He runs to make his mind still, to organize himself and to get rid of the noise from this loud, confusing world. The more he's moved, the more he's introduced patterns and rhythm into his routine. Laps around the house are a daily ritual. He's made it more complex as he's developed, but the basics are the same. There is a pattern of movement -- specific foot patterns based on whatever song or chant he chooses to accompany the run, and he can not be stopped until he is ready to be.

This is James, and this is our story.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Conspiracy Over Three Cornered Hats

Johnny is studying Colonial America in 1st grade, and is really, REALLY excited about it (that is probably material for a whole host of spinoff posts right there. Stay tuned for the few years to come. They should be very interesting...)

He even gave me some books he illustrated about Colonial America for Mother's Day, and he couldn't wait to read them with me and show me everything he's learned.

He even colored some of the key words in purple so I would understand.
He was extra excited this morning because today he was going to be sit in a small group with his teacher and make a Colonial American 3 cornered hat.

James doesn't take things like this very well. He is ALWAYS concerned that someone is going to take something away from him, or that he is being left out of something amazing and "the other guy" is going to get that something that he won't.

It doesn't matter what it is. It can be one extra brown M&M in his friend's bowl, or that his homework lasts longer than Johnny's even though Johnny started earlier.

He doesn't even really care what it is. He makes up all sorts of imaginary scenarios where some "other guy" gets something that he wants, and then there will be nothing left for him. His brother could be going to the doctor for a shot and James will be upset because maybe, just maybe, Johnny will get a treat after the visit. And then when the next time rolls around that James needs a shot, that treat will be gone.

Since he doesn't understand that "everything turns out even in the long run" and he usually sometimes gets things that his brother doesn't, that thread of reasoning is useless. He'll say he understands, but it doesn't stop his mind from racing through every possible thing he holds near and dear, and how those things will soon be taken from him.

So when Johnny started singing a little song about how he was going to make a Colonial American 3 cornered hat at school, James suddenly spiraled into a meltdown that bordered on comedy of the absurd.

"He's going to make a chocolate 3 cornered hat and there isn't going to be any chocolate left for me!"

What the WHAT?

He was beside himself, convinced there would be no chocolate left. It took almost 10 minutes of me calming him, and Johnny telling him that hats were "actually made of leather not chocolate" (which "actually" seemed more condescending than informative to me, but it seemed to be helping James so I let it go).

When James finally calmed down enough, I thought we were going to make it through the rest of the day OK.

That is, until we walked into his classroom and James blurted out in frustration

"Oh no! A got here first! He's going to finish his math before me and I'm not going to get as much free time!"

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