Posts tagged ‘Thomas the train’
Yes, autism lives here. This is a line up, in order received, of all C’s Thomas videos. The missing ones? The ones he wanted, but didn’t get. In their proper order, of course.
I have tried hard to make sure C knows he can be anything he wants to be and love anything he wants to love. We provide examples of women doctors, male teachers, and, most recently, the possibility of a woman President. When he asked why we have never elected a woman President before, I responded that we “just haven’t.” No long explanations into traditional men’s and women’s roles, no discussion of sexism, and nothing of the perceptions of strong women vs. strong men. We simply haven’t elected a woman President thus far. But we will, C, we will. Just not this time.
So from the time he was 4 and his favorite color was pink, and he wanted to wear Dora the Explorer clothes, I have supported his interests, no matter how non-traditional they may be. I have tried not to convey to C the possible inherent societal backlash of such choices. Yet I have changed. Elementary school has changed me. I now recognize the importance of fitting in at least somewhat in order to continue to try being an individual, however strange that may sound. While I don’t try to sway him from something he loves, I do gently try to guide him to something else he might love as well. It disturbs me greatly that I find myself conforming to ridiculous cultural norms, but I will do just about anything to ease C’s journey through this world. As long as he doesn’t seem to care, I will try and help him make what is considered “acceptable” choices.
In this same vein, while standing in front of the boys’ underclothes aisle yesterday, I debated with myself the wisdom of continuing to buy C Thomas the Tank Engine underwear versus more age appropriate underwear. I envisioned him standing in the boys’ bathroom at school, pants down, and having another kid tease him about Thomas being for babies. Given his slight easing of the Thomas gridlock that has consumed his life thus far, I went with the camoflage underwear. Very, very cool, but it helped that his C-endowed-near-godly-status Uncle T was here visiting to reinforce the luck of a kid who gets cammo undies.
No, just trains, really. I don’t like to resort to the stereotypical, but C is obsessed with them. This seems to be a common link for many little boys with autism, to the point that one of the specialists we see joked that a love for Thomas the Tank Engine should be part of the diagnostic criteria.
C’s first train set was a GeoTrax, which has been a wonderful toy for child and parents as well. Fun to build, we have spent countless hours creating enormous train track set-ups with this great toy. His collection of pieces and track is massive, mostly due to the fact that we used GeoTrax pieces as incentive for trying new foods. I would hold up the piece and talk about it while I unlocked it from its packaging. It was the perfect distraction in the attempt to keep C from throwing up the new food he was trying. GeoTrax turned out to be far cheaper and far more motivating than feeding therapy in the long run.
But really, it’s all about Thomas, as any of you in the know, know. Thomas engines, Thomas track, Thomas “destinations,” Thomas underwear, swimsuits, alarm clocks, room decorations, birthday themes, video games, pajamas, videos, dishes, blankets, etc. It’s never ending, and it’s a marketer’s dream. I’d say Thomas’ branding rivals McDonald’s in its power over the preschool (um, and sometimes older) set. C can spot the Thomas logo from afar in the most crowded store aisle, and makes a beeline for anything he sees.
Someone, somewhere, is getting quite rich off C’s love for Thomas. Now why didn’t I think of it?
C wants some gold dust. He found out about gold dust from a Thomas movie, which is where all great world truths in C’s life originate. There are specific instructions for making gold dust that include putting gold glitter into a whistle. According to C, we can “get rid of our cars because when we blow the dust through the whistle, we can travel wherever we want to go in just a second.” Gold dust, apparently, is the latest in supersonic travel methods.
This was told to Husband and me last night, complete with teary eyed passion and belief so strong it’s on the magnitude of Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. What, I wonder, will happen when he discovers it isn’t real? Again, I envision the innocent child heartbreak when a youngster finds out Santa Claus is really only Mom and Dad.
Yet I hope that C, like a younger version of myself, sees the magic in all things Santa Claus and gold dust even after finding out the hard, cold truth. I still can’t bring myself to say Santa Claus isn’t real; rather we just can’t see him. Sure, I eventually understood that Mom and Dad put the presents under the tree, but I still believed Santa Claus was out there somewhere.
After all, we all need some gold dust in our lives.