A ten-year-old’s view of diplomacy

Or, has he been playing too much “Civilization”?

“Do you like that guy? If you don’t, then attack his city.”

“Try and attack him, and then make peace with him and try and get technology, okay?”

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Think he’ll remember this 20 years from now, when it really matters?

Me, to 6-y-o T: T, you’re very cold
T, to me: Well, that’s how life is. No one can have anyone else as they exactly want them.

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It’s good to know I’m useful for SOMETHING.

Me to 6-y-o T: T, go play outside.
T, about his brother: N doesn’t want to.
DH to T: What if you didn’t have a brother? Would you never go outside?
T to DH, in his typical non-sequitur way of arguing: What if you didn’t have a wife?
DH: Then you wouldn’t be here.
T: And you wouldn’t have a house, or at least not as much of a house.

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It’s important to be precise.

N, to DH: You’re the best daddy in the whole world. No, you’re not the best daddy in the whole world, but you’re a good dad, and I love you. And I don’t know if I’ve ever said thanks before now, but thanks for all you’ve done for me.

Elaborating the next day: You’re the nicest father in this house that’s from this family. And also the only one. Until, or if, that is, Grandpa Rod decides to come down here to visit.

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And this is why one should always ask about context.

So N is 10, and even though we’ve provided him with books about becoming a teenager, sexuality, and the like (which he’s devoured, of course, because they have printed material, and could probably recite back to me ad nauseum), I’ve been feeling like we need to be making sure he understands what’s to come. After all, this is a world in which cnn.com says, “About 10 percent of the teenagers surveyed said they had had sex by age 14, while 20 percent said they had sex between the ages of 15 and 16.” My hope is that once he knows what’s going on, knows how his choices have repercussions, etc, he’ll be better situated to make intelligent choices. (And yes, I know he’ll still be a teenager. That’s what worries me!) That said, N is a very YOUNG ten and hasn’t shown any interest in girls, sex, etc, which makes it difficult to have these conversations when he’d much rather be playing with LEGOs or reading a book, so I’ve pretty much been waiting until he asks, primed with all sorts of information to share — casually, of course, not like it’s a Big Deal Conversation or anything — when he does.

How’s that for a lead-in? Anyway, we’re all sick, and N was cuddled up with me (both boys get lethargic when they’re sick; it’s sad), all feverish and pathetic, and out of nowhere he asks: “What are shriveled genitals?” I made him repeat himself, because that really is a strange question to have appear out of nowhere, and asked where he learned about it. (Three guesses? Of COURSE he read it in a book!) Then I started talking. (Always a mistake. Always, always a mistake.) I talked about how men and older boys can become sexually aroused, the mechanics of what that does to their bodies (bigger, harder p**ises, in my feeble attempt to keep people from coming to my blog after a web search for things I hope they won’t find here!), etc. I talked about how when men and boys get really cold their genitals can get smaller and want to hide. I talked about how if a man was sexually aroused and suddenly something happened that was shocking and dreadful he could all of a sudden not be aroused any longer, and if it was bad enough (we spent a little while coming up with “bad enough” scenarios) his genitalia could feel like it had shriveled up. In other words, I told him more than he probably ever wanted to know about the mechanics of male arousal. (He probably already knew it, too, since he’d read the books already, but it never hurts to have it reinforced … right? right?)

Then, when I’m finally out of breath and proud of myself for seizing the opportunity and not completely flubbing it (hey, this is difficult for me, okay?), N says: “Huh, that’s odd. In the book I just read, this boy was taken to a robot factory where they wanted to make him a robot and when his friends rescued him he was fine except he had shriveled genitals.”


So then we had a quick conversation about how when damaged, genitals could be shriveled, and he might not be able to feel sexual arousal or have children. But still. Next time I WILL ask for context, I will.

(And yes, I swear that each and every time. I only remember to do so about 75% of the time, though. Ah well…)

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Things that don’t go bump in the middle of the night

T: My dream woke me up.  Wanna know how?
Me: No.   OK, yes, how did your dream wake you up?
T: It made an unhearable sound.

Oh, of COURSE …

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As if I needed more proof that my family’s strange?

T: I wonder what we’ll have for breakfast tomorrow.
My husband: How about oatmeal?
T, eagerly: How about SARDINES?

(No, he wasn’t joking.)

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A master of understatement…

T comes over for help zipping his coat to go outside, and I realize he’s wearing snow pants and a coat but no shirt. I mention, casually, “You know, some people choose to wear a shirt under their coat when they’re going outside, to help stay warmer.”
T: I know, but I’m a much different person than they are.

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This is why most Olympic events take place outdoors…

The boys came down stairs looking very disturbed and told us that they’d been practicing javelin with a broom (????) and now there’s a hole in the wall (??????!!!!!!!!!). We mentioned that it’s generally not a good idea to practice javelin inside and that indeed that does go against our “don’t throw hard things inside” rule and T says, crestfallen, “Oh, I forgot.”

Do I even need to ask who in the world would have come up with the idea of (a) practicing javelin with a broom, and (b) doing so INDOORS? Is it something that goes along with being a boy? I mean, geeez!

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Conversation with N, late October

Interesting conversation, definitely related to autism, that I’m mostly posting here just so I remember it in the future…

We were driving home from town, just N and me, and it was night-time, thus dark in the car, and N was in the back seat. This is important because of the detachment that provided to the conversation.

I told N that I loved him, and he told me (and this is now paraphrasing from my faulty memory, which was mostly consumed by driving b/c i was being tailgated) that he didn’t actually love anyone; he just pretended to love us and when he was old enough to not have to depend on us he would reveal himself as a fraud. He wasn’t joking; I thought he was, at first, and laughed, and then realized he was serious. He kept calling himself a fraud and saying that he felt that he had to pretend.

We finally decided that he does love reading, and he very strongly likes certain foods (mostly apples), and he does like certain people but he doesn’t love them. He only says it because he feels like he should, so we take care of him, so we wouldn’t hate him.

N then asked if we would still give him his college money that was in our bank account once we knew he was a fraud.

I tried to explain different kinds of love to him, and told him that no matter what I would always love him, as I’ve told him many times before, but I thought the conversation was interesting regardless and wanted to write it down before I forgot it.

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