Sunday, April 10, 2016

On the kids

G is nine going on fifteen going on forty. He's this emotionally thoughtful creature, simultaneously quiet and the loudest person you'll ever meet. He's like an elephant mixed with a sloth, and you'll never know if you're going to get the trumpeting stomping beast or the quiet, unobtrusive creature until the very last second. He's picky, puzzling, hard to read and a ball of emotion that can be overpowering on even my most understanding days. He's a flighty soul who doesn't know where he's going or why, but he wants to be there safely and with no complications ten minutes ago. There is nothing simple or straightforward with him, everything is a complex question and a challenge to what he's being told. I would say he questions things, but what I would really mean by that is that he sees the world from his very limited perspective, safe in his hovel of Pokémon and imagination, and doesn't understand that there could possibly be another way of doing things. It's both a fascinating and frustrating thing, and he'll often use that to his advantage, happily pointing out what he sees as inaccuracies in logic or questionable methods if he thinks he might sway matters into his favor.
To him, life is a disgusting thing. Blood is terrifying and injury is awful. The concept that these things can be normal is horrifying, and exhausting to him. Any intrusion into his personal bubble by pain is an affront to him, and his reaction is immediate, emotional, and full of what can only be described as confusion and anger.
It's obvious he sees the world far differently than a lot of kids. His SID/SPD issues have come a long way as he's grown and learned. At the same time it's still clear when he's struggling, when even the most gentle of reminders of rules can send him spiraling into an occasionally scary pit of overwhelming emotion. His brain seems to work on another level, one where imagination is the only safety and the outside world is actually a fairly scary place that's better avoided if possible. He absorbs information about his interests like a sponge and tolerates the introduction of further knowledge, if only to appease the powers that be; all the same, unlike many children who learn what's necessary to move on and then promptly forget the information, he stores it away to bring up again at the most confusing times. It's fascinating and at times frustrating, but that seems to be a good description of him in general, and it's one he seems to wear with pride.

A is .. So many things balled up into a single six-and-a-half year old. He has grown up in a world encompassed by his older brother, whom he has idolized and carefully groomed himself after for years before coming into his own. He is a perfect in between of the overly cautious and fearful G and the absolutely fearless E, willing to try new things and go to new heights if only to say that he was there, whether or not he enjoyed it. Like G, he is empowered by knowledge and facts, but his curiosity goes beyond his own imagination and the worlds stored there and filters out into our world as well. His focuses are on cooking and the human body, of which he takes equal interest; he can sit down and watch a questionably gory medical show that explains injuries and disabilities and all sorts of interesting things, then turn around and run off to the kitchen to help cook an entire meal without batting an eye. He often teases he wants to become a doctor or surgeon, then turns around and talks of being a chef, or a fisherman ("just like Grampie"). Whether or not he can accomplish any of those things, or maybe all of them, isn't a question to us - he is obviously able, though whether or not he can pick something is what might hold him back. 
Yet hints of the frustration that must come from having so many questions and no idea how to ask them shine through occasionally.
Most of all, A thrives on touch. What is for G a comforting thing done out of the need for tactile feedback and physical response is for A a sincere, emotional connection. The downside to this is that he doesn't seem to know when enough is enough, or when an appropriate time to touch is. He is very "in your face" and pushy about his need for affection, without regard for the personal space needs of others. It's a hard lesson for him, unfortunately, and one that he's working on, but not one that he's managed to master yet. Of all the kids I've ever encountered, he's unquestionably the most physically affectionate, happy to touch and be touched and to have the comfort of interaction. Still, there's a lot of love in that kid, and he's determined to give it to everybody in his path - whether they want it or not.

And of course, then there's E. I'm still not positive what to make of this child, at just over two years old, but he has certainly shown his personality. Every new word he learns is immediately integrated into his life, every new skill and ability is practiced again and again. He has no fear, no hesitation, nothing holding him back from overcoming the world and bringing it to his level. He is a flame, flitting and ready to burn anything that dares stand in his path, but with the added benefit of never being able to be put out. He runs himself ragged, a screeching creature drawn to the outdoors with no regard to temperature or weather. Rain delights him, the cold doesn't phase him, heat is irrelevant. He's proven again and again that he'd rather be cold any day, but in the long run, as long as he's outside - window down, playing in the yard, hanging out in a park - he's happy. He can go outside barefoot in weather just above freezing, with nothing on besides pants and a t-shirt, and stay out until he's forced back indoors. Even then, the only thing that will often catch his attention are either the promise of shows on YouTube about his favorite things (police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, and generally any other moving vehicle) or a bath. The kid loves water, no matter its source.
Oddly, he seems to have ended up with my druidic tendencies as well, able to get close to wild animals without having to sneak up or be anything more than himself. It's a curious thing, something I was able to do when I was younger and a skill he now possesses without realizing how beneficial and incredible that it is. Even familiar animals are well loved, forgiven for their transgressions of often being bigger than him (and thus more likely to accidentally injure him) or being too overzealous in their play with him. It's fantastic how easily he transitions from animal to human when it comes to interactions, and very telling of what kind of child he's going to be - besides a completely wild monster.

I love these kids so much. They're fantastic, and crazy, and I am so lucky to call them mine.