Monday 26 September 2016

Jericho insisted that we have a puppet meeting this afternoon. He made me, Soren and Emma all sit at the kitchen table with him, bringing our puppets/ pieces of puppet with us so we could all show our progress so far and discuss our next steps. He was very serious about it – I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had whipped out a typed agenda and taken notes. He can be pretty hilarious sometimes.

Although I have to admit, it was a useful summit, just to see where we’re at and establish what the children actually want to do to their puppets next, and if we have the supplies for it. Emma is still doing papier mache so she’s lagging a little bit behind. She also hasn’t really planned out how she wants to do her body, so I don’t think her puppet will be finished these holidays. Soren has a featureless head that he wants to add eyes and ears to, and then he wants me to sew him a glove-puppet type body for it. Jericho wants to add eyeballs, fangs and hair to his swamp monster and then we have to sew a body and fix some rods for him to control it with.

I finished knitting a sweater and also knitted a little hat to match. The hat drastically improves the appearance of the scary alien puppet head! I also made hair for the other puppet, although I am a bit disappointed with that – it doesn’t really live up to my vision! I crocheted a cap and then looped yarn through all the edge stiches, then on stitches down the middle of the head so I could tie it in ponytails. I made a fringe, but that was a mistake. Once I glued it onto the puppet’s head I was less happy with it, but really I think it’s just the weird and wonky head shape and it’s about as good as it’s going to get.

Nicholai printed his grand final record at the office this morning and then went about selling it on the streets of town. He did okay with it, sold all the copies he’d made and was able to pay Troy for all the printing, so whatever he makes from here on out is all profit. It’s all quite enterprising really.

This afternoon was interesting. I was watching youtube while I did my knitting, and I ended up watching a show called ‘Born Naughy’ – basically parents have their impossible children and then a doctor and a paediatrician organise assessments etc to discover if the children have a diagnosable issue causing the behaviour problems, or if it’s more a matter of parenting strategies being needed. Anyway, the show itself was pretty thought-provoking, and Emma, Jericho and Soren ended up coming over and watching it with me. It turned into a great conversation starter with them, because on each episode one of the children featured ended up being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. And while autism has been a huge part of our family life, Jericho and Soren know almost nothing about it.

I guess I just never thought about needing to deliberately talk about it with them. It’s never been a secret – Nicholai has known his diagnosis since he was reasonably young. Emma was with him when we went to Irabina, with him when he went to all those appointments and therapies, and only a year behind him in school and in his class for all her early years. She was well aware that there was something different about him, and so the conversations happened naturally.

But for Jericho and Soren it’s been different. Nicholai was diagnosed before either of them were even born. By the time they were old enough to remember, Nicholai was in school and doing well, and they’re both far enough away from him in age that his odd behaviours have never really registered with them in the same way they did for Emma. I guess they know Nicholai’s a bit unusual, but he’s always been this way and that’s normal for them. I actually told Jericho that Nicholai was autistic earlier this year, but Soren had no idea when the subject came up today. I think it rather shook his world view a little bit – to him and Jericho Nicholai is a pain-in-the-ass genius, and to actually have it laid down that he has this condition that is diagnosed by doctors (and isn’t just him being a jerk) is probably quite shocking to them. It was a good conversation though, and actually a rather good way for them to learn about it, since the show explained a little bit about it in a way that I think they could understand quite well.

It made me think that I should buy another copy of the book that Nicholai read and that led to him understanding about himself. I lent it to someone and I never got it back, but it might be a good read for Soren.


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