Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I honestly feel that I could once again inhabit the mind of a child, and truly experience the wonder and mystery of childhood that I have long since forgotten, if only I could appreciate the joy of running in circles, the thrill of jumping down stairs, and the precarious pleasure of balancing on . . . anything.

We have a carpet in our foyer that I believe is about 10' by 14'. When Jonah was two, he loved running around the border of this carpet, and when he was diagnosed with autism, I figured this was just another stimmy behavior, like lining up his magnetic letters or flapping his hands. But every one of the kids has spent hours running around that carpet. Most nights, after dinner, someone turns on the CD player, and Aaron, Gretchen, Ronan and Declan (and sometimes Sophia) chase each other around and around until no one's really sure who's trying to catch whom.

Stair jumping is also very popular, even with the older kids. I've caught Erika leaping from the first landing to the floor below - eight steps down. The little guys test their bravery by escalating from the first, to the second, to the third step - we don't let them jump from any higher. And I have to say, the practice makes them better jumpers. I wish I had video of Gretchen when she first started trying to jump off the first step - it was about as graceful as falling face-forward. But Aaron could do it, and she was determined, and now she has perfect form, like a skier about to launch down the ramp: knees bent, arms back, chest out.

Sometimes, I feel as if I haven't aged at all, that I'm the same person I was when I was much younger. But then I realize how much I have changed. Hilary asked me just a couple of days ago, "Why don't you have any toys?" I thought about my iphone, and my ipod, but realized she wouldn't consider those toys. So I said, "Grown-ups don't play with toys the way kids do." And she said, "So what do you do for fun?" I thought, poker is fun. Tennis is fun. Running around in circles is definitely not fun. At that moment it seemed there was no greater divide between my young self and myself right now - or between myself and my children - than my definition of fun. And it was a little sad, because I can't even remember a time when running around in circles was fun. I wish I did.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

I distinctly remember the singular joy of spinning in circles, stopping abruptly and giggling while the world seemed to keep going around and around, having to do its best to catch up with me.

Now, it's the world that seems to be spinning faster than I am going.