responsible that I was at age 21.  Everything about her is calming and she came over to get to know Colin before the big night, which was awesome.  When she arrived to babysit, she brought crafts to make puppets and stamps and Colin was sold immediately.  We had absolutely no problem leaving the house and he was perfect while we were gone.  The telling moment came as we spoke to her at the end of the night.  She was telling me about how fun and interesting Colin is and how he questioned everything she said and shot down some of her anecdotes.  She tried to tell him about Santa Paws, a dog that Santa has....Colin was not having it.  He explained to her that he sees Santa everywhere and has lots of books about him and nowhere does it show a dog.  Therefore, she is obviously mistaken about the existence of said dog.  She told us several other examples and said, "I quickly figured out that you guys must be realists that tell Colin exactly how it and don't encourage whimsical things...he seems so grown-up and takes apart everything that I say to him!"  I couldn't help laughing while I explained that we are absolutely NOT those kind of parents.  We encourage whimsy and make-believe and childhood joys constantly, but Colin was born too smart for his own good.  I am about the farthest thing on the planet from a realist.  LOL!  We plan to have her back soon and I am so glad that Colin enjoys adults so much. 

The picture at the beginning of this post is the perfect way to describe my days with Colin without using a single word.  I grabbed my camera before I sat down so that I could get the shot.  We are literally inseparable.  He does not do a single thing without me.  If I am cooking, he sets up a palate on the kitchen floor and moves all his toys there.  He doesn't like to play alone and enlists me in all kinds of games that always involve me playing the part of student or child and him the part of grown-up.  The only way I get to cook is by telling him that I am the cafeteria worker at whatever place he is currently running.  Last night, he was the tour guide at Legoland and I was the child on the tour.  Or he runs the grocery store and I am the patron.  Or he is the waiter or hotel worker or teacher or life guard.  I spend hours huddled in homemade forts, tucked in beside at least two of our pets and a mountain of books.  We play puppets endlessly and Lego's in heavy rotation.  We sit together at the computer while he asks long laundry lists of questions he wants to me look up the answer to.  We watch his favorite music videos and often we move the living room furniture while he leads me in dances.  From the moment he opens his eyes until the moment he shuts them, I am actively engaged with him and ensconced in his world.  He is simply not one of those children who will run off and do his own thing.  If he wants to watch a "Colin show", he wants me to be on the couch with him.  And he doesn't sit beside me, he sits in my lap.  As he is getting bigger, his lanky little legs stretch almost all the way to my feet and that is my constant view...his precious little toes floating above mine, television running in the background.  He usually begins his chant of, "Mommy, sit on the couch with me!  PLEASE!" right as I am finishing up dinner prep.  I will always hurry to get things into the oven and then run off to grab my Nook, a pad of paper and pen and whatever cookbook I am currently scouring.  I spend our time in front of the television with my head cocked to one side, using one arm to hold Colin in my lap and one arm to flip the pages in my reader or cookbook.  Sometimes my neck gets a crick in it from looking over one shoulder for too long and I switch sides.  He lays his head back against my chest and my face is always resting on his sweet smelling head as I read.  We do this all the time, this little scene on the couch.  Every morning that we don't have school, every late afternoon and sometimes in between.  He likes lots of blankets, his mama and Enzo to be with him at all times.  There are those moments when I wish that he would let me have a spare second to myself...I am human, after all.  But I think it is a gift that my sweet boy wants to do nothing but be near me, hold my hand, play with me, sit in my lap, cuddle into my arms.  He can do it forever as far as I'm concerned. 
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