My son is not an easy child.
He does not want to play with the other kids. He doesn't want to go outside. He is chubby and serious. He doesn't like sports. He never stands still. His indoor voice can be heard indoors at the neighbor's house. People don't have much to say to him. Mainly this:
1. Did you hear what I said to you?!
2. Sit down!
3. Be quiet!
And then a lot of repeating patterns like 2, 1, 2, 1, 2 or 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, 1.
Sometimes, he drives me nuts. He is almost always on red at school. He sits on the toilet for 45 minutes at a time. He doesn't listen. To anyone. Me, included.
But I never get mad at him for the way he plays. He has great adventures with the characters in his head. He wages battles, usually winning, with his superpowers. He is an expert on magic powers, robots and spirits. He runs back and forth, talking to him and zapping unseen bad guys. He protects our souls inside crystal circles and talks to our spirits. He does it all without telling us. He believes 100% in his powers.
This morning while the other kids ran around with iPods, leaving a trail of stuffed animals and game boards, listening to Bruno Mars and begging to go do something, my son paced back and forth, talking to a turquoise blue ribbon. He tied it in knots and made it zap things. Back and forth he paced, finally tying the ribbon to his wrist. "Zap!" He pointed it at the wall.
I asked him to explain the ribbon to me. It's name was Zap. It had powers. Thunderbolt powers to freeze anything. Zap. I asked if he wanted me to write Zap above the ribbon. He smiled SO BIG. So I tatted up his arms. He beamed. "This is exactly right, mama". He quickly froze me, then giggled. "It was just a little thunderbolt, mama, it will only hurt for a minute."
He looked me in the eyes and as clearly as can be, with full attention, he said "thank you."
And then he ran away, quick as lightning.
Sometimes, I am scared I am contributing to his weirdness. Sometimes I think I need to be the adult that instills the ideals of reality in him. The person that teaches him how to interact without superpowers. But here's the thing: I believe him. And I want someone around to zap away the bad guys. So, rather than break him down, I build him up. And I help him design his costumes.
Maybe we should all tie on a ribbon and feel the power of being special.