My Quirky Son

I woke up yesterday morning (that would be three a.m. yesterday morning) with a horrible case of the stomach flu. By the time my 5 year old son woke up it was all I could do to climb out of bed dump some cereal in the bowl for him and then return to the comfort of my mattress.

My son decided that I deserved a little TLC and made it his business to ‘tuck me in.’ Every night when I put him to bed I give him his favorite stuffed animal and read him a story. So my child went to his closet, dug out a stuffed animal from my childhood that I had passed down to him and gave it to me to cuddle with. Then, sensing that ‘Good Night Dinosaur’ wasn’t appropriate, he pulled out an issue of National Geographic and attempted to read me that. He struggled with the words and then finally gave up and started describing the pictures to me.

The funny thing is that this was a child who was almost diagnosed with Asperger’s less than a year ago. For those of you that don’t know, Asperger’s is a high functioning type of autism and a very trendy diagnosis these days. One of the defining characteristics is that those who have it lack empathy.

We live in a time in which the tendency is to diagnose anyone who is a little different. Like me, my son is a bit quirky—but when I was a kid it was just called being…well quirky. No one tried to pin a disorder or a disease on me.

The concern was that my son seemed to be fixated on subjects like evolution and Ancient Egypt. I have a feeling that if he had been fixated on Barney no one would have had a problem. It’s true that he’s had some challenges in school—it’s the main reason that I’m homeschooling. The problem is that his interests are often a little different than the other kids, he has a hard time sitting still and he is extremely sensitive and prone to emotional outbursts.

To give you a sense of who he is let me relay a conversation we had a few days ago. For some reason we were talking about prejudice and why some adults are mean to others. I told him that adult bullying is basically the same as kid bullying. In both cases it usually starts when a person is afraid of something (usually something they don’t understand) and in order to feel protected and stronger they become a bully.

My son peered at me through his wire-rimmed glasses and said, “But that doesn’t work. That just makes the fear spread. Fear’s like a cold—you can catch it.”

My son is definitely quirky and I love him for it..

Sex, Murder And A Double Latte—May 2005

March 8, 2005


1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    February 21, 2007

    You just described my 9 year old.

    At 4 his JK teacher had him pegged as having a behaviour problem – the pediatrician we took him to immediately wanted to put him on ritalin, but then decided he had Asbergers ….. because when asked what he would be if he could be anything he wanted, my son replied – “a chrysalis” – when asked why he’d want to be a chrysalis he replied “because what comes out is so beautiful” – when asked what a chrysalis was, he answered correctly. And for THAT he was pegged with Aspergers. We pulled him out of there in a real hurry.

    My son is so empathic that he cries when OTHER kids get hurt. He gets bullied at school, but won’t tell the teacher because he doesn’t want the bullies to get in trouble.

    Yes, he overreacts to things. If his shoes aren’t where he believes he left them he thinks someone stole them, or moved them to play a trick on him.

    If he was expecting an apple in his lunch and he gets a banana instead he won’t eat the banana, because that’s not what Daddy said he’d have for lunch.

    He’s very literal.

    I put an “emergency” fruitbar in his lunch box a little while ago and told him to eat it if I ever forgot to pack him an afternoon snack. Shortly afterwards he accidently dropped the afternoon snack I packed him on the floor, so he had to throw it out. When I asked him that evening if he liked his snack he told me that he didn’t eat it. When I asked how he liked his fruitbar he told me he didn’t eat it either. When I asked why not he said I had told him that it was for when I forgot to pack a snack – I hadn’t forgotten, he had dropped it. Like I said – very literal.

    He’s a sweet, loving, caring, sensitive, and generous boy. He just doesn’t know how to socialize.

    He gets bullied at school because he’s a target. He has few friends, and those that he does have are much younger than him. He cries every night because one kid or another teased him about something.

    My heart breaks for him every day. And despite all the professionals he’s seen, no one seems to know how to help him.

Comments are closed.