The “Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues” Wii Game.
This is my son’s current obsession.
My son always has an obsession. He has Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.
Something about the way his brain is wired causes him to fixate on a certain subject or object continually. It is literally all he can talk or think about. Then after a few days (usually), he will get “off” of that thing (often never to return to it) and get “on” to the next thing.
Currently we are waiting for this particular Wii game to arrive in the mail from Amazon. About every 30 minutes (OK maybe that’s an exaggeration), I have to help my son go over the same information about the game: Yes, it’s going to be awesome. Yes, it’s appropriate for his age. Yes, it’s due to arrive at our house on Monday. No, all the Wii remotes won’t break before it gets here.
He knows these things already. But he is anxious. And going over the same information repeatedly—and me affirming it—is somehow calming to him.
But today I lost patience.
This is one of my favorite autism slogans, because it’s a clever play on words.
On one level, it’s simply saying that those of us outside the autism world probably don’t have a clear picture of what autism really is, or what it’s like to live with. On another level, the slogan specifically identifies one of the central traits of autism: An autistic person’s brain is wired differently than the rest of the world’s. Their thought processes follow different patterns and pathways than the rest of us.
My oldest son has Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. This was one of the main factors that influenced me to choose Mark Haddon’s award-winning 2003 novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as my November book club selection: I wanted to see if it would help me understand my son better.** (more…)
I’m fascinated with the American immigrant experience. And, as well, how that experience bears on the formation of the immigrants’ American-born children. That was a big reason I wanted to read Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.
TJLC isn’t so much a novel in the traditional (Western?) sense as it is a collection of vignettes about those experiences, as recalled by four Chinese women who immigrated to the U.S. during the 1940’s and their four daughters. The structure is intentional, designed to mirror a mahjong game. But while I appreciated each of the 16 snapshots as unique pieces of art, I found myself wanting more…to be able to enter more deeply into their stories. So I’m not sure that I loved TJLC as much as I thought I would.
Well, I knew attempting to read the entire Harry Potter series in one month was a bit ambitious. (And why did I pick the shortest month of the year?)
I only made it through 4½ of the 7 books. I’ll need to start March’s book club selection, Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, soon. But I’m going to see if I can finish the series by reading it here and there, before the release of the final movie installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, this July.
I’ve really enjoyed the series so far. I don’t find J.K Rowling’s prose very artful (although it’s hard to follow up with anything after reading To Kill a Mockingbird last month!) But it’s not dreadful either, and she is a master story-teller.
For years I’ve wondered what all the hubbub over Harry was about. And now I get it.
No doubt many of you followed the recent controversy surrounding Amy Chua’s Wall Street Journal article, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior,” which was excerpted from her new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
For those who might have missed it, here’s a recap:
Chua writes a book describing the parenting philosophy she adhered to while raising her two daughters. (So right off the bat, you’ve got the emotionally-charged issue of parenting on the table.)
But she also brings culture and ethnicity into the mix by labeling her parenting style “Chinese” while comparing it to a different style of parenting she calls “American.”* By doing this, Chua further complicates things by playing into racial stereotypes.
Then the Wall Street Journal posts an excerpt from the book and gives it an inflammatory title.
Soon everyone from morning news anchors to mommy bloggers enter the fray. People’s anxiety/pride/anger/insecurity about the way they were raised and/or the way they parent rises to the surface. Chinese-Americans and white Americans feel misrepresented and misunderstood.
I used to be full of great parenting advice.
Then I had kids.
Now my heart resonates with this quote from How Children Raise Parents by Dan Allender:
“Parenting is an invitation to suffering because no one really knows what to do…Perhaps the greatest task of parenting is humbly staying involved even when we don’t have a clue what to do.”
As I look across the room at my bookcase, I see an entire shelf filled with books about how to raise my kids. I’ve even read some of them.
But the best piece of parenting advice I’ve ever gotten? It was from my friend Liza. She told me, “Don’t judge other parents.”
(Actually, at times we are called to judge others. What she really meant was not be judgmental when assessing how other people parent. Further defining the difference between the two words would make a great blog post. On another day. For now, I think you know what I mean.)
Because no one else knows the myriad of background factors that led that parent to make that decision about that child.
What’s the best parenting advice you’ve ever received?